Born to Suffer: The Invitation
By Coach Erik Cagnina
By now, you have all become familiar with my tales of woe, pain and torment. Well I’m going to switch things up on you a bit this month. The poem below is my A-Number-One All-Time Favorite, ranking well ahead of “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” I’ve always found the words to ring pure with truth, so much that my wife and I chose it to be a reading at our wedding. Each time I read it a little tear comes to my eye (you know, a good tear, like the tear I get when I’m finishing an IM … or at the end of someone telling me about their IM experience … or at the end of watching an IM broadcast). [Editorial Note: The tears at the end of Ironman broadcasts are due to the joy of seeing all those people finish and accomplish an incredible feat, not from the increasingly dismal quality of the increasingly shorter broadcasts.] Anyway, check it out, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (Indian Elder)
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare
to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know
if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams,
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own
sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have
become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,
without moving to hide or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own:
if you can dance with the wildness and let the ecstasy
fill you to the finger and toes without cautioning us
to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint others to be true to
yourself: if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and
not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithless
and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see the beauty even when it
is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life
from Its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine, and still stand on the edge
of the lake and shout to the silver
of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live,
or how much money you have. I want to know
if you can get up after the night of grief and
despair, weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are,
or how you came to be here,
I want to know if you will stand in
the center of the fire with me and not
It doesn’t interest me where or what or
with whom you have studied. I want to know
what sustains you from the inside when
all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.
“Born to Suffer” is a monthly affair in which to share my tales of suffering. Feel free to contact me at Erik@D3Multisport.com and share your tales of suffering. I might even use your story if I’ve been unlucky enough to have not suffered recently. The purpose is nothing more than to generate a smile. It’s good to train hard, but it’s better to smile while training hard.