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Sullygram...August 2013 newsletter
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Author:  Thomas (Sully) Sullivan [ Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Sullygram...August 2013 newsletter

Trembling ivy climbs an old stone chimney, a bold green sprout anchors itself between tire tracks on a dusty road, Spanish moss rides the wind across a chasm between cypress trees, Indian grass nods benedictions to every speeding car on either side of an expressway divider – nature plants her flags in the most unlikely places, and I guess that’s the point. Life doesn’t reach its potential unless it dares long odds.

Long odds act more like probabilities in my life; but, like the trembling ivy, the green sprout and the Spanish moss, worthwhile quests travel slowly. Maybe it’s the same for everyone when it comes to big rewards. Don’t we all spend a large part of our life waiting for something? Artistic recognition, wealth, athletic laurels, a career, true love – we take our shots, dare to hope, learn the realities, and accept the compromises. Or not accept, as far as compromises go, because intensity and idealism can still cross a bridge, even if the dream itself fails.

I used to tell my swimmers, “If the only day that justifies all the effort in the life of an athlete is the day they set a world record, they’ve wasted a lot of days.” I meant, of course, that the value of a quest isn’t only in the desired outcome. The value is in who you become in the process of making yourself worthy for what you seek. That much you control. What you don’t control is the actual outcome/reward/goal, because if the outcome wasn’t beyond your control in the first place, you wouldn’t have to reach for it. That reward is usually in the hands of the world, society, circumstances, karma, or another individual; and so there is no guarantee that you will actually receive or achieve it no matter what you do. It may, in fact, be subject to fate, fickleness, irony, injustice, a change of mind or a change of heart.

You can, of course, accept a verdict of failure in any of those scenarios, devalue the goal or write it off. But why would you? If it successfully represents everything you had control of in your effort to earn the brass ring, everything you dreamed of, respected, loved or cherished as a perfection, then what is different from the scenario wherein you actually receive the reward? You are exactly the same person who beforehand held hope and expectations. You may choose to feel betrayed, cheated, defeated, denied the promised quid pro quo or, in the words of Tonto in the recent Lone Ranger flick, become the victim of a “bad trade,” but nothing can take away your side of the deal. You are still at the peak of your perfection – honed to your highest ideals, as worthy as you can be – so why not ride that white horse, kemosabe? Pity to fall off and watch Silver gallop back to the barn while you lie in a ditch. You might never mount such a gallant steed again. BUT…if you stay in the saddle, you remain worthy of your dreams.

If you just look at outcomes, I am an expert on failure. Then again, I never give up on what I have control of – the path, the journey. Sometimes this requires ingenious workarounds when obstacles appear or the reward alters itself. Inevitably there are ways to recoup one’s motivation, or make adjustments to deal with disappointment, or accept trade-offs to counter pain, or discover new perspectives to avoid extinction. Any less of either your passion or imagination is resignation to a humdrum life where boredom is death’s first cousin. Kindling and sustaining magic is what I mean when I call myself a romantic idealist.

This month’s column at SU is called DRINKING THE WILD AIR, and it’s a Q&A wherein I try to answer some of your most intriguing questions from writer stuff to life’s central issues. Here’s the link: http://storytellersunplugged.com/thomas ... r/#respond .

The photos below run the gamut this month, including 5 seasonal shots from behind my house, 2 from Idaho’s last winter, 1 of my kayak/hike/bike friend Mickey, and a few of my native element – water – including one of children learning to swim in the ocean off Montserrat (that’s good buddy Chuck Hines, legendary water polo guru and humanitarian who many of you know, doing the teaching), and another with a chimp that just cracks me up.

Note: if this is a mirror site and you don't see photos, you can find all Sullygrams archived on my author's web page>Sullygrams & Columns. My webmaster Ed Picard in California usually has the latest one up within a day.

Summer’s enchantments have all seemed connected this year, like a conversation wherein one thing answers another. I’m always tuned to the ether for that. Whether those whispers come from the psychic power of an individual, foretastes from karma, or genuine Divine Providence itself, a sense of guiding presence remains potent in my life. Wish I had trusted it earlier. Doubting Thomas. Can’t think of a fear that deserved respect, a guilt that was valid, or a doubt that belonged in the driver’s seat. Man, I hate wasting life… The joy I could have given and the happiness I could have shared are my only hauntings. But then, that’s the perfectionist in me harping. There is much, much joy and excitement in things as they are, and I am profoundly grateful.

I may be on the road for a brief trip soon, so please forgive if my responses are delayed. “See-eee you in Septemmmm-ber…”

Thomas “Sully” Sullivan

You can see all my books in any format here on my webpage or follow me on Facebook:

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