Eloise and Kenyan went on an adventure this weekend.
We went on a hunt for the Beast on the Bay.
Each formed our own team.
Eloise donned bright blue.
Kenyan and Company, black.
The Beast we were on a quest to slay was a 16 mile, 40 obstacle adventure race held on Erie's claim to fame, Presque Isle State Park.
The event was a fund raiser for the Barber National Institute founded by the late Gertrude Barber.
The Institute offers programs for the mentally and physically challenged and their families.
My daughter Natalie,
and nephew Erik have better lives because of this special place.
When life hands you a body and brain with severe limitations, the world does not stop revolving. We know what it feels like. As parents of disabled children Kenyan and I have been there. Speaking from experience, we can say that once the shock wears off and you get through the natural sadness that soon follows, you begin to look at things differently. Instead of having a DISabled child, you try to find ways to ENable them. Enable has become a bad word in our society. Actually it is not. It means TO MAKE ABLE. That is what Kenyan and I do. We enable our children .
If are reading this blog and find yourself in a similar situation, your plan of action should be this:
#1--Educate--yourself and others about the challenges you face
#2--Advocate---find out what works and push for those
programs to be made available to you.
Your focus will move from "what my child cannot do," to "my child can do this with the following adaptations."
Adaptation. It's the key to our survival. In order to make it in this world you must find ways around the obstacles life puts before you. No matter how well off a person appears to you, no one has a perfectly straight path, lined with roses. We all have our obstacles. Every single one of us. Even Dorothy following the yellow brick road ran into trouble along the way.
The most beautiful part of the Barber Beast on the Bay was a section only a few got to experience. It as the Adapted Course made available to those with extreme challenges. Thank you sponsors for making The Beast available to your own clientele.
Over the course of the day, our teams took on 40 obstacles.
We scaled Big Blue Boxes,
crawled under nets,
through dark tunnels,
tip toed through tires,
rolled across nets,
and navigated sand dunes,
all while trekking across the sandy shore line,
and slopping through natural wetlands.
And in the end, after an uphill finish,
you get to jump in a tub of muddy water,
filled with ice.
We began as a team,
and we finished as a team.
Everyone has different levels of fitness experience, and we don't all keep to the same pace. Thank goodness for that! How boring life would be if we were all drones.
So what do those who reach the end first do?
They sit and wait for the rest to catch up.
Even in the rain.
Maybe you aren't the parent of a handicapped child. Maybe you were someone who has a full functioning body, but still get up in the morning with that feeling like you're missing out on something. If that is you, consider this the beginning of YOUR quest to slay Your Beast.
Your Beast is powerful. It isn't a serpent-like sea monster as in the Barber Beast logo. This beast resides inside of you and whispers words of doubt whenever you entertain the idea of trying a new challenge. Your beast doesn't eat food. It's fuel are the words "I can't", "I could never," and "I don't." Do you say those words often, Readers?
You read my words. You saw the pictures. Could this be you next year? I hope so, because I am inviting you to join me, and Kenyan, and anyone on our teams. You can do this. You've already started your journey with the thought. Simply by entertaining the idea, you've held a sword up to give your beast a challenge. The seed has been planted. Don't let the Beast in your own mind kill it.
You've got a year, Readers. Consider it. Call me or call Kenyan. We'll point you to the people who can help you get there. Don't wait for January 1, 2014 to set this goal. Set it today!
The best part is, you don't have to sign up for the whole course either. You can choose for 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 mile options. A few of my teammates did just that. And you know what? Every single one of them exceeded the goals they set for themselves-doubling and tripling their own expectations. Group adrenaline and a common cause. There is simply nothing more effective.
When all people realize The Beast they need to slay is really Their Own Mind, our world will truly be limitless.
On behalf of myself, Kenyan, our families, and all of the good people at the Barber National Institute, we thank all those who participated and supported this cause.
I made an excellent video of all the photos from the day. For those of you considering the Beast in 2014, it will be available to you on Friday's blog post. I'm experiencing some internet connection problems at the Lamp Post this morning. I'm actually publishing this from The Flame next door (my parents' house), and I can't attach the video.
That works to my advantage however, because it will give the seed I just planted a few days to take root. That is why teachers assign homework. It is a proven fact that the brain needs a little time to consider matters, even on the subconscious level. You'll be thinking about this post, even if you don't want to. Come Friday, you'll check the Lamp Post to find a reminder in the form of the picture video. By then, you'll look for pictures of people you can identify with. Who appears to be your age, your weight, your fitness level? You will begin to think, "If they can do it, maybe I can do it."
Eloise is rubbing her hands together with excitement, thinking about all the new people who will be slaying The Beast (which is really Your Beast) with me next year.
And to answer your obvious question now--Yes, I ran the whole 16 miles carrying my camera and a plastic sword. I snagged the pair from Sam's Ninja Turtles set. I gave the other to Doc, who helped me slay My Beast. He carried one the entire time, too. Thanks, Doc.
Seize the day, Readers. It sure does help to have a plastic sword and a bunch of friends to help you with that!
See you Friday!