Yesterday on Super Soul Sunday, Oprah sat down with long distance swimmer Diana Nyad.
Having followed Diana’s amazing swim in late summer, I was looking forward to insights from this extraordinary woman who, according to Oprah, demonstrated “what a real warrior looks like.”
Born into a tumultuous home, Diana faced challenges at an early age. A temperamental father prone to outbursts and a cold and distant mother led her to find solace in the water, practicing up to six hours a day. The sexual abuse she endured from her coach rocked the cells of her very being and for the longest time, she believed that she had allowed the abuse to happen.
She swam competitively until age thirty and after burning out, decided to leave the loneliest sport in the world. She forged a career in sports broadcasting and lived a different dream. All the while, she kept hearing a little whisper about the failed swim from Florida to Cuba, “Gosh, it would have been magic.”
After her 82-year-old mother died in 2007, Diana began re-evaluating her life and asked the important questions: “Am I living the life that I can admire? “Am I going to leave this earth, maybe as you do, leaving it a place where it’s a little more than it was, and human rights have been fulfilled more?”
Since age 60, Diana attempted the Cuba/Florida swim five times. After four failures, she approached the fifth attempt brimming with confidence. She took every precaution to protect herself from the box jellyfish and completed the 110 mile swim in 58 hours.
Will can push you beyond the impossible.
What the spirit can do is immeasurable.
Spirit is larger than the body.
When you achieve your goals in life, it’s not what that gets you, it’s who I am. (Henry David Thoreau paraphrased)
Diana’s Mantra…Find a way.