There’s nothing like the Olympics to take us up and out of our collective monkey minds by watching our fabulous athletes show the world how brilliant they are – and I don’t mind that Russia and Japan and Romania — and Arthur Zanetti from Brazil! — show us how brilliant they are, too.

It takes my mind off the Aurora killings, for a little while.  Not completely, mind you.  They are still hurting out there and we are still hurting in here – a hurt that doesn’t want to go away.  It takes my mind off the elections in November — for a little while.  Not completely, but enough.  When will politicians stop being politicians and start caring about what happens in this glorious country that is my home.  Don’t answer.  It’s a rhetorical question.

We get to view the Olympics for two weeks, and it’s like a salve for our wounded national psyche, perhaps our global psyche — we can watch and sigh and thank those families for all they’ve done these many years, and hold our collective breaths as Aly Raisman loses sight of the balance beam for just a second to back-flip over and wind up standing there, as proud as can be.  We can watch that “flying squirrel,” Gabby Douglas do – well, just about everything right – with a big smile shining out like a beacon to the world!

And, speaking of shining out into the world, after winning the Gold medal in the all-around competition, Gabby not only shows that she has prowess as a gymnast, but her faith and humility are a lesson to us all:  “I give all the glory to God.  It’s kind of a win-win situation.  The glory goes up to Him and all the blessings fall down on me.”  That’s a message from the mountaintop as well as from the podium! 

Let’s not forget Jordyn Wieber, who, in the midst of what had to be a life-altering moment of crushing disappointment, pulled herself together to stand at the microphone and shift the conversation to support for her team mates.  My heart soared watching her in the stands during the all-arounds, rooting for Aly and Gabby when I know – we all know – that she wanted to be the one on that Olympic floor.  Thank you, Jordyn, for a lesson in friendship and team spirit and grace.

Michael Phelps, I love you!  I love you because you keep going and you keep winning and you have nothing inside you that says, “I shouldn’t be doing this.  I’m not good enough.”  You make me realize that we all have that greatness within us, but not all of us train our minds to think only one thing.  And, what is that one thing?  Like the Jack Palance character, the old cowboy,  in “City Slickers,” said – that’s for us to find out.

Kayla Maroney, the world’s greatest on the vault, hurt her toe the first day of competition.  That would be enough to put many of us on the couch with an ice-pack and our foot raised for a few days.  So, what does she say?  “This is the Olympics and that is a toe.”  Something inside me said, “Thank God for you, Kayla!  You remind us of who we are – not some whining clods on a couch, but – each and every one of us – great beyond measure.” 

She reminds me of another Olympic great – also a women’s’ gymnast, also on the vault.  In 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, Kerri Strugg fell during her first vault attempt and hurt her ankle.  With a sprained ankle, she vaulted a second time and stuck her landing — standing on one leg.   She smiled at us all – and then collapsed.  I jumped up from my sofa, burst into tears, and screamed in joy and celebration!  She showed us that to be human is not only in our flaws  and vulnerability but in our big hearts and our deep spirits.

What else can take us to that kind of high?  Every Olympic Games, two billion or more of us get the chance to watch that greatness; and, I believe, the reason we sigh and cry and jump up and down alone in front of our televisions or in a bar or at an Olympic party – is because those athletes remind us that what they have is in all of us – and we are just carried away with them in the grandeur of it all.  When they play the “Star Spangled Banner”, I melt in gratitude.  When any athlete is up there on the podium, I go from patriotism to an overwhelming love for humanity – mine and theirs.  Would that we could live this way all the time!

So, thank you, Olympic Games.  Thank you, parents of Olympic Athletes.  Thank you, every one of you competing athletes, who have given your lives to transcending pain and inconvenience and complaints and procrastination and self-absorption to shine for us, soar for us, and yes, save us… once again. 

The power is in the distinguishing.  Kayla gave us that.  We can apply it in life:

“This is the Olympics and that is a toe.”

Deliciously yours in the Grandeur of it All!   Linda

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”          –from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

© Linda Ruocco and “Spiritual Chocolate”, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Ruocco and ”Spiritual Chocolate” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Thank you.

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