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An Olympic Quest Powered by Plants with Sarah Bofinger: PYP 271

Sarah “Mergoddess” Bofinger swam before she walked – literally. Born with hip dysplasia (I thought the same thing: “Isn't that something Golden Retrievers get?”), she required six surgeries before she celebrated her fourth birthday.

Sarah was put in the water for therapy and rehabilitation, and took to it like a, well, mergoddess to water. Swimming, as well as dancing and gymnastics, helped take her mind of the discomfort and pain of the constant hip problems.

A seventh surgery at age 15, which cut the bone and added pins, proved especially painful. And the rehabilitation took much longer than before, taking Sarah out of her element and community. She became addicted to morphine, and following her discharge from the hospital, tylenol with codeine.

As she recovered physically and sank ever deeper into substance abuse, Sarah watched her Olympic dreams drifting away. After all, good female swimmers typically make the Olympics as teenagers. She felt sorry for herself, gave up, and used pills as the way out.

(Coincidentally, here's a 16-minute video echoing Sarah's that I found in The New York Times this week: The Pull. The protagonist got addicted to pain meds in his teens, and has been struggling with addiction ever since. It's heart-wrenching, and also includes profanity.)

Her rock bottom, and slow and unlikely redemption, is one of the most inspiring stories I've ever been privileged to share on this podcast. Spoiler alert for you plant-fans: Sarah went vegan 120 days before we spoke 🙂

We discussed:

  • “I literally swam before I walked” – water as therapy for congenital hip dysplasia
  • six surgeries prior to age three and a half
  • getting addicted to pain killers at age 15
  • relying on alcohol and pills to get through
  • bringing community into the quest
  • hitting rock bottom in 2015: relationship ended, no money, nowhere to go
  • forgiveness as a lever of growth
  • “we all have a superhero lying inside of us waiting to be unleashed”
  • the gift of 10 minutes of meditation a day
  • “there was no way I could ever be a vegan”
  • using Bikram yoga as a competitive advantage
  • “fear and excitement are the same feeling”
  • field report from 120 days vegan: diverting energy from digestion into training
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Links

Lisa Feldman Barrett on the Bregman Leadership Podcast

Sarah Bofinger on social media: @mergoddess11 on Instagram and Facebook, @mergoddess1 on Twitter

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – RuthAnn Funderburk – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Martha Bergner – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Bonnie Lynch of Plant Happy Oregon – Sabine Kurtzhals – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Justine Divett – Joshua Sommermeyer – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Valarie Hummel – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Ian Cramer – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – for your generous support of the podcast.

Disclosure

This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive compensation from your actions on such links. It don't cost you a dime, tho.

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