As you might imagine I have a list of topics that I’m interested in broadcasting. At the top of my list for this week were two, one I won’t tell you about because I don’t want to jump the gun about it, and the second was “Don’t Give Up.” I resonate with its inspirational message as I watch friends who have life threatening illnesses maintain a positive outlook and continue to embrace their lives fully, and because I see my clients struggle for a better marriage, a good job after many weeks unemployed, and people like myself who have projects they want to complete and Midwife into the world but are met with frustration and rejections and still they perservere. But i wasn’t sure if I was going to go with this topic. That was until I turned on ESPN radio and listened to the fund raising campaign for the Jimmy V foundation, a fight cancer charity. When I heard that Jim Valvano, a famous college basketball coach, had inspired others, even as he knew he was dying, with the words “Don’t Give Up,” I decided the stars were alligned and that this would be this weeks exploration through music and psychology.
“Don’t Give Up,” “Persevere” “Keep Going” “Just Do it” are, on their face, slogans. And as with all slogans they may move us for a time but eventually they are more like sugar than nutritious food. To truly get the benefit of the surface message we have to go deeper inside. That means we have to gain awareness of the impediments to our perseverence. For example, as you may know I’ve written, a novel, “Final Shot,” soon to be published. I had two internal hurdles to overcome. My fear of rejection and the feeling of shame that I experienced whenever I thought about criticism I might receive. After all, publishing a work of fiction is a highly personal exercise. It’s like having a baby or raising a child, labor and effort is required and we can only hope for a positive outcome. But we want it to work because we put so much into it and so much is revealed in the final product. I felt resistance to completing my project. I encountered the ghosts of my childhood, incidents in which parents and teachers were dissatisfied, encounters with other kids who laughed at things I said, the clothes I wore, and the awkwardness of my looks at certain times of my development. Though far removed from the specific content of putting my work out into the world these were the emotional hurdles that emerged from my self-exploration. Once I accessed these memories into my consious awareness, I was able to support myself through the mindfulness techniques of noticing and non-judgmental support. I was able to remember times I felt stuck in the progress of other projects and how i supported myself using the slogans I listed above as a starting point and progressing on to real self-love, and support from the people who were close to me. Seeking out people who encourage — not sycophants, because “yes” people can be dangerous to our true progress — but those who understood my process, critiqued me in the best spirit of honest, positive feedback, and who lovingly checked in with me as time went on. (BTW, I do this for others.)
So that’s the topic, “Don’t Give Up.” Tell us about your struggle to persevere. Ask for help with blocks to your progress. Give us your wisdom about how you made your way through difficult challenges. And add to our song list with music that inspired you.
We start off our musical set with the aptly titled “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabiel. It’s followed by Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind,” and Jimmy Cliff, of reggae fame, and his “You Can Get It if You Really Want.”