Got Your 6

SC-1_030edited copyBy Sharon Chayra

Las Vegas Informer

Everybody needs a champion, including the champions themselves.

Since having a level of accomplishment means you’re a bigger target, champions need their cheering squad because there are plenty detractors. These supporters can carry pom-poms or our hands.

Perception plays a big role in how accomplishments are seen and don’t necessarily have to be the stuff of legend; they’re usually ordinary feats by individuals embracing and expressing their divinely given gifts. They are our cube farm co-workers organizing donations for wildfire disaster, to kids like 14 year-old Rachel Parent, founder of Kids Right to Know. Parent has thrown accelerant on the topic of GMOs and responsible food labeling, and in the process has earned equal parts praise and contempt. Fortunate for her she has a posse of supporters who can provide a respite in which to recover when the vitriol threatens her as much as the genetically modified food she rails against. Like Parent, each of us needs to know someone has our back.

There’s a big difference between debate and denigration and that’s where champions really shine. Some people are under the misconception that by degrading another they can somehow siphon off that person’s appeal to fill up their own empty tank. Thing is, another person’s fuel is unique and won’t catalyze energy the same way in another.

These are the same folks that render opinions about others within moments of meeting them, confident in the veracity of their assessment since, after all, they counsel people as a clergy or therapist. These are also the individuals that chronically “joke” about your profile resembling an aerial view of Sicily. Passive aggression is the sword polished by the envious and wielded by the weak. Lucky are those of us who see such mean spiritedness and put these peeps in their place.

People who feel insignificant chew the flesh of pleasure from someone else as if there is a finite mine of talent, beauty or any other characteristic that sets each and every one of us apart. I have plenty of friends and associates whom I stand in awe of for their command in front of the camera, sheepskin plastered walls, cancelled passport collections, or physiques that make Selma Hayak and Channing Tatum look like schlubs. These people serve as my inspiration, and from how they treat me, they have been some of my biggest advocates. We see each other’s imperfect perfection as a complement and not competition—we celebrate our differences and I know I can rely upon them and they on me. Thank goodness there are people who compensate for what we don’t possess and vice versa.

There is one exception to the rule that you can’t obtain anything tangible from another and that is in the case of organ transplantation. For whatever reason, and I’d like to believe it’s the beneficence of this selfless act, there is mounting evidence to suggest that recipients of organ donation awake with a newfound sense of awareness that extends beyond their second chance at life.

American cardiologist Dr. Paul Pearsell interviewed a number of organ recipients and the donor’s families. What he found was astonishing and suggests that our bodies are not merely machines with exchangeable parts but a sum of tissues imbued with memories and abilities. It may be we’re not only receiving a liver, but a gift of music as is but one story in the insightful book The Heart’s Code by Dr. Pearsell.

The most vulnerable of society demand champions. We’re hardwired to protect and nurture children and animals. Even the animal kingdom demonstrates this innate directive. It makes sense since our mortality is assured and our heritage desired.

There are champions all over. They spend free time defending the defenseless, feeding the hungry, teaching the illiterate and expressing countless extensions of strength and caring. Very often they don uniforms and badges, crowns and high heels, biohazard suits and goggles. They make service to another important, sometimes a priority as evidenced by the doctor who forgoes her daughter’s soccer game to sit with a stranger during his time of need.

There is no age limit to standing up for others. Think of the school yard bully. Bullying isn’t a new problem but attention is finally being given to its detrimental effects including suicide. Despite happening in plain view of others, youngsters—even adults—might be reticent to intercede. Some people, however, collect their greater sense of justice with courage and transform from bystander to upstander, standing in solidarity with a vulnerable individual.

One of the most poignant examples of self-sacrifice are the brave souls like Scott Beamer on Flight 93 on that fateful September 11. These heroes valiantly fought and subsequently thwarted terrorists by crashing their plane into an empty field before it could hit populated areas.

I know a handful of champions. They include my friend, the injury prevention nurse, who travels with dozens of dollar bills, giving them to teens to get them to buckle their seatbelt therefore reducing teen deaths from being unrestrained in car crashes. They are my friend who survived breast cancer and now travels around the country to literally hold the hands of strangers fighting the same disease. She stands in solidarity to help them slay the demon of the disease and the even more powerful bureaucracy by serving as their advocate. And then there are those who frequently offer more subtle forms of championing. Little gestures like when my friend Lance enthusiastically affirmed a mea culpa from a man who hastily admonished me and then realized the folly of his first impression. I doubt my friend even realizes what his verbal acknowledgment meant to me, but it meant a lot.

There is a military combat phrase: I’ve got your 6. When someone has your 6, it means they have your back. You can count of them. In other words, they will be your champion when danger approaches and will fight beside you.

While most of us don’t operate on a battlefield, it doesn’t mean there aren’t attacks to our safety, our happiness, our psyche or our purpose. How wonderful there are people who champion for us because they are affirming we matter. We all do.

Being an advocate belongs to each of us. It means not seeing ourselves as superior to others, it impels us to offer sincere words of kindness, as well as sharing a laugh at our own expense to punctuate the humanity of universal human foibles. In demonstrating such things, we not only realize our greater sense of purpose, but quite possibly realize who has long had our 6.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

Sharon Chayra

Sharon Chayra is an award-winning writer and president of a medical marketing firm based in Las Vegas. A traveler of life, Chayra integrates her science background with spirituality resulting in common sense observations to others on their life’s journey. Given her heritage of Apache and Scottish, she is a born storyteller and documents experiences about personal growth, culture, laughter and health into the written and visual word.

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