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What's on my mind or what's on my TV?  Both!  It's the US Open and the biggest stage for worldwide tennis there is.  I'm reflecting on my trip to the Open in 2001, just before 9/11 when our world changed so dramatically.  That trip combined so many metaphors for life.  My goal was to see great matches and meet my favorite player Pat Rafter from Australia.  And I did both!  What a crazy 3 days in Flushing Meadows, NY – a combination of exhilaration, heat exhaustion (man, it's humid there) and wonderful tennis!  

Tennis is an amazing game.  I actually didn't start playing it until I was around 45, which is just sick!  As someone who loves to dance and hike, I never thought I'd find another lifetime activity that could bring me so into the present – you know where you forget about time and anything else.  Lo and behold – Tennis!  I hope to play until I'm 80 (somehow???).  It's absolutely so challenging and so much fun: now there's a metaphor for life for sure (#1).  The only way to get better is to practice (Metaphor #2).  You do the best when you stay focused in the now, but use all you've learned up until now (Metaphor #3).  You must stay aware of your body and where it is in space at all times, ready to move at an instant's notice (Metaphor #4).  Are you getting the idea here?  When I do the above listed things, I play pretty well – when I don't, well, I get a clear idea of what needs working on.

My experiences when I play also give me a gauge for how compassionate I'm being with myself.  You know, did I bring the baseball bat along with the racket to beat myself up, or is it all just a great way to practice Being for an hour or so.  Because it's a heck of a lot more fun when I leave my inner critic at home.  And when I occasionally hit a really rippin backhand, I get a kind of satisfaction that feels really delicious.  So while I will never be a Serena, for just a moment I feel like a champion on the court.

Watching the Open this year, 2 women really stand out for me after the first 10 days.  First, 17 year old American Melanie Oudin, who's ripped past 4 big Russian women with her tenacity and desire.  She's so revved up, she's got the word 'Believe' on her shoes – how I could I not be brought to tears by her amazing wins that have her in the Quarterfinals now? Completely inspirational story!  She's got all the fire and aliveness of someone so young, with nothing to lose and the world to gain.  Even more exciting to me though, is Kim Clijsters, a top player from Belgium, who left the game after winning the US Open in '05, to have a baby and start her family.  After 2 years away, she is back and showing up as the poster girl for motherhood AND tennis.  I love this story because so often we settle for Either/Or – Kim, with a run to the Quarters herself, is showing us, we can have both!  Both these women are fantastic role models for the rest of us – I ask you: where are you Believing in you and where can you embrace having all your dreams?  Let me know so I can offer you all the support in the world!


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