“Never give up. You’re never too old. It’s a team effort.”
     Diana Nyad – after swimming from Cuba to Florida

“The world will persist in exhibiting before you what you persist in affirming the world is.”
     Emma Curtis Hopkins

The email came in on Wednesday – a challenge from my one of my swim coaches about our usual Saturday morning swim workout. He said he wanted to challenge all of us to go beyond our comfort zones, to stretch, to see what we were really capable of, to have fun and dig deep. The challenge was to pick either doing 50 – 100’s (100 yards or 4 laps of a 25 yard pool) or, if you were really nuts, attempting doing 100 – 100’s. He asked all of us to be there early so that we could all start this madness at the same time – 7:15 am. I read the email and immediately cast it aside, muttering something about I don’t need to prove to myself I can do this, or this event is for the swimmers who are training for the long swims – not me – or a bunch of other excuses and rationales about how I didn’t need to do any of this. But a strange thing happened…on some level I started psyching up for it, and thinking how I would feel if all my fellow teammates did it and I didn’t, and allowing myself to hear all the thoughts that my mind was coming up with.

The more I thought about it I realized how I have beliefs about what I can and cannot do and most of them are unconscious. Things like how much money I can earn, what I should weigh, how much self-care I give myself, what my beliefs are about time, what I am physically capable of, and so on. I thought about the idea that I have these beliefs about myself that I say over and over – like an affirmation. But when they are a negative belief do I really want to affirm that and live my life based on that idea?  I came up with a term for this: Belief-firmation. A belief I have about myself + saying it over and over like an affirmation = belief-firmation.

When I thought about waking up early and doing 50–100 100’s I couldn’t even imagine it. (I groan when we even have to do 10 in a given workout.) But given that my birthday was 6 days from the day I got that email,  I thought what if I could actually do 56  – 100’s in honor of my birthday…so the challenge was on!

Aside from the fact that I woke up every half hour thinking I would sleep through my alarm, and that it was dark out when I left my house, and when I got to the pool it was 35 degrees with frost on the deck – I was ready. I was in a lane with five other women who were my same speed, and with me leading the pack we were off. We would stop between each group of 10 and sip our energy drinks and encourage each other to keep going. When we got to 50 a few stayed on with me to make it to 56 – and then decided it was so close we would just make it an even 60! We gave each other high fives and congratulated each other on a great swim. It truly was an example of being a team effort that we all were able to make it.

As I think about this New Year, I want to continue this practice of going beyond what I think is my limit and challenging some of those old worn used up belief systems that have held me hostage. There’s a line in the song “Prime Time” from my new CD that sums it up for me: “The time is now, the stage is mine, stand back and watch me shine.” That’s what I am declaring for myself this year.  What beliefs would you like to move through this year? 


Comment from Corinna Kaufman
Posted: February 8, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Happy Saturday Karen. You are my new favorite singer. I was asked if I had a spiritual practice 2 days ago and I found myself saying “Yes I do. I sing along to Karen Druckers music for an hour or more everyday. if I don’t my day is off kilter.” :=) I live in the Bay Area and really hope that you will come play for us at Edwards or carols church before we leave for the summer June 1st. it would make my year. I look forward to completing my collection of your CDs and the next few days and I will have each and every one of them.

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