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Positivity in Action: Olympic Heart of Gold

We are storytellers at heart and, in fact, the most powerful and instructive moments of our lives are the narrative that we share and even more deeply, how we know ourselves. For all the hundredth of second photo finishes or hundredth of a point deductions that make the difference between winning and losing in the Olympics, nothing stays with us as meaningfully as do the stories of the personal courage and the unrelenting drive to see a dream materialize against ridiculous odds. These profiles in what it means to find our own greatness and not be deterred by accident, injury or competition are what makes the Olympic  games unforgettable.

In particular, this summer was the story of  Irish gymnast, Kieran Behan, who was told he would never walk again after a blow to the head topped off previous injuries of broken bones and torn ligaments. I wept when I read his mother actually carried him out of the hospital and quit her job to rehabilitate him, to love and believe in his inherent ability to heal.  It took two years for him to regain his balance and back to the gym he went. The people who loved him and believed in him held bake sales and candy sales for him to keep at it.

When I consider this story of resilience, which are essentially the skills and values that hold us up when life wants to beat us down, I realized that resilience is not born from adversity, but rather from love.  We are strong, even when we are weak when we are loved.   I remember when my own son suffered a major head injury, his recovery in many ways felt like my own. This is how real healing and forgiveness occur- when everyone involved gives their life energy with total faith in the outcome.

When Kieran was eliminated from competition for what he called his jelly legs in not fully sticking his landings, he wept more for disappointing the people who loved and supported him to achieve his dream than for not continuing in the competition. For him, walking out onto the world stage of the Olympics, he had already won. Indeed.