Betty Ford. Thank you for being a pathfinder.

Reflecting on the life of Betty Ford, and how she was the first major public figure to openly discuss an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Additionally, she openly talked about cancer let alone breast cancer.

Keep in mind that at the time society didn’t openly have those discussions or have recovery resources for addicts.

She was the essence of a pathfinder, leader and philanthropist. My guess is that she didn’t see herself that way. I venture to guess she saw herself as a person tired of living with the weight of pain and came to a point where she just wanted to relieve herself of it.

She was amazingly brave. She didn’t cower from society’s glare or attitude. Rather, she moved forward to create a better life for herself and her family, ridding herself of a negative burden. In turn, she created a better life for herself and for thousands of others.

I understand her desire to rid of something negative. In 1980 I was raped, yet like 60% of other victims didn’t report the crime, and I believed life would continue, peacefully, by sweeping the problem under the rug. Instead the problem got worse as my attacker stalked me for the next four years and raped me a second time, hence making my secret deeper and the burden of carrying it nearly impossible to bare.

Yet with time, wisdom taught me I don’t have to live with that negative weight. Rather I learned we can be powerful and peaceful at the same time by releasing the burden.

Case in point, I raced the Ironman for two reasons. One, I wanted to. Two, because I believed the discipline of Ironman training could develop a strong body and a positive mindset, hence eliminating the negative thoughts that I continued to harbor. For example, it was common for me to say “how am I going to get out of this moment?” instead of saying, “how can I enjoy this moment?”.

To test my theory, I created a goal … to discipline my mind to race the Ironman, 17-hours if needed – under maddening physical conditions – and to enjoy every moment without having one negative thought.

Could I, like Betty Ford, eliminate the need for an addiction? In my case the addiction was negativity, a mindset that causes a person to feel and act like a victim.

Yes (I say with a smile) it can be done. Racing the Ironman was the best day of my life, and in future posts I’ll share tools and tips that helped me with that discipline process. But for now, I’d like to encourage anyone who is carrying an unwanted load of shit to find ways to release that stinking load. Life is too short to let that stink stick on you.

Enjoy the day.