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HERE'S What Tom Says About THAT

I remember the moment well. I was 14-years old. The 1968 Olympics in Mexico City were astounding. I was a fledgling long- and high-jumper in junior high school. When Bob Beamon broke the long jump world record – not by inches, but by almost two FEET – it became one of the most amazing moments in sports history; and certainly inspired this skinny, little, long jump aspirant.

1968But that’s not the “I remember the moment well” I refer to in the paragraph above. The iconic moment that lives forever from the 1968 games is the medal awards ceremony for the men’s 200-meter race. Tommie Smith won gold. John Carlos, bronze. They stood on the podium with heads bowed and black-gloved hands raised high in an act of defiance to highlight, and protest against, racist injustice in the United States.

The white guy who won the silver medal? Who stands in front of them? That’s Peter Norman. He’s the Australian sprinter who won silver. What I never knew until I learned about it on Facebook, is on the left breast of his jacket he wore a small badge that read: “Olympic Project for Human Rights” – an organization set up a year earlierĀ  to oppose to racism in sports.

Smith and Carlos were banned from the Olympics for life. But they became instant heroes in the black community for sacrificing personal glory for the greater good. History has also held them up as civil rights icons.

What isn’t well known in the United States is that Peter Norman became a pariah in Australia. Though his time in 1968 would have earned Gold in Munich in 1972, he was ostracized and never ran in the Olympics again. When Sydney hosted the Olympics in 2000, Norman – the greatest Olympic sprinter in Australian history – wasn’t invited to participate in any capacity.

When he died of a heart attack in 2006, guess who eulogized him and helped carry his coffin? John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

He paid the price. This was Peter Norman’s stand for human rights, not Peter Norman helping Tommie Smith and John Carlos out,” said Smith. “He just happened to be a white guy, an Australian white guy, between two black guys in the victory stand believing in the same thing.”

Here’s to Peter Norman. Thank you for standing tall for justice and freedom.

(Read more about this inspiring story here)

My oldest granddaughter (age 8) and I went to see Inside Out, the new Disney/Pixar flick, during its opening weekend. In connection with my writing, my study of Trauma Healing and Infinite Possibilities, and my work with Coming to the Table, this is one powerful movie. I will absolutely be utilizing clips from Inside Out in future workshops and presentations I offer.Pixar Post - Inside Out characters closeup

Riley is uprooted from her home in Minnesota (Note: I originally called it the Midwest in this post, but when my granddaughter read the draft, she said, “that makes no sense, Papa, she was from Minnesota” so Minnesota it is) when her father starts a new job in California. The transition at home and at school does not go well. We get to watch that transition from inside Riley’s mind… and those of her mother and father… as we watch the key emotions inside their brains advise and direct their choices in life. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear jockey for position in response to the events in Riley’s and her parents’ lives.

Understanding the impact that trauma has on us physically, spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally, and knowing how deeply rooted responses to trauma are in our bodies and brains, in our instincts and emotions; watching a IMG_7703fun, engaging, animated film explore issues of memory, emotions, and trauma in thoughtful and thought-provoking ways is refreshing and useful. I’ve been talking ever since with my granddaughter when she laughs or scowls — about who is at the control panel in her brain at the moment… joy or anger; disgust, or…

An interesting and critical aspect of the film for me is the moment I realized I had been rooting for Joy to be in control all the time and eventually understanding the important roles Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear play in the richness of our full lives.

The more I study trauma, how our brains work, racism, and Infinite Possibilities, I realize how clearly our thoughts become the things and events of our lives. How we direct our thoughts, particularly in reaction to what happens to us and others, goes a long way in determining who we become and how we create the rest of our lives.

You gotta see this movie (and respond in your own life accordingly).

Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry