A Meal with A Survivor.

Halmstad, Sweden

I was trying to think of something to write about this week, and I like often do I found myself completely blank and staring at the wall…then the ground…then my feet…then at the window. So I was like…”F**k  this shit!, I am going to eat.” So I headed into the lobby of the hotel and found my partner in crime Mary-pier Gaudet. Mary and I have been on the road for almost a year together. The two of us have been all over the world it seems, and every time that we go somewhere new, we always try to have one dinner together to celebrate life before she goes home to Montreal and I either continue or back to the States. This trip was no different, Well that is until tonight when I sat across from her and realized that I was in the presence of something special… All 5’1” of her sat across from me like a giant, her personality, and energy encompassing the table and the area around us.

Tonight, Mary wanted to talk about the importance of living, and I wanted to listen, taking in her words making mental notes of what I was hearing. She was talking about things that people should be paying to hear. She was making notes of the world from the perspective of someone that sees it with the eyes of a tested spirit.

For those that don’t know my friend she is a thunderstorm of energy and drive, having been born with Cystic Fibrosis, and then developing diabetes as a child, the world around Her has been different than that of the world for most of us. She has burst through expected setbacks and obstacles to take on the world of Fitness and Figure, make a living as a Hollywood stunt women and currently work as an international coach for  Poliquin Performance.  

I sat and listened as Mary began to talk about the world around us and the importance of being in it…Asking questions and giving me answers.  Mary spoke of the importance of living with open eyes and free energy, a characteristic I have noted since the moment that we met. She explained to me that when we are here on the earth, we are meant to explore the boundaries of our cities, the borders of our country and the limits of ourselves. She stops making the symbol of the earth with her hand and pointing to it with her finger, and in her accent French Canadian accent, she says. “You see, it does not make any sense that we are just one person standing here when there is this whole planet for us to see. Why would we only want to see this one part of the earth and only experience this one area of people before leaving again?” She strengthens her point by pointing back into the sky. “Don’t you feel it?”  She asks with a rise in her voice “Don’t you feel the pull of the world around you? What is the use of being here if you don’t want experience this place? ” She said making a large field goal with her hands inviting the very same world into her. “I am not here to work every day and go home to be unhappy about the work that I did and bitch about the life that I have. I want to live life, to experience great things.”

I sit looking at her as she speaks with ten lifetimes of experience, and I have become the student as she becomes the teacher. “Look around us. We sit eating dinner on a cobblestone street in Sweden; we meet amazing people everywhere. We get to motivate and teach people about something they are passionate about, when I was young I didn’t know what I would get to see. Now I see things and individuals all over the world.”  She shifts in her chair; I remember that she is just a person again as the fresh air makes her zip up her jacket. “ You have to open yourself up, and let your abilities out into the world, there is nothing greater than the feeling of doing something that you love, you have to be focused, but its easy when you are focused on your passions…You are looking through a straw at your future, but a very big one!”  I laugh as our meal arrives. I think how amazing inspiration feels when presented by someone who you can call a friend. I think for a moment, and then I ask. “ What do you think people should do?”

Curious to get her take on this topic since everyone is working to become a lifestyle expert these days, but she has become one through necessity. “I think people should live more! I think that the only thing that matters at the end of the day is what you see and whom you meet, we are not here to only make money and buy things and waste life! When you look at something, you need to take the time to see it…See it, when you talk to someone take the time to hear what they are saying before you decide what they mean. Do you think that we are here to have the same conversations about the same shit that makes us unhappy and then leave again?” I look at her wide-eyed…”Uhm no?”I say as she smiles.

“Exactly, no! If you come to this earth to waste this life…you will probably be doing it over! Look this next year maybe we go to Australia or somewhere else, but either way, we will have been around the world, that is it! That is what I call living.”  She sits back smiling into the sky, before taking a moment to watch the Swedish people entering the outdoor restaurant area, all of them dressed well for a night out on a chilly spring evening in the city Halmstad. She moves towards me across the table as if she is about to part the secrets to the universe to me. “ Imagine our parents; we have got to see things that they can only imagine. If we don’t take the time to appreciate this and the opportunities we have we will be letting them down too.” Her point is made with a change in her eyes to make sure that I am 100% present before she continues. “I would never have guessed that I would be here, but I always believed that I would do great things. You have to set your mind to something and then allow that thought to fill you through to your chest.” She looks straight into my eyes as she makes her point. “You full with ability, you have to let go of society and what society believes and let your talent fill the world.”

At this point I can’t break her eye contact, she is confident in what she is saying with such conviction that I can’t help but believe it. I finally sit back in my chair taking in all the things that she has said, her conviction reconfirming what I have been thinking about for some time. Her passion for life spilling over and energizing me and those all around her.  She reminds me that even though the path is not straight and at times it seems that we may have to go back to get ahead if we maintain sight of the reason that we get up in the morning. We will often find the greatest moments in life are not found at the destination, but along the trails we walk and the guides we meet that, help us get there.