The Audacity of Hope…The Complexity of Compassion

I didn’t think it would ever happen.

 

Because I am not a forgiving person really.

 

Typically, by the time I’ve realized that I’ve been irreparably hurt by a person… 

 

that relationship has passed the point of no return.

 

And in my mind, there is no point in offering up forgiveness to a person for which I only have heaps of ashes and burned bridges to show for my time with them.

 

Yet somehow it still happened.

 

32 consecutive days of meditation and on the morning of what would be the 33rd day I felt it.

 

Compassion…

 

For him.

 

Of all people.

 

And I wanted to be livid that I STILL, still after everything that happened then, everything he is doing now I have the capacity for compassion.

 

Simply because I remembered what it was like to need help desperately…

 

The difference is that I possess the strength and humility to ask, not the hubris to take.

 

I remember how it felt to have less than nothing in all my bank accounts…

 

I remember feeling like I had caught a break, and relishing the power of feeling supported.

 

Only difference is that I leveraged that empowered feeling into six global medals, four gold, two bronze, and a world record that helped leave me in a better place as a person and athlete rather than allow myself to be supported for years with zero personal growth to show for it.

 

I was filled with compassion, looking back on this failed relationship this way. 

 

It was unsettling, that I could wake up and think, “man, I know how you feel right now. I’ve been there. I can see why you acted that way, I’ve felt that.”

 

The difference was in how we acted.

 

Those antics and behaviors are rooted in fear.

 

I made every decision (misguided or not) because I had the audacity to hope.

 

I hoped that holding down three part-time jobs at the same time while training would be enough to supplement my lack of funds and sponsorship dollars while trying to remain in the sport.

 

I hoped that I would never have to worry about getting dropped or having to go through a sponsor-less season because I hoped I’d always stay near the top.

 

I hoped that prince charming was exactly who he said he was.

 

I hoped that I would be able to land on my feet after leaving.

 

Even now, I still have hope.

 

But hope, like compassion requires vision.

 

And some people just don’t have it.

 

And others just won’t take the time to define and refine it.

 

And what does any of this have to do with track and field you’re probably wondering?

 

Everything.

 

Because implicit in the act of going to the starting line, or standing on the runway, or in the throwing circle is an audaciousness…

 

an audacity to hope 

 

that tells you

 

you might just win it all

 

this time.

 

And every decision you’ve made up until that moment, was made with this in mind, that you were putting yourself one step closer to taking it all.

 

But had you approached it from the other direction, from a place of aversion and fear… 

 

You’re stepping to the line/runway/circle defeated already. 

 

Because instead of feeling like this may be the moment you win it all…

 

you’re thinking…

 

this may be the moment my fears are validated…

 

when all my insecurities and self-doubts will be exposed.

 

And the mind, a tool so powerful it can be wielded in any conceivable way- for positive or negative— good or evil— will bring all of this into fruition.

 

Having the audacity to hope grants you a larger capacity for greatness.

 

Because hope, like compassion, doesn’t need to be limited to the realistic, the familiar, the practical, the acceptable, the comfortable.

 

Hope, may just be the fertile soil from which we are all able to bear good fruit.

 

And personally, compassion is the reason I do any of this now anyway…because I want you to know I’ve been there…

 

razor on wrist

 

noose on neck

 

overdraft bank account

 

failed business ideas

 

disappointing track seasons

 

failed marriage

 

truculent divorce

 

insufficient income

 

and I STILL have the audacity to hope for a full life, a satisfying career, happiness, purpose.

 

So maybe you aren’t yet in that place where you can feel compassion for another and their circumstances…

 

but can you perhaps try,

 

to find

 

the audacity

 

to hope for better…

 

for yourself?