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LIFE WITH CYNTHIA: The meaning of pride

Columnist reflects on the meaning of pride and inspiration after completing a half-marathon in 2:42 hours
Cynthia Breadner race photo

I turned on the water full blast, all the way hot, and let the shower stall warm up. It is a warm day; however, I feel the need for a hot shower. I pull back on the handle and add a little cool to the hot steamy water, so I can get in. As I step in, I thank my feet and reward them with a warm covering of water. I move under the shower nozzle feeling the warm water on my face. As I close my eyes and move my hands over my cheeks, nose and rub my eyes, I can feel the grit and the sand. I move my head so the water can penetrate my hair, which is matted with sweat and lake water; tangled and stuck by the wearing of my hat. My faithful hat that I wear each time I race and run. The water pours over my body, and I breathe a sigh of happiness after a task well done. 

Today, I completed a half-marathon in 2:42 hours. I am somewhat surprised. I hoped to come in under three hours however am happy I came in 20 minutes under three hours. Well done and well executed. The shower is the reward.

Months and years of weekly planning and activity all pulled into 2:42 hours. Pride in myself is only felt by me and in my own heart. No one, nothing can feel this pride because no one and nothing else has done the work. Many try to take credit, “I am so proud of you!” When in truth, they have no stake in my accomplishments, and some barely notice my activities to be proud of. What is pride? What does it mean to be proud of something?

Proud is defined as feeling deep pleasure or satisfaction as a result of one’s own achievements, qualities or possessions or those of someone with whom one is closely associated. To be proud of self and others shows greatly that they are cared about and loved. It is often partnered with inspiration. “You inspire me!” is something I hear often. I hope I do! What does it mean to “inspire”? 

Inspiration comes from the root “in spirit.” To have something come from deep within. This said, when one is inspired, it is a connection with the divine source to fulfill a soulful purpose and meaning in one’s human plan. If I can inspire others to dig into their own deepest dreams and hopes, then I can feel the joy. 

While I completed the half-marathon, the other half of the DanCyn team had departed 15 minutes earlier to complete a full marathon. Forty-two kilometres along the lake, looking at the ‘aqua’ as two of my grandsons have dubbed it. It was a beautiful day for the journey, and we both learned about ourselves during the day. As she completed her distance in 5:37 hours, she learned she could do whatever she set her mind to. Both my children have that quality within; I never squashed or deterred them in their childhood unless they were on the brink of doing it and it was dangerous. Then I would step in. 

Accomplishing our tasks, goals and journeying along the water brings us hope and fulfillment. As I travelled along the route and looked at the boats, the water and the sky, I was grateful. I knew I could stop anytime I chose. I only needed to sit down, and a golf cart would pick me up and take me back to the start line. Medics were present to assist should a person push too hard or need attention. There were “pace bunnies”; people who kept a certain pace, and should you run with them, you would finish at a determined time. There were cyclists riding up and down the route, checking for people who needed any help. There were water stations, with loving volunteers calling out whether they had straight water or electrolyte water. There were others handing out encouragement and direction. Support was abundant. 

Five km– check, check, check
10 km – check, check, check
15 km – check, check, check
Tri-a-tri – check, check
Sprint – check, check
Olympic – check 
Half-Marathon – check
Ragnar 24 hr trail run - check
Self-discovery – priceless

I now have enough behind me; they often run together and have become the fabric of who I am and are no longer independent events. I am a soul in search of doing, being and sharing. The divine pressing of my body and my ego and my soul is requesting more to see if I am here to witness all I am asked. 

In Christian storytelling, Jesus is said to go to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. On the surface, we look at this as a tranquil place, a garden where he can have some time to think. In Jesus Christ Superstar of the 1970s, we watch something different. We watch a place of desolation and dustiness. We watch him climb and climb while yelling at God, asking, “what do you want from me?” In looking at the root meeting of the word “Gethsemane” in Greek, it means “oil press.” A place where the olives are crushed and pressed. Jesus was in the press, being crushed by the divine to make a difference. 

While in the throes of racing, there are times when we feel in the “press” and wonder if we can endure. In life, we are constantly in Gethsemane and asked for more than we are willing to give because giving can be painful. Divine connection means enduring and pushing through the pain of change, swimming against the current and pressing ourselves to stand with our souls. 

Challenging myself to push through the spiritual quest brings me joy, and when I choose to be more than average, I can be so proud of myself because I am doing, being and living my own journey and need not be proud of others around me to gain. 

Cynthia Breadner is a teacher, author, grief specialist and bereavement counsellor; a soul care worker who offers specialized care in spiritually integrated therapies. She works as an LTC chaplain assisting with end-of-life care for clients and families. She is the mother part of the #DanCynAdventures duo and practices fitness, health and wellness. She is available remotely by safe and secure video connections; if you have any questions, contact her today!

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Cynthia Breadner

About the Author: Cynthia Breadner

Writer Cynthia Breadner is a grief specialist and bereavement counsellor, a soul care worker providing one-on-one support at
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