“A Jewish woman had two chickens. One got sick so the woman made chicken soup out of the other to help the sick one get well.”
Henny Youngman, comedian
Today we’re going to have soup for lunch, Campbell Soup. Not the kind you buy at the grocery store from a company founded by a fruit merchant named Joseph Campbell. No, today were cooking with the other Joseph Campbell, a professor of literature. His most famous book is The Hero With a Thousand Faces. And if you’ve ever heard someone say, “Follow Your Bliss,” they are echoing the words of Mr. Campbell.
He was a major influence on many Hollywood producers including George Lucas who brought us Star Wars. And I was happy to discover that Professor Campbell was also an accomplished athlete. At one point, he was among the fastest half mile runners in the world. Since I’m a runner too, I’m always on the lookout for inspiration. Since it’s getting close to lunch time, I thought it might be fun to take some quotes from the professor and cook up some Campbell soup for the mind.
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“The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”
I watched the highlights of The Columbus Marathon in 1980. And I started thinking maybe someday I’d like to join those folks and take on the challenge of running 26.2 miles. But it was 1986 before I made my way to the starting line. What got me there was not the thrill of watching other runners but a psychiatrist treating me for depression. He suggested I take up running as part of my recovery.
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“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”
Having been in the Marines, I was use to taking orders, so I did what the doctor said. I started running laps around a track. And six months later on a cold November day, I ran my first marathon, finishing in five hours. Because I said yes to that adventure, I have enjoyed four decades of running races and along the way met some great and inspiring people who are also saying a hearty yes to their challenges.
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“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
A week before that first marathon race I read a newspaper story about Bob Weiland, a medic who had lost both his legs during combat in Vietnam. Mr. Weiland completed The New York Marathon running on his hands – swinging his torso ahead one step at a time – forty-six thousand times. It only took him four days, two hours, forty-eight minutes, and seventeen seconds. When I put down that newspaper, the little voice inside my head started chanting, “I think I can, I think I can.”
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“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”