Thursday, May 2, 2019

Find A Way - Book Review

Read an Excerpt of Find A Way by Diana Nyad
Dreams are the great drivers in life.  They inspire, motivate, and take us to greater heights.  For some, though, lost dreams can be the source of their greatest regrets.  I have lost count of the number of times I have had others tell me they wish they had pursued a dream, or that now they are too old to make their most fervent dream come true.

Diana Nyad, in Find A Way, lives out for us her singular pursuit of the dream that gave her life true purpose and meaning—swimming the stretch of ocean that was deemed unswimmable.  She wasn't supposed to make it from Cuba to the Florida coastline.  Nobody ever had.

Because Nyad had failed to complete the swim in her twenties, when she was a record holding world-class distance swimmer, it seemed crazy that Nyad thought she could accomplish this in her sixties.  After all, Nyad had done no swimming for thirty years.  This would ultimately become a test of will, of mental strength, and of finding her peak long after most athletes are past their prime.  There would be the agony of many defeats before there was the thrill of victory at age 64.
"I failed and faltered many times, but I can look back without regret because I was never burdened with the paralysis of fear and inaction."
In the case of this epic quest, it wasn't just a question of physical prowess.  Nobody had ever conquered what was, and is, considered the Mount Everest of swimming due to factors outside of the control of the swimmer: the presence of deadly ocean predators (sharks and incredibly toxic jellyfish), violent storms, unforgiving currents and winds, and the debilitating effects of being submerged in salt water for a prolonged period of time (three days and nights).

The rigors of pulling off an expedition of this magnitude make for fascinating reading.  Nyad had to find and enlist the support of the foremost world experts in dealing with the extreme complexities of Gulf Stream navigation, fending off sharks (she swam without a shark cage), surviving the punishing and immensely painful stings of the deadly Box jellyfish, sustaining the body and mind while swimming for days without rest, and negotiating the divide between two countries that had long been estranged.  Without the bottomless commitment and devotion of lifelong friends, Nyad would literally have been dead in the water.

Find A Way is the book I would choose to give to everyone who has ever told me their dream has escaped them.  After reading it, my excuses for not chasing after my current dreams sound flimsy and embarrassing.  As a woman who wishes to live with far fewer regrets, I found in Nyad the kind of inspiration needed to launch myself toward my other shore.
"Whatever your other shore is, whatever you must do, whatever inspires you, you will find a way to get there."
To all of the dreamers out there, I say read this and jump back into the water.  Your distant shore beckons. 


















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12 comments:

  1. Diana Nyad’s successful swim from Cuba to Florida at age 64 is just as remarkable an achievement today as it was when she did it. It sounds as though she did a wonderful job telling the story of that adventure and everything that led up to it. I’m looking forward to reading it, thanks to your excellent review!

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    1. It will stand as one of the most remarkable feats ever. There had to be a "perfect storm" of human intent and an alignment of the planets, stars, and the extraordinary Xtreme Dream Team members who went to all lengths to pull this off. Let me know what you think after you read Find A Way. Enjoy!

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  2. Okay now I feel better. Just reading your review has inspired me to read the whole book. I took up swimming again and I'm soon to be 65. But I do it in the safety of my building's pool. No sharks and stinging jellyfish. Plus I limit myself to 100 laps. It is amazing though, when you accomplish what you set out to do. The world again becomes your oyster and there are lots of good things happening along the way.

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    1. I admire you for getting back into your swimming. That is one of my short-term goals. I'm not a good swimmer. I struggle just to do a few laps, but I know it will be empowering to make it for however many laps are in me at the moment. You are so right about all of the good things that happen along the way when we get going. Here's to getting back into the water!

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  3. This sounds like a wonderful story of determination, success and endurance. No doubt, it would truly be encouraging to anyone with unfulfilled dreams. For that matter, it would be an inspiration for anyone who dares to dream a new dream.

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    1. I like that... dream a new dream... something we all need every day of our lives.

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  4. Thanks for reminding us that life is not over at 40! I love hearing inspirational tales of people who accomplish their goals in their 60's and older.

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    1. That was what I loved about this book, also. One of Diana Nyad's most important themes was that we are never too old to achieve our dreams. Often, it takes some life "seasoning" to get us ready for the truly magnificent things awaiting us later in life.

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  5. If you have a real passion, age should never be a deterrent. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. What an amazing story, and an inspiration to all of us to go ahead and pursue our dreams.

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    1. I am so with you, Elf. We cannot let age define us or constrain us. The will and the mind are so powerful. Passion is such a life force when it is unleashed.

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  6. What a wonderful review (and that last sentence.... inspiring all on it's own). I've been in a slump and starting to feel a bit pessimistic that I'll reach my goals. This book may be what I need to feel inspired.

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    1. Thank you. I read inspirational books to help stay the course and keep the doubts at bay. It is my hope that you will also find the encouragement needed to boost your dream energy. I just read another book that has your name written all over it (Deep Creek by Pam Houston). I think you and I have a dream overlap with Houston. May your slump lose its steam and may you get your groove back really soon.

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