Friday, August 12, 2011

Giving Up

Who's giving up? You giving up? Not me, that's for darn sure. Although, there are days when I have to set everything aside and refocus. But that's not giving up. That's changing my perspective. And sometimes that's just as important as trying.

Yesterday, I finally got to see the Soul Surfer movie.


You know, the true story of Bethany Hamilton who was attacked by a shark while she was practicing for her upcoming surfing competition and lost her arm, just barely surviving? Have you seen the movie yet? Make the time for this one. Besides the fact that it's set in Hawaii (my most fave place in the world) and the scenery is gorgeous, Bethany's story will move you and touch your heart.

The obvious take-away from her story, is to never give up. That we all face obstacles and adversity and at times, we all will fail. How frustrating it must've been to just make a sandwich with only one hand, let alone trying to get up and balance on a surfboard. No one would've blamed Bethany for giving up surfing ... or even for never going into the water again after what happened.

But she did not let it stop her. And it wasn't easy. Actually, she got so frustrated that she did give up surfing. For awhile. But only to gain some perspective. You know what she did to refocus? Found a way to help others. She went to Thailand right after the tsunami of 2004 and did mission work. How's that for a fresh perspective?

Sometimes we think we have it so bad, we forget there are thousands of people around the world who would give anything to trade places with us. We tend to wallow in our failures and self-pity. Which means it's time to step back and look at what we have already accomplished.

When Bethany returned to Hawaii, she did get back into surfing... and came in 5th place in the Hawaiian regional surfing competition. She didn't win, but she was certainly the only one-armed surfer out there. She didn't give up when things got tougher than she ever imagined. She stopped and focused her attention on what she could do for others. And THAT is what gave her the strength to press on.

Perspective. It's so easy to forget to change it. There's a line in the film that says, "Sometimes we have to change the way we look at things. If we're too close to it, we can't really see it for what it is."

I think about that with my stories. And with writing in general. Hey, it's not the end of the world if that first, second, or third story doesn't pan out like we want. We just ... move on. Until we're ready to get back in the water and catch the next wave. Why? Because it's what we love. And no one, not even ourselves, is going to stand in the way of our dreams.

It's also why we need support from each other. It's why this writing community is so so important. Bethany wouldn't have the guts she has without the support of her loving family and from people around the world who saw her story and sent her letters of support and encouragement. I know we're all supposed to be here in the blogosphere to create our platforms and that jazz ... But it's more than that! We have a network of support and encouragement from each other, and that is what will see us through to our goals.

Gosh, I love you guys. *sniff sniff* LOL! (for dramatic effect) ;)

Have you seen Soul Surfer? Or know the Bethany Hamilton story? How does she inspire you? Is there someone else who inspires you? Please share ...

39 comments:

Old Kitty said...

I have read of Bethany Hamilton but didn't know there was a film of her! Wonderful!! She truly is an fab role model and inspiration.

I think people who are part of organizations like Medecins Sans Frontier and all those out "on the field" helping victims of war, drought and famine inspire me no end cos they truly show up my cowardice and feebleness! :-)I guess they make me think to do a little good everyday!

Take care
x

Laila Knight said...

Yes, it's always important to be willing to change our perspective. Viewing obstacles as simple stepping stones placed there to teach us always helps me. I can't believe that girl had the guts to hop back in the water after the shark ripped her arm off. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember when it happened. Definitely want to see this movie.

Jen said...

I remember Bethany's story, but also didn't know there was a movie. Whenever I need a good kick in the backside, I remember there are plenty of people out there who have done it harder.

Alyssa said...

Yesterday at an ice rink that i went to, there was this girl with no arm and she was competing against a whole bunch of other girls. even though she knew she was different and probably wasn't going to win, she didn't give up because this was something she really loved and this shows even when she doesn't have an arm, it still wont stop her from doing what she is passionate about. :)

Angela Felsted said...

I love this post! And even though I haven't seen the movie, I'm sure it's an amazing story.

For me, it's all about writing the story anyway. Once I've written and revised one to pieces, I'm ready to write something new.

Melissa Bradley said...

I love you too!!! *waterworks begin* :)

What a beautiful post, I enjoyed this film and Bethany is a real inspiration. Put things in perspective. Suddenly cleaning my house with both of my capable hands doesn't seem so daunting.

Melissa Hurst said...

I agree with you 100%. Bethany's story puts things in perspective for me. I love that line about having to change the way we look at things in order to see things for how they really are.

Jess said...

I've seen the trailer for this movie, and it looks so inspirational! Bethany's courage and persistence is truly amazing. Thanks for highlighting the film~ and I really like your comparison of stepping back for perspective in life to doing the same thing in writing!

Matthew MacNish said...

I really want to see this movie. I saw an ESPN Wish special where a little girl with cancer got to meet Bethany. It was awesome.

William Kendall said...

Wonderfully said, PK!

I have heard her story, and I knew about the film, but I haven't seen it yet.

Marsha Sigman said...

I know about this story and I keep putting off watching it. I know I will cry and I hate that.

But the message is awesome and I really need that today. So glad it's Friday!

Jennifer Jackson said...

And, when one dream is honestly impossible, you make a new one...

Jess said...

I really want to see that movie! And you are VERY right... If we love something we shouldn't let ANYONE stop us from doing so! I have a friend who is constantly asking me if I think what she's writing sounds good to me, and I always end up telling her that it shouldn't matter what I think about her work! As long as she loves what she's doing, that's all that matters.

DEMETRA BRODSKY said...

Damn straight. : )

Anita said...

You got it! (and I need to see that movie)

Carla White said...

What an uplifting, positive post. :) I so needed this today as I was definitely doing some self-pity wallowing. Haven't seen this film yet though I have heard many good things about it. I recently read Lance Armstrong's "It's Not About the Bike" and Aaron Ralston's "Between a Rock and a Hard Place". They were both very inspiring and brought me back to reality where things are not as bad as they sometimes seem.

Angie Cothran said...

The universe must be giving me a sign or something. This is the second thing I read today about not giving up.

I read an article about Kathryn Stockett author of THE HELP and how many times she was rejected--60! She also said never give up.

Thanks for the inspiration :)

kmckendry said...

Sounds like a great movie!

You're so right about this wonderful online community! Everyone is so supportive of each other. :) I'm inspired by everyone else's hard work on this journey to be published.

My parents and grandpa inspire me with their refusal to let age stop their activities, and my husband inspires me with his continual search for knowledge.

Cally Jackson said...

This is a wonderful, thought-provoking post, PK. You are absolutely right - perspective is everything. So we don't get our first book published? Big deal. Some people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

Thanks for keeping it real. :-)

Oh, and to answer your question, I haven't seen the movie (not sure it's out in Aus yet), but I do know Steph's story and I think she is an amazing, inspirational young woman. All power to her, I say.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I heard about the story, of course, but I haven't seen the film.

You are so right about the throwing those pity parties. We all need a good slap in the face when we are at this low.

We are fortunate to have an amazing blogging community, a roof over our heads, and food on the table.

Now, we may not have that illustrative contract, but we have the passion, drive, and talent to move forward.

Rachel Brooks said...

This story is a wonderful inspiration to never give up. It's is a lesson we writers have to learn if we ever want to become published.

Also, I’m a new follower—wonderful blog! Stop by my blog and follow me too? :) http://rachelbrookswrites.blogspot.com/

Julie Musil said...

*stands and cheers*

You said it, Pk! No quitting allowed. And you're so right...when we put it all in perspective, we're pretty darn luck.

I haven't seen Soul Surfer yet, but I want to!

fOIS In The City said...

I loved this so much! You hit the nail right where it needs to get hit and sent it straing through the surface to what is really important.

THE PROCESS and who we become when we go through the ups and many downs of this process.

It's nice to know I have people like you in my corner :)

cestlavie22 said...

I have never heard of this movie until your post but I think I might need to add it to my list of must- sees! Thanks for sharing this beautiful story!

DM said...

I've seen the ads for the movie. Support is so important, but so is honesty in critiquing, editing. We won't improve nor reach our goal without the right support.

Doralynn Kennedy said...

I know about Bethany's story. I remember when she was attacked and followed her story, but I still haven't seen the movie. I need to check Netflix for when it's available. Thanks. Very inspiring post.

Vicki Tremper said...

Thanks for reminding us about this truly important message. Perspective makes all the difference. How can any of us give up when we have each other to write blog posts like this?

Norma Beishir said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I have seen Bethany on TV and I know her story. Like Aron Ralston, she's an inspiration to all of us.

ali said...

Fantastic post, Pk. I couldn't agree more--on all counts. I haven't seen the movie yet, but Bethany's already touched my heart and inspired me.

And posts like this one are inspiring too. ((hugs!)) Thank you!

Carol Riggs said...

I've heard about this, seen the preview, but haven't seen the movie--yet! Looking forward to it. Simply amazing. :)

Deana said...

I just saw this movie on Friday. It was a great family movie. It really puts things into perspective.
WE WILL NOT GIVE UP:)

Isis Rushdan said...

Great post. I already have this on my netflix list.

I signed up for Alex's blogfest and found you, figured I'd say hi.

Talli Roland said...

I haven't seen the film, but wow! What a great reminder that we need to keep going and never let go of our dreams!

Nas Dean said...

Hi PK,

Thanks for letting us know of this movie, sounds powerful. And yes, no quitting!

tfwalsh said...

Love your positive post - reminds us to take things into perspective and not let it get us down... great. First time visitor and am now a follower:)

LTM said...

wow. What a great, inspiring reality check! Thanks, girl! And you're right. Finding and connecting with others is one of the best ways to stay motivated. You can do it! xoxo

Doreen said...

I have not seen the movie yet. I am so looking forward to this and the Help. The little ones have been asking to see the smerfs...I don't think I can get out of it :)

Katrina L. Lantz said...

I haven't seen this yet, but the trailer made me cry. It's definitely on my to-watch list. I loved this blog post. Perspective is one of those elusive things for me. It's so much easier to see the tiny puzzle piece right in front of me rather than the big picture.

And ditto to what you said about how we're not just building platforms here, but supporting each other. Every successful author I've read at some point has said something like, "Nobody does this alone."

Thanks for this!