Mount Shasta, California, March 13, 2011: Today on the radio I listened to Arnold Schwartzenegger’s gubernatorial speech. The guy is a pretty good inspirational speaker; I liked it.
I’ve read two of his books, and there he says that if you can imagine it, you can do it. In his radio speech, he used similies from his weight-lifting career, and he said, “It’s always surprising to discover one thing: You’re always stronger than you know.”
And this reminded me of a young woman in a weaver’s studio in San Francisco.
My friend Maggie Northcott introduced me to Susan the weaver, and we became close, and I met Susan’s friends. Most of them were weavers, too. In fact, a whole bunch of them shared a large studio space on Potrero Hill, and when I visited there one day, I was introduced to a most unusual young woman.
She was about 26, sturdy built and very pretty, with even features, clear eyes, and very frizzy dark blond hair. Susan told me that the woman had won an Olympic weight-lifting medal.
This was surprising. She didn’t look like what I imagined a weight-lifter must look like. I asked the woman it. She said yes, and named some hugely staggering amount of weight that she’d lifted.
“You’re not kidding me?” I asked.
She looked me in the eye. “No,” she said, “Of course not.”
“Then tell me, please,” I said. “I’d like to know. How in the world can you do that?”
She paused, looking down and perhaps inward. “It’s like this,” she said. “For this lift, you only have to lift it for six seconds, see?”
I nodded. She paused.
“And the way I see it,” she said, “Six seconds really isn’t very long at all. I figure I can do anything for six seconds.”
I suppose that’s how it’s done. Simple, isn’t it?