Having run two marathons in the past, I know firsthand the dedication and inner fortitude it requires to train for and complete a marathon. What marathon runners know about suffering can help us all learn how to cope with this tragedy and rise above it.
In the context of mindful living, slowing down does not imply taking a vacation every other month. It is what we must do every day. It means taking the time to do whatever we're doing. It means single-tasking rather than switching between a multitude of tasks and focusing on none of them.
Authentic people commit themselves to excellence in everything they do. They are constantly pushing the envelope and raising their standards. And they have the wisdom to know the difference between excellence and perfection.
Defying all odds, his left leg being nearly an inch shorter than his right and limping as he ran, Glenn Cunningham set all kinds of middle distance records in high school. At Kansas University he is remembered as being one of the university's all-time track greats.
We have more than we've ever had and can do more than we ever thought. We can meet strangers across continents on devices in our pockets from the comfort of wherever we are. We can crowdsource with those same strangers to start a company or make a movie.
I have come to believe that to survive and ultimately thrive we have to choose the blessings life brings to us everyday. Each day is a different one; each day brings a miracle of its own. And ultimately, it is with that belief we build our staying power every day.
I didn't choose to cultivate equanimity. It chose me. My experience has taught me that nothing is permanent. Change is inevitable; sometimes it brings pleasure, sometimes pain. While you can't avoid pain, you can choose to suffer less.
As I reflected light back in through my camera lens, I birthed an entirely new perspective on life. I created my healing as I found beauty in my morning cup of coffee, warmth in the nuzzles from my two cats, and meaning in the light of those brisk autumn days.
Adversity can be both awful and wonderful. Soldiers regale each other with tales of heroism and courage in the face of adversity. Adversity shapes us slowly but steadily just as water carves out canyons and wears down mountains.
You don't have to have an all-encompassing faith. Start small. Even if faith begins as a tiny seed, that is enough to begin with. In time, and with experience, that single seed of faith is sure to grow.
"I hope you read my short letter with an open heart and mind, even though you do not know me. I've heard about your situation and wanted to personally reach out to you, because I believe in you, and because I believe in the potential and possibilities of your life."
None of us should allow the collective wisdom of experts to prove definitive. When you take a chance and miss, there's only one thing to do: work harder and return with more conviction. (OK. That's two things to do. Sue me.)
We can choose to think flexibly and adaptively, rather than rigidly and maladaptively, by redefining painful life blows as opportunities to evolve. Suffering is the "rock-tumbler" of life, within which the nuggets of our battered selves get polished into our highest and best selves.
Bend, Not Break centers around eight of Ping Fu's life lessons, from her childhood in Mao's China, to finding her way as a poor American immigrant, to becoming a widely respected female executive and mother.