Diana Nyad, Facebook, and XTreme Dreams

Diana Nyad Swims 103 miles from Cuba to Key West, FL, Sep 1, 2013

103 miles. Cuba to Florida. 52 hours. 5th try. 64 years old. Diana Nyad, long distance swimmer, what do you want the world to know now? “Three messages: We should never, ever give up. You’re never too old to chase your dreams. It looks like a solitary sport but it’s a team effort.”

Powerful message and accomplishment! Congratulations, Diana!

I first saw the news mentioned on Facebook when post after post expressed awe and congratulations this afternoon. I felt happy, nodding my head in agreement with all the positive mentions, and kept scrolling through the posts about her and many others’ status updates about their lives. After about the fifth post on Diana Nyad, I started to wonder more about her as a person, not just an icon of success to celebrate. I went to YouTube and found a video with her first remarks at the finish.

Have you seen this video clip yet? I wonder if you’ll have a similar reaction to me?

Watching her come out of the water and fall into her first hug made me tear up. Her first words were incredibly inspiring and equally painful to watch. Her effort to talk through salt-swollen lips and throat and muscle fatigue really got into the deepest parts of my heart.

When I have these kinds of reactions now – a welling up of tears, a strong emotional response or physical sensation while reading about other people’s accomplishments on Facebook – I pause, get present, and go a little deeper into the connection.

This time, I dove in to CNN’s video archive and after watching several news video clips of her previous attempts and her commitment to keep trying, I was even more inspired by her dedication and the triumph for her, women’s history and future, and the strength of the human spirit and body under duress. Her record-breaking swim, sans shark cage, and at her age defies what we think is possible. What new records and dreams will this inspire in others? In me?

I also had this awareness that when I’m on Facebook, it is almost too easy to feel a burst of inspiration, appreciation and enthusiasm for someone else’s achievement, and then move on to the next Facebook post about another person’s status update of joy, inspiration, advice, art, or personal update, without checking in with myself and asking, “Why did this touch me so deeply? What does this mean for my life?  What must I never, ever give up on? What is my Xtreme Dream?  ”What can I do right now that will bring me one step closer to who and what I love?

What about you? On this Labor Day of reflection and celebration, what Xtreme Dream is calling to you? What next step will you take?

Thanks for sharing!

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