Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Gaman Rub

Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) 

Laugh, and the world laughs with you: 
Weep, and you weep alone; 
For the sad old earth 
Must borrow its mirth, 
It has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer; 
Sigh, it is lost on the air; 
The echoes bound 
To a joyful sound, 
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you; 
Grieve, and they turn and go; 
They want full measure 
Of all your pleasure, 
But they do not want your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many; 
Be sad, and you lose them all; 
There are none to decline 
Your nectared wine, 
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded; 
Fast, and the world goes by; 
Succeed and give, 
And it helps you live, 
But it cannot help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure 
For a long and lordly train; 
But one by one 
We must all file on 
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

We were talking about this yesterday. The seeming phenomenon of like attracting like. How positive people effect others. The rub. Goodness, kindness, happiness, generosity, and how they can rub-off on you. In the hope of becoming what we admire. As we dove deeper into the concept, I began to recall vivid examples from recent experience. There have been many and as I tried to select an appropriate few, the flip side emerged as equally relevant. 

Is there something that I do, that we do, that has the potential or capability to inspire, to rub? If so, what specifically is it, the single trait that best summarizes? 

Over the past several days I have witnessed honest and dramatic displays of:

Grace under Fire
Honor and devotion

Amongst others not so lofty. Such is diversity. 

As we traded stories, thoughts and feelings, I kept wondering if there was somebody out there that has been the recipient of anything positive that I embody. I carefully considered the possibility and decided that I needed more work. That my rubability is a work in progress and that many of my manifestations of thought are a bit, shall we say,  raw. After all in the last few days I was (semi-seriously) accused of being BOTH narcissistic and hedonistic. Not exactly the rub we're after here. 

Gaman and konjou are two Japanese terms, both with Buddhist lineage, that relate to perseverance. Of going the distance. The wiki definition of gaman comes pretty close to the one rub I would like to be able to apply. 

"enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity".
If ever there was a single phrase that sums up training and racing long course triathlon, this one is that. But, as always, it is also more than that. Give it some thought. Maybe it fits somehow into our unique circumstance. Remember, this is all an experiment of one. 
Hang with positive people. Pay attention. Laugh. Sing. Rejoice.
Through the narrow aisles of pain we endure the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.
Let it rub.

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