“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

This may be one of my most favorite and memorable quotes from Disney Pixar’s Finding Nemo. The character Dori (photo below) has some very unique qualities, which will be the topic for today’s post.

Dori, from Finding Nemo

Dori, being a self-proclaimed “natural blue” has aspects of her character that are quite interesting. Here’s a short list:

1. She suffers Short Term Memory Loss (STML)
2. She is generally optimistic
3. She is caring & understands the value of friendship

Throughout the movie most of us giggle at Dori’s STML. It’s amusing and downright hysterical (no thanks of course to Ellen Degeneres). Though when we carefully look at the character development, this quality helps Dori achieve something we all tend to forget: “Be content with what we have/who we are.” In my training thru Yoga there is a principle called santosha (in sanskrit) and is one of the niyamas (roughly translated as observances). Santosha can have a ton of meanings some of them being:

  • Contentment
  • Not requiring more than you need – rid yourself of the surplus
  • Elimination of the desire to want


Why is this important? For me, it’s important during our journey to appreciate contentment. There will be days we’re not happy – I have them (sometimes more than I would like to admit). What is important is to understand that it’s a journey. Dori may not realize it, but when we live in the moment, with what we have that day, we truly can enjoy, let go and just be. Try it out. Appreciate yourself, your body, your mind where you are right now. Without judgement of self.

Dori also has an uncanny display of optimism. We see it across the entire movie. Above all, it allows her to maintain a positive outlook on her situation (being a natural blue and suffering STML). She’s always swimming forward – moving on. And we need to as well. When we take a less than optimistic approach it can have an effect on how we see ourselves. Admittedly this is hard for me – it includes not only outlook on life, but also self-deprication (I am fat, I feel fat, I feel ugly)…I’ve said these things to myself. I’ve felt these things. And when I/we do, it’s important we acknowledge the thought, and the look to something positive. I am not saying to run from the emotion, but let the emotion exist (just be) and then move forward.

Dori’s optimism also is displayed in how other’s look to her or treat her. She never allows herself the opportunity to let other’s define who she is. She is always true to herself – in every situation (need I say, “Es-cape?”). As should we all never allow someone’s opinion of who we are define us.

Lastly, Dori cares and understands the value of friendship. I mean come on – she followed Marlin all the way to Australia looking for his son Fabio…I mean, Nemo. This element of her character is exactly what each of us needs in ourselves, but also in surrounding ourselves with people who believe the same thing. From our partners, to our friends to the people we work out with there’s a sense of camaraderie we need as people. For me, one of my biggest assets is my partner Brian. He has always been supportive of me – no matter what. From resigning at NutriSystem and the two failed start-ups, he’s been there with unconditional support. And, at my lowest point when I wanted to give up on teaching and find something else…he said to me, “Keep going. You’ve not given it enough time yet. I believe in you!” I’ll never forget those words.

When it comes to the people in our lives they can have such a huge impact. Who we surround ourselves with is a direct reflection of what we think of ourselves. Sound crazy? Well, take a hard look. I know I do – and it’s not always the easiest of things to do. But when we can move the pieces of our life around to surround ourselves with love, positive energy and light, we can begin to truly move forward and take control of ourselves.

So it’s this that Dori teaches us. For at the end of her journey, she has found a family of her own. People around her who love her for who she is: Marlin, Nemo, Little Crush, the Shark-pack and others. She set out on a journey for herself and found a family of her own. Some of us will do this – find friends and family in the fitness classes we take, or the folks we see walking outside. It’s what we make of it that matters, and this is what Dori teaches us best. So remember:

For now, stay healthy.



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