In his book “Never Finished,” David Goggins tells the story of the Leadville Trail 100 Run (aka The Race Across The Sky) in 2019. In his book Goggins describes how, as the race went on, a support person who was following him and had poles with them offered him the chance to use them. Although Goggins was aware that he could use poles in the race, he decided against doing so because the last time he participated in the race, poles were not permitted. According to Goggins, using the poles was equivalent to cheating. As the story unfolds, he describes how he vehemently opposed his support person’s recommendation that he makes use of the poles. In the end, he decided to give them a shot, and he utilized them for the remainder of the race; this choice resulted in a huge improvement in his performance.
Goggins considers the race to be a win, although I would disagree with that assessment. The win — the hardest thing he had to overcome — was his own ego — shown in his unwillingness to use trekking poles. It takes bravery to look at the views that drive our choices, particularly when, like Goggins, you have been public about those views.
As I write this, I am facing the same challenge with two of my views:
· The psychiatric approach to grief (and how we have been misled by our culture about how grief and loss work).
· Emotional support animals (which, in my humble opinion, continues to be populated with scamsters and fraudsters).
In my book, “Come As You Are: Meditation & Grief” and in many of these articles and podcast appearances about grief I have been critical about how society responds to this emotion. We, in our ignorance, approach grief as though it were a problem to be solved, a hurdle to be surmounted, or an obstacle to be conquered. We arbitrarily quantify grief with a stopwatch and have the expectation that it will disappear after a certain amount of time; when it doesn’t, we diagnose it, medicate it, and treat the grieving as if they are injured in some manner. We shift our support, abandoning those who need us, treating them as invisible, and blaming them for not “moving on” or “turning the page.”
Grief, like any other emotion, is a natural part of the human experience. Grief is simply the…