Tag Archives: Come Alive

A Good Run For My Heart

It’s been quite a run. Yet very little running was done.

Between May to now has been filled with leading Haven programs, Couples Alive, Come Alive and a special offering for Women in the First Nations community, combining their wisdom with some of the Haven essence.

Usually when I am leading, running is my path for balancing and clearing my energy. I believe it helps me stay connected to my heart. This month taught me there’s other ways and maybe better ways for open-hearted leading.

For me personally, this run has been amazing. Up north the team included my dear friend and colleague, Leona Gallant. We go way back. We worked together at Tillicum Haus teaching the Addiction and Family Violence programs. It was wonderful reconnecting for the First Nations women week.

Our trip didn’t go quite as planned and each day offered opportunities to surrender my ideas of how the program would unfold and go totally in the moment with who was present. There was a lot happening within the community, as well, smoke from wild fires, that made for a heaviness in my chest and lungs. However, each member of the team was committed and the women who came bought their hearts, tears, anger and stories forward in ways that lifted each of us and ended in beautiful moment of creating on canvas.

The Team Tracy, Me, Leona and Christina

Home again, I found I wasn’t able to do my normal running and exercising, my lungs just wouldn’t allow for that effort. The goodness in that may have been finding other ways to connect and balance my body, heart and mind before leaving for a couples weeks at the Haven.

Couples Alive came first. It was a wonderful experience. The team included Bob and Ruth, dear friends and long-time Haven faculty. They shared they hadn’t been up on the island for a number of years and it was awesome to have them back, sharing the wisdom from their relating.

I loved the dance of leading with CrisMarie. We learn and grow as we lead. It’s a definite experience of giving and receiving with the team and the couples who share so deeply.

Beautiful sunset last night of Couples Alive

Then Come Alive. Always a special experience, as it was the first program I took at the Haven and started my transformation in relating and responding.

There were moments again where things didn’t go quite as planned. However, that’s a big part of what I love about leading at Haven. I have to both lead and surrender. It’s an amazing dance between being in a role and being real and human.

The team with me was wonderful. As always we were doing our work to ensure we could stay present and support building and holding a space for self-responding and relational learning.

In the end, I left full from my time on the island. This time not as exhausted as I have at times been in the past. Maybe because i wasn’t running to settle my energy. Instead I found myself sitting, silent, walking and relating between sessions. Something to consider even as my lungs return to a more happy place.

Taking the stage as. Leadership Flathead Graduation Speaker

My reentry this time involved being the speaker for Leadership Flathead graduating class. It was an honor to be invited and I said yes just before starting my run. Wasn’t able to plan a thing until I returned home just in time to put it together. Again something I’d usually run or ride to get clarity before writing but this time I sat, I reflected and when I got a clear message I made some notes. I was vulerable and nervous but it worked for me. I just needed to get out of my ego space and into heart and that always works – living, leading or speaking.

I don’t doubt I’ll be back on my bike and taking runs in the woods. However, I want to remember that my body doesn’t need to be fit, trim and over-exercised to be a vessel for the work I am called to do. That work comes from the heart and heart health is more relational and real than looking good and making my MOVE goal.

Now relaxing after a cool evening bike ride! with my honey!

The Time Between Trains

Last night of Couple’s Alive

Sitting here at MadRonas Coffee shop on Gabriola. Dropped CrisMarie off at Silva Bay for her journey back to Whitefish.

Couples Alive was amazing, fulfilling and it’s hard to let her go. Even hard for me to stay. I know I’ll be super excited to step and start Come Alive tomorrow evening. And I want to honor, soak and digest Couples Alive. I always learn and discover so much in the process of leading, being and growing alongside CrisMarie and each of the couples in the room.

Haven has taught be so much about aliveness, relating, being and doing.

In the in between, I’ve had a deep dive with a friend and colleague here at the coffee shop. We talked Haven, our lives, the ways we have shifted and changed over the years. What’s real and happening in our lives now. It is one thing I love about my connections here. They go deep even when it’s been months, years. Time drops away with the real-ness and willingness to connect.

Later I’ll be having dinner with another couple and I look forward to talking below the surface and connecting.

It’s a part of life I treasure.

It is so easy in life to be busy and getting stuff done. Sometimes that can be great. However, I like a conversation or connection that takes me out of the day to day and even out of time.

Usually that involves getting out of my head and into heart. It’s not always about talking feelings though – it’s more about energy versus matter.

Sometimes that can happen out walking in the woods with my pups. It can happen on my bike. It can happen simply breathing and noticing the world and threads weaving all around me.

It can happen in conversation and sometimes that is the hardest entry moment, unless I am really tracking my agenda, my projections and just how I am putting the pieces together.

And realize whoever I am talking to is doing their own inner reality creating.

Words, time and perceived space can make it seem like we are separate. Yet, energetically we’re not. Just in our minds and stories. Not in our hearts and energy.

That’s why a walk with a horse or my dogs is sometimes the best path to take to reconnect to the world around me.

Well that and being here at the Haven where I learned to navigate between my worlds, inner and outer. Actually came to understand energy and the importance of using my mind, breath and my heartbeats in living this life.

Time to be off. A Reiki appointment is calling me. Maybe a hot tub. Maybe a nap. I’ll put this out in world and see what this post weaves in it’s travels.

I imagine I’ll have more to share. And feel free to let me know what you do between trains.

It’s All Going To Be Maginificent

My 2023 Mantra, from a song introduced to me on a Christine D’Ercole (Peloton playlist) – Maginificent (She Says). However, I knew it was my 2023 mantra after taking part in a recent Passionate Ease workshop. I had a profound openning in the weekend. I knew IT IS ALL GOING TO BE MAGIFICENT and with my arms open to the world I was ready to live that forward.

This isn’t about perfection or super wonderful, awesome and positive. It’s about embracing and having complete experiences. Sometimes that is finding or living the exquiste in grief, pain, rage, conflict.

Ultimately it is about trusting in the universe and in being as fully in whatever is unfolding.

As I move into 2023, I find myself wanting to be much more present, openhearted and at ease with myself and the world.

Some 2022 Highlights

Last year was an amazing year. I finally got my book out into the world. Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep got it’s wings and legs.

We had some incrediable work experiences and loved being able to get back out to work in person with teams. We had some great times in Austin, San Franisco, Chiacgo, Seattle, DC (well actually the team was together in DC, I was on the screen in our office and CMC had Covid), San Diego and Boulder. Even did some rowing!

Getting some team tips from The Olympian!

We also found we could do some great work right here in Montana. Lots of coaching, working with Glacier National Park, Leadership Flathead and enjoying the mountains, the trails, the lakes, the theater, music, dancing and much, much more.

There were magical moments with family. My sister calls and book club with my mom. Celebrating Bill and Julia Campbell’s 70 wedding aniversary.

We had a couple weeks up at The Haven, I was eading a Come Alive with Carole (it’s been a couple years) and another great Couples Alive. followed with CrisMarie.

We did some solid podcsting and the best part was producing our brain series. It was so fun interviewing Dr Jill Bolte Taylor (twice), Annie Hopper, Annie Thoe, Irene Lyon and Jenifer Fraser and Dr Lawrence Conlon. That was special and I do hope you got to enjoy their wisdom. (You can use the link if you want to give it listen now)

There was much to be grateful for in 2022.

Now moving into 2023, I want to continue to embrace the moments.

I’ll be kicking things off this week with a webinar for Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep. On Jan 5, a one hour introduction to how you can live and apply Crazy, Cracked, Warm and Deep to your life. If you are interested let me know.

We’ll both speakers at a great event outside of Calgary, New Year, New You. This is an amazing day of inspiring women speakers – available in person or online. Shifting from people pleaser to cowboy confident!

We’ll be doing an in-person event for 24 women on day two. Want more information here’s a link and share!

We have a few other public events lined up. I am scheduled for a Come Alive in April and both of us will be up at Haven just after that for Couples Alive.

Out biggest launch for 2023 will be coming later as we work with Rali to release our journey on The Beauty of Conflict for teams. Right now we are in the script writing process and will be filming in late March with a release hopefully by June. It’s exciting. This is an amazing group to be joining and partnering with as we continue to work to get the message out that there is BEAUTY in conflict.

So much is in the works and on this first day of the year, I wanted to reach out. I could have gone to the mountain but it seemed more important write and share.

A Little Gift for You

I’m sharing a link to my year end Spotify playlist: 2022 Favorite Tunes. These tunes were the ones I listened to most and not all new releases mostly ongoing favorites.

I do hope this finds you embracing life as we start 2023. I encourage you wake up each more with some breathing and if you don’t have a mantra – try mine: It’s All Going To Be Maginificent!


Susie’s Unfinished Stuff

When I was young I would spend my summers at camp, which had a wonderful arts and crafts program.  Almost every day I would spend time working on a summer craft project.  I loved the feeling of  working with wood.  I started spoons, forks, a lamp, a duck, a fish, board games – I had such high hopes.  Alas, I believe almost all of my projects ended up in a box of in-completes, like the misfit toys.  I’d start with gusto, but at some point the wood would crack, something would look more promising to start, or I’d simply tire of the struggle and give up.

My memory is that box in corner stayed throughout my many years at camp and was labeled – Susie’s Unfinished Projects!

It’s possible I have dramatized and over-personalized that box of unfinished projects, but I do know that I was one of the primary contributors.

Over the years the memory of that unfinished crafts box, and my success in filling it, has indeed haunted me.  See, I am just not that great at finishing.  I am all about the excitement and possibility of starting and the joy of learning, but I can be a bit weak on crossing the finish line.

So today I am celebrating a completion!  A solid start to finish effort on my part!

At the start of the year I was wrestling with my father’s dying process and all the unfinished business I had with some of the pieces and history of my life.

Over the years, I have done a lot of work in reclaiming my life and have shifted from focusing on the past drama, to now becoming a healthy, thriving person, charting my own destiny.

Still I knew things were resurfacing from the past, during the last few months of my father’s life and  I wanted to see if I was ready to integrate these pieces and feel complete.

I decided to embark on a coaching/counseling project with a highly recommended therapist in my area.

I’ve got to say, I had some fears of explicitly revisiting the past.  I did wonder if I was opening some crazy can of worms that I might wish I had left unfinished.  But I also wanted to discover if I had the resources to stir up the past and in the process resolve some of the reactivity I knew was a big part of my current charm. Okay. I call it charm, but I know some of you reading might have other words for my reactivity!

Well today I sat with my therapist after eight months of consistent work on a series of events from my life that have haunted me, and as we talked, I realized I was complete.  We talked about my intentions in starting the project and I realized I had done what I came to do.

I also had just come home from leading a Come Alive at The Haven in which I had stayed in touch with my joy, curiosity, and love of the work and the people in the room.  I hadn’t gotten impatient, reactive, nor found myself hooked in an old story.  Was everything perfect – of course not – but life isn’t about perfect.

In addition, in the process of my eight month reclaiming project,  I delivered our TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It!,  which was an on-stage opportunity to uncover my past and share it without crumbling.

Earlier today I also finished and published I written piece I am most proud of: How Surfacing Conflict Saved My Life.  For me it was a powerful experience of telling my story and not getting stuck or caught in how it would be received.

So today I walked out of my therapist’s office feeling complete.

As I drove home I remembered that incomplete crafts box and all those unfinished projects.  I thought about other in-completes in my life, like my book or relationships that no longer serve me. Things that I have started, but have not been clean, clear, or successful in crossing the finish line.

Today, I felt differently.

I am grateful for the journey and for my therapist’s reflection to me that my work with her is complete.


So today I am celebrating!  It’s like taking a few of those incomplete projects out of the art box, finishing them, and placing placing them on the mantel, recognizing indeed they are done and are works of art – as is my life!

Celebrating The Haven!

Awesome Haven Cake!
Awesome Haven Cake!

What a wonderful weekend!! The Haven is celebrating it’s 30th Birthday, sort of all year, but this past weekend was the signature event. It was a celebration of the past, the present and the future of The Haven. Those that put the weekend together, Rachel, Louise, Morag and all of the Haven Staff, did an amazing job. This is their busiest time of year, Kids in The Spotlight ( a truly awesome experience for children – nothing else like it) a sellout each year for five weeks, finished it’s 2013 run on Friday morning. Plus, a wedding party on the island was taking all of the available rooms arriving Sunday afternoon. Not to mention, the start of Teens Alive and Come Alive on Monday. So even making this happen was a challenge. But not only did it happen, the weekend was a delightful experience and gathering of the old (folks who had 30 plus years of Ben and Jock programs and experience) and the newer, those who have become Haven folks under the Haven Foundation. It was wonderful.

For me, it truly was like seeing the many, many layers of my own transformation and the people I can only call my ‘human heroes’ – those that have embodied and invited me to discover the life possible through open, honest relating. Not always pretty and polite, but real, raw, authentic and alive!

It was so fun to participate in a ‘worldwide’ streamed visualization led by Ernie and Cathy McNally, and I giggled as various memories surfaced from my own 28 year Haven epic! Next, was an amazing artistic adventure and co-creative process designed and facilitated by the wonderful Marlyn Farrell. I was resistant to go and came away loving the experience. There were so many magical moments and this post could just be a blow-by-blow of the weekend. But really that isn’t my main point. Still I am reminded of just how special The Haven is and my wish that more people knew of the place and the people that have made it possible for so many to transform themselves, their relationships and the world around them!

The magic of being together for a Haven Sunset!
The magic of being together for a Haven Sunset!

Of course, that magic does exist elsewhere, I don’t mean to imply that only at The Haven can one be transformed. No, but it is a very special place. Possibly because there are so many different types of leaders and people who come. It is a a place for the odd duck and the average Joe. It welcomes the righteous and invites each of us who come with our own set of assumptions to consider being a bit more curious. There are often strong opinions and people on missions. Yet there is this space that opens and allows for the most defended and the most vulnerable to sit together in a circle and simply be, breath, feel and converse. If that doesn’t help, well there’s dancing and music and great food. Not everyone walks away happy and blissful. No, that is not the purpose. The Haven is a space for all to come, to be, to speak, to join and to discover. Without answers or a right or wrong, just people being together. It is amazing what that alone creates!!

That is what was being celebrated this weekend. The space, the literal space and the metaphoric space that allows for transformation. Indeed, over my 28 years here, I have rediscovered myself so many times. I have connected and seen worlds and universes well beyond my limited physical possibility, and I am deeply grateful!!

Sunday morning we journeyed into a possible future for The Haven. The story boards and designs were collaborative process of dreaming BIG and looking at the reality of a property on an island with limits and by-laws. Again creating that tension that comes and builds when there is an opening, a curiosity, and a dialogue, allowing for a leap of innovation to take place. Yes,  The Haven is now shaping itself, utilizing all of it’s magic. People coming together to dream, to wrestle with reality, to wrestle with assumptions and use that juice to move ahead. No decisions were made. But I saw the possibility and the folks that were going to be furthering the plans, and again I was amazed. I have no doubt magic is in the making. The Haven Institute isn’t a static, still point. It is growing and transforming, just as I am. I may or may not like all the directions The Haven moves, but I love, that much like me, the property, the place is living and breathing and carrying on!!  Happy Birthday Haven!!

Susan Clarke is a long standing faculty member at The Haven Institute. She leads The Living Alive Phase I, with CrisMarie Campbell, October 16-November 10, 2013 and Couples Alive I – Foundation, Communication and Boundaries, Oct. 7-10, 2013. Susan Clarke and CrisMarie Campbell are also founders of thrive! inc., a coaching and consulting firm helping teams, individuals and couples make the leap to better results in their relationships, work and lives.

Home, Sweet Home

Home, sweet home.  I have been away since April 7.  Most of my time away was up at The Haven leading a Come Alive, followed by Couples Alive I & Couples Alive II.  It was a very full stretch.  Of course, I loved the work and the wonderful people I had the chance to meet and work with.  I am very fortunate that I get to do work I love.  We finished off the trip with a two day corporate client event down in Portland.

Couples Alive & On the Edge!
Here are just a few of the great couples having some fun!

There were many moments where I had some great ideas and/or experiences I wanted to share.  However, there wasn’t much free time so the imagined blog post were never completed. Now home, I have the time but not quite as inspired!

Currently, the biggest thing on my mind is my desire to create community and connections for myself here in Whitefish.  See, I found myself thinking about moving, and when I mentioned this to CrisMarie, she wisely pointed out that my solution might not really be solving my underlying dissatisfaction.  In the past six months I have been living on Gabriola Island BC more than I have been at home. Prior to that six month period there were some key changes in my connections here.  We finished our Masters program at Jwalan Muktika School for Illumination (JMSI) my term on the JMSI Board ended, my favorite hangout The Green Tea House closed, and we had a major break with some of our closest friends here in Whitefish.  Suddenly, Whitefish, though gorgeous and quite wonderful, seems more like a tourist stop than home.

After getting the first dose of wisdom from CrisMarie, she let that settle and delivered the second bit of input. Though she thought I thrived while engaged in a community, she didn’t think I was all that good at creating one.  Again, the feedback stung but had a lot of truth in it.  When I moved to Seattle, I did struggle to create the connections I wanted.  Mostly, I blamed that on traffic and too many choices.  Looking back more closely at my patterns, I noticed that I am great at jumping into groups and structures already in place, but may not be so great at building those connections myself.

So home again and this time without any long periods away for a while, I am hoping to break through and build the community I want here.  I know there are lots of possibilities. My first step is Whitefish Ladies Golf Night.  There are six of us who are game for being part of a team.  We play once a week on Tuesday evening.  I am not a great golfer, but the team agreed, this was for fun and connecting.  It’s okay if we lose or have big handicaps!

I would also like to start a monthly Body, Breath and Energy evening or Relational Health night in the Flathead Valley, bringing a bit of The Haven to Whitefish.  Of course, that will involve some marketing and may be more than I am up for.  Still, I would love to find some ways to do what I love right here at home.  Home, Sweet Home

I was happy to land back here in Montana.  Loved sleeping in my own bed and picking up Sooke, our most amazing dog.  Indeed, home is sweet. I just want to put a bit more effort into making it even better.  I’ll keep you posted along the way.







Leap of Faith

My word for the year is a phrase, “Leap of Faith”.  I was going to simply stick with the plan, one word for the year.  At first I thought Leap – however, that did not quite fit.  Faith wasn’t quite right either.  Then I saw this picture that I bought earlier in 2012 while taking Sooke to the vet.  I love it.  There’s the elder duck leading the way out of the nest up in a tree and then the little ones, look out and then finally, leap.  Their wings seem so small and incapable of flight.  Yet, there they go!

It's time to fly!!
It’s time to fly!!

Sometimes I feel like those little ducks.  Yet, I am much closer, may be even older than the mother duck pushing the babes out of the nest.  If I reflect on my life as it is now, I do see both, and in many ways both are taking a Leap of Faith.  Sure, the more physical evidence of the leap is seen in the baby ducks.  However, that mom, likely has some inner angst about what is about to happen and must have tremendous faith to step out of the way.  I relate to both.

This year we plan to re-launch Thrive!.  This in many ways will be a Leap of Faith.  We intend to bring our whole selves to this new business.  This means we no longer want to have our lives compartmentalized.  In the past, we had our corporate presence and we had our various more personal pursuits.  The revitalized Thrive! will be designed to integrate both.  We plan to maintain our work with leaders, teams and organizations, and we also will include our strong belief that business is personal.  That the corporate world would greatly benefit from embracing a whole person/whole team approach.  In many ways this concept is really mother bird speaking.  We know this concept is a mature and vital path that works.  We have been embracing it ourselves for years and have built a powerful partnership that continues to ignite and sustain our health, wealth and relationship.

The baby duck part of the leap is simply being willing to step out fully as who we each are and who we are together.  Last year we started leading the Couples Alive Series couples programs up at The Haven.  The Haven Institute has always been like a safe nest where I can learn and develop.  So it was easy to step into leading together.  We didn’t question out value or wonder about being accepted.  We simply brought all we have learned through being together for over twelve years and assumed if we were open, real and curious we had lots to offer any couple – same sex or not.

Now we want to be more transparent in who we are out in the bigger world, to take the leap of faith and trust that we can fly. Sure, may be not everyone will like discovering we are not simply a business partnership.  However, I believe until now our biggest doubters have been ourselves.

Aside from the work transition and re-launching, I am also leaping into the world of writing.  I have been writing for years.  It has been my path for integrating and revealing to myself my inner world.  More recently I have stepped further out.  Through my blog and writing for 406 Magazine.  Yet I don’t think of myself as a writer.  I don’t fully commit to that path.  This year I am making the leap.  I have signed up for a kick-off workshop with writers I know will challenge and encourage me to go deeper and broader.

So my phrase, Leap of Faith, fits for me.  I am both mature and quite young at what I am jumping into.  I have a solid foundation that I can count on and I am ready for new ground and possibilities.

Though what intrigues me most is the space between the young ducks just launching themselves out of the tree and the older duck giving the push.  That space is where faith becomes something beyond leaping into the vast unknown or holding faith in that which is known for someone to step into.  The space is yet another aspect to leap of faith.  I believe it is that middle ground.  I must leap.  My wings are not young and new – my wings are scarred and older.  I have known the pain of crashing into the ground and failing to fly.  Yet I must still step from the tree and take the leap.  Knowing I have the heart and courage of being both young and old.

So I am thrilled to take the a leap of faith into 2013.

Susan Clarke is a long standing faculty member at The Haven Institute. She leads The Living Alive Phase I, with Carole Ames starting Feb 13 – Mar 10, 2013 and Come Alive April 7-12, 2013, and with CrisMarie Campbell: Come Alive Oct 13-18, 2013; and Couples Alive I – Foundation, Communication and Boundaries, April 15-19, 2013 and Couples Alive II – Edge, Igniting Passion & Aliveness April 19-23, 2013.


I Remember. Come Alive, Rocks!

I just finally watched the new Come Alive video on The Haven website. I thought it was awesome. I wanted to find a way to share it with everyone who has ever asked me, “What is it you do at The Haven?”

Yes, I have taken the Come Alive journey many times. Twice as a participant and countless times as a leader during the last twenty two years.

I still remember my first Come Alive. I came with my sister, Penny. I thought I was dying. I had been given three months to live. My doctors were not too happy when I announced I was going across the country to take a five day program called Come Alive. They thought that was a waste. Of course, for me, I had nothing to loss. So I went.

I believe those five days turned my life around. I was so inspired by the leaders – their caring – their open, honest way of being with people. They were not trying to fix me or others, but simply listening, supporting and modeling vulnerability, curiosity and faith. I wanted what I was witnessing. I wanted that more than I wanted to cure cancer. I wanted to learn to relate with that level of authenticity and alive-ness even if it only lasted three months.

I was encouraged to breathe every day. Jock was often dropping by to offer acupuncture. His visits were short, frequent and just the right amount for me to gradually open up to what was happening. I witnessed people sharing a depth of feeling and vulnerability I had never seen before. Of course, I had moments where I totally doubted the process, even got angry about the fact that I was just getting this now with only a short time to live. The beauty of the program was that I traveled to so many places through listening to different stories than my own and never once thought I had to change or be different. I was simply invited to be me and to be curious about how I had gotten to where I was – not as a victim but as a response-able person. It was exciting to have people not feel sorry for me but instead hold me as able. They believed in me and with that invitation I came alive!

I didn’t really remember the models. But I did remember Jock’s tears, as far as I knew, no one had ever cried with me. Here was this doctor with big salty tears running down his cheek. This gave me the permission I needed to cry as well. We did this together, and I will never forget what that felt like. I remember the honesty and warmth of the group as each person revealed some aspect of their life that was raw and new to them. We each held an open space for whatever someone needed or wanted to explore.

Yes, I remember. That first five day program turned my life around, and I have never gone back to the lonely place I knew before arriving on Gabriola at The Haven. So I will gladly share this video and hope it goes viral. There is place, and it is worth visiting. Pass this on!!

Here’s the link to the new Come Alive video!!

Susan Clarke

Life Lessons from The Games

I have been soaking in as much of the Olympic vibes as possible.  Last week on my way to The Haven for a Come Alive, I caught the skytrain down to the heart of Vancouver and enjoyed just walking and chatting with folks.  Of course during the Come Alive my energy and attention shifted to the folks in the group.  Though I found it quite fun to check out the results either online or through dinner conversations.

Now back at home I am watching with CrisMarie, an Olympian from the summer games.  In the past she wasn’t too fond of  watching.  It seemed to stir some pain from her own Olympian disappointment in finishing sixth.  Fortunately she seems to have come to a different place now.  Able to recognize the amazing triumph of making it to the Games and competing at that level and even drawing from the disappointment to speak about the lessons learned about teaming; primarily the difference between being a boat of champions and a championship boat.

It is interesting to me to watch the athletes.  Especially the ones expected to medal.  So much pressure.  Some seem to embrace that moment and rise to the occasion.  I am not just speaking of those who win their Gold, Silver or Bronze but also about those who don’t,  yet still stay thrilled with the moment and able to recognize that on that one day they did not win.

Personally I believe it takes excellence and dedication over time to make it to the Games.  It takes a peak moment to win the Gold.  Very different.  One not better or worse then the other.  But different.

I love the events where some unexpected contender races to the lead, surprising everyone.  I was watching the USA hockey team beat Canada 5-3 and watched the goalie defend 45 shots at the goal, only allowing 3 to get in.  I could not help but wonder was that a peak moment or a sustainable performance.  Just the fact that Canada got 45 shots on the goal versus 20 some by the USA, who was the better team and who was having the better moment.

That is what makes the Games so interesting to me.  There is just that drive that allows someone or a team to come together and practice and dedicate themselves to making it to the greatest sporting event.  That effort alone is something any Olympian I would hope could recognize and honor for themselves.  Then there is the moment – the event.  Some will rise that day and fly; others will put their heart in the event to simply be beaten by a better performance and some will fall and never cross the finish line.  Indeed that moment can be crushing after all the effort.  Still I can’t help but believe that  there will be a day when each and every athlete that walked through the gate during the opening ceremonies can and will fully embrace the accomplishment of that – with or without a medal to show for it.

In the Come Alive we talk about the Power and Strength Model. This is a continuum that we are all living and choosing all the time.  The power side of the model deals with control, roles, security and dominating the world around us.  The strength side deals vulnerability, authenticity, risk and finding our will from within.  For me this is the essence of the Olympics.  I see and hear the continuum being played out through these athletes.  The power in winning – taking the podium. The strength in competing – rising with or without a medal.  Some will get fixated on their moment.  That moment may be one of greatest or humility; victory or defeat.  Some will flow through the moment.  Again through the high of winning or the low of falling short of their dream.  I can see it on their faces as they embrace their team mates or not, speak to the press or not and through the awarding of the medals. With some  the fixation is clear.  This moment will define them for some time.  For others it is simply another piece of the fabric of their lives.  May be a bright spot but still just a piece and they are already moving on.

We are all like these athletes. Life is like the Games.  Fortunately not being captured on TV.  Yet still working with that same dynamic.  The moments and the day-to-day effort it takes to make those moment possible.  We are our peak experiences as well as the little choices we make every day.

Sometimes I get stuck focusing on the moments and miss the opportunity to move on.  Sometimes I forget to celebrate a moment and move on too quickly. Indeed life is always offering me so many opportunities to wake up – in-the-moment and over time.  I would like to be one of the ones who does indeed wake up and can celebrate that I made it to the Games and gave it all the power and strength I had to offer; with or with a medal.

That would be cool!!