An update on Board Member Maru Gonzalez’s preparation for the NYC Marathon on November 4th:
About a month ago, I started experiencing pain and discomfort on the medial side of my knee during runs. After quickly realizing that simply running through the pain wasn’t an option, I took various recovery measures from icing and rest to strength training and getting fitted for new running shoes- all to no avail. Short on time and desperate for answers, I made an appointment with my physician. Following some preliminary questions, he sent me to the radiology lab for an X-ray and we reviewed the results together. As he scanned the images, his facial expression indicated something was wrong.
“You have exactly what I was hoping you wouldn’t,” he said. “You have OCD.”
OCD, also known as Osteochondritis dissecans of the knee, is a rare degenerative joint disorder in which pieces of the bone break off from the knee joint surface, causing pain and swelling. Most cases of OCD require either surgery or an elimination of higher-impact activities, including running.
As I listened to the prognosis and various treatment options, my mind couldn’t shake the cruel irony of my diagnosis: “You have OCD.” It wasn’t the first time I had heard those words. Indeed, OCD is an acronym I know all too well, as I have battled the demons of its more familiar counterpart, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, for many years. The wounds from that battle still run deep and my scars have yet to fully heal.
After years of therapy and treatment, OCD is coming back to rear its ugly head once more. And this new manifestation is putting in limbo my future as a runner, something I have come to hold so dear. For me, running is more than just exercise or sport. In many ways, running has become my saving grace- my way to re-center, de-stress and disconnect from the constraints of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I view running as both a sacred and liberatory practice, a source of healing and self-reflection.
Yet in a cruel twist of fate, OCD of the knee is threatening my ability to engage in an action—running—that has played such an integral role in in treating my OCD of the mind.
But every misfortune is a lesson; every obstacle, an opportunity for self-growth. Indeed, trying times turn our energy inward. They slow us down, forcing us to be more intentional, to determine the best route and sometimes even reevaluate our path. With humility and sadness, I open my mind and heart to the sort of wisdom that comes only from knowing such hardship.
It is with new eyes and unwavering determination that I will run the NYC marathon. And whether I cross the finish line or stop after the first mile, I will find comfort in knowing that I tried.
OCD—in either of its manifestations—might hinder my ability, but it will not hold me back from trying…because the courage to try, despite the risk of failure or embarrassment, is a lesson in itself.
The Kindness Revolution Has Begun
Maru is “donating” an act of kindness for everyone who donates to her run in the NYC marathon November 4th. She anticipates being able to fulfill many of her commitments to the people who have donated $405 so far to Maru’s journey. We’ll see what the next few weeks hold for Maru’s running, but no doubt storm Sandy will provide many opportunities to pay it forward.
Soulforce has teamed up with renowned performer Miřenka Čechová to
promote her play “S/he is Nancy Joe” in Washington DC!
Award winning performer Miřenka Čechová brings her unique blend of movement style to the American premiere of her newest work, “S/he is Nancy Joe” in a series of preview performances at the Meade Theatre Lab at Flaspoint (916 G Street, NW in Washington, DC) November 8-11, 2012.
“S/he is Nancy Joe” is a movement and visual performance piece that combines hip-hop, pop, physical mime, contemporary dance and classical ballet with interactive comic book visuals, lighting, sound and spoken narrative to create an art form that is truly contemporary. “S/he is Nancy Joe” tells the story of questioning and gender identity in a way that is thought provoking, insightful and dynamic.
Purchase your tickets for the Soulforce benefit performance on November 11th at 2pm today!
Soulforce will be sponsoring a talk back session directly following the play. If you are in the DC area please join us for what is sure to be a terrific performance and pass this information along to all of your friends!
Soulforce has visited Wheaton College on the Equality Ride in both 2006 and 2012. Wheaton is a preeminent school among Christian higher education and is also a leading voice in the “Ex-Gay” Movement. The following is a report on the experiences of Wheaton College’s unrecognized LGBT alumni group, OneWheaton, and their self-organized Homecoming this fall.
from Maru Gonzalez, Board Member of Soulforce, Inc.:
I have always been inspired by random acts of kindness, those powerful yet unassuming “just because” gestures that generate smiles and brighten days, revealing the humanity between two strangers. Yet often more magical than the acts themselves are their compounding and potentially wide-reaching impact. Indeed, kindness begets kindness; it plants a seed of gratitude from which compassion and empathy sprout.
This notion–at once simple and profound–rests at the core of Soulforce’s mission and vision for a kinder, more just world.
To celebrate Soulforce, I pledge to intentionally “pay forward” each donation made to my marathon fundraiser between now and race day. Whether it’s putting money in an expired meter, inviting someone to share my umbrella on a rainy day or letting another customer cut in front of me in the grocery line, I will honor your kindness the best way I know how: by sharing it with the rest of the world.
So join me in starting a kindness revolution!
I’ll keep you updated on my “random acts” and let you know who inspired each one. And while donating is always an added bonus, anyone can join the revolution! Feel free to give me ideas or tell me about what you’ve done to spread the love. Once the marathon is over, I will turn our accumulated acts into a mosaic of words, pictures and images to share with all of you.
Let’s get started. Together, I know we can create something really beautiful.
A phenomenal leadership and personal growth experience inclusive of gender identity/expression and sexual orientation.
• Key leadership concepts to becoming a stronger LGBT & Ally leader.
Effective strategies and skill training for grassroots coalition building.
Access to premiere faculty and national leaders in social justice, human rights and civil rights advocacy.
• Successful campus organizing practices and the chance to explore challenges confronting your campus.
• Helpful resources and innovative tools from national organizations.
A personal action plan for your campus to become more LGBT-friendly.
• Opportunity to connect and work with peer student leaders from across the country.
• An inclusive approach for celebrating diversity and motivating others.
An open, safe environment to express yourself.
• Fun, entertainment and lasting relationships.
In Ukraine, several homophobic members of Parliament are trying to make it illegal for anyone to say or do anything deemed “too gay.” They just advanced a ‘gay gag rule’ that is fueling the anti-gay crackdown in Ukraine – and portrays gay and lesbian people in Ukraine as criminals.
Soulforce is pleased to announce the launch of their interactive Delegate web presence!
Delegates act as collaborative forces in their own communities. They connect people with important resources, provide training to individuals and organizations, speak at conferences and rallies, support positive social justice movements, and aid in developing programs and responses that end the political and spiritual oppression of LGBTQ individuals.
Through the new web application you can find which delegates are closest to you, and request Soulforce information or participation in events! You can also view the profiles of each of our Delegates and donate to help in the amazing work they are doing.
We encourage productive dialogue which we believe to be a path to healing & reconciliation. We also intend to cultivate a safe space for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, non-Americans, and all other groups & individuals experiencing oppression.