In training, with purpose and passion

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Purpose is the reason you journey, passion is the fire that lights your way.
Author unknown

I went for a walk yesterday.  No big deal, yet a few things surprised me about this.  You see, it was a pretty long walk. I’d decided to head off for a 23 k stroll and, as Mother Nature would have it, it was blowing a gale with winter westerly winds reaching 41 kilometres throughout the day (pretty wild and woolly for an urban area). The wind chill made the already low temperatures of about 7-10 feel at least a couple of degrees cooler, and that’s pretty low for this normally tropical neck of the woods.

I concede,  these temps  and wind speeds  are pretty moderate, almost nothing in comparison to other places in the world. When I consider my husband sat atop Mt Cook in 169 km winds, I’m almost embarrassed.  Anyway, why am I proud of myself in light of this information? Well, to walk twenty-three kilometres  in a day is a serious undertaking for me and I usually balk at roaming about in weather, preferring instead to rug up, sip tea and read in a quiet, sheltered nook inside.  I can usually find, without much trouble, any small excuse to delay such an undertaking.

But yesterday was different. I was excited about heading off on this walk. I was focused on it and  determined. I’d packed, I had decided what to wear to minimise bulk and excess (should it warm up) yet stay warm. I had  transportable food for lunch, water for hydration. I was set. Not even the remote possibility of a coffee and a chat with my son, who was visiting, stopped me from stepping out the door and heading off into the wild blue morning.

So what was different about yesterday?  (I questioned this myself as I was on my home stretch.)

I had purpose and I had passion.  Two key ingredients to making anything possible.

Since returning from a life changing trip to Nepal I’ve had a hunger. A gnawing need to do something of value and I’ve had an itch to challenge myself physically, in ways I’ve not yet explored ( a crazy thing for someone who hasn’t been a sporting type and nearing, okay, past but just past, middle age). I am temporarily satisfying these burning desires by supporting research for Mitochondrial Disease by joining The Bloody Long Walk.  It’s a  35 kilometre one day walk across my fair city. I’m walking on my own, though I won’t be alone by any means and while I haven’t found anyone willing to join me for the outing I have had many wonderful people support my quest with donations and playful promises to cheer me on from their armchairs while sipping tea. I am heartily warmed by their faith in me, their goodwill and their kindness in donating to this great cause.

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So, I stepped outside, into a blustery day, to continue my training for this event. During a few days at the beach last week I extended my usual five kilometre walk to a few 12 and 14 k efforts before breakfast. It’s not to hard when you get to see the sun come up over the ocean. Look, I know it’s only a walk, it’s not like I’m running a marathon or doing a triathlon but 35 kilometres in a day takes some planning. With a 5 am shuttle bus ride to the starting line and a 7 o’clock kick off I wanted to get a sense of how long it might take me. Yesterday was a good gauge. I had some questions answered about equipment, supplies etc, which was handy. But most of all I really enjoyed myself. I packed my iPod, something I rarely use, thinking I might get bored. It stayed in the bottom of my pack.  Instead, I simply enjoyed just being. I was in the moment. There were no thoughts of what else had to be done, where else I could be. I was purposefully engaged and I was enlivened by it, as well as by the wind and the crisp air.

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Having this small challenge ahead of me is providing a focus and a purpose that is shaping my thoughts and actions in ways I am quietly amazed by. There is a saying that ‘the purpose of life is a life with purpose’ and boy does it make a difference.

What is driving you forward at the moment?

If you are interested in finding out more about Mitochondrial Disease and how you too can help, click here.

Shannyn

 

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Books, Bunnings and blasphemy

Things have been really great lately. I’ve developed some new interests and I now spend my time in different, very productive ways.  Despite my excitement around these new ventures I stopped, momentarily, just this week and questioned my priorities.

You see, I love books and bookshops.  Novels, big coffee table picture books, children’s books, books of poetry, books on yoga and cooking. History books, books on travel, even very old, musty smelling books. I love them all.

I love bookshops too. Did I mention that? I used to hunt out new bookshops and travel the city to visit an unexplored bookstore.  Small independents, book exchanges, online sellers and even the big commercial bookstores. I love them all.

So, you’ve probably gathered I have a love of reading. But I also love the touch and feel of books. The quality of the paper, the thickness and the artwork on the cover all appeal to me. I’ll buy a book simply because it feels good. I absolutely adore the feel of a book with rough cut pages (deckled edges). Embossed and gold leaf covers also grab me.

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So great is my love of books I’m rarely without one close at hand. I was travelling in France several years ago and I’d finished both of the books I’d packed. I went three weeks without a book to read and couldn’t find an English book anywhere. I couldn’t read the magazines or newspapers I saw on the newstands and in supermarkets as they were in French. I was starving for a book to read. There was a physical ache in my gut.  My fingers were itchy. I was tormented.  Then, just when I thought I would implode from the dire craving I had to read, I happened across a secondhand shop with a small cardboard box of English novels out front. I spent a good half hour pouring over each and every book; reading the front and back covers, scanning the inside; carefully selecting my treasure. I was sated, topped up and refuelled in those few moments with that box of books. I’d found heaven, hugging a book to my chest in pure delight.

Recently, I’ve begun to have similar feeling towards my garden. For the first time I have a garden and I’m experimenting with the planting and germination of herbs, vegetables and some pretty flowers. The joy that comes from seeing something you plant grow and then yield fruit and offer sustenance at your table or delight the senses is truly something. I long to be home to potter barefooted in my garden. It rejuvenates me and calms me.  Whether I am planting, watering, weeding or digging garden beds I am at home and content in my garden.

When one has a love affair with gardening one also needs to buy supplies: soil, compost bins, bird netting, seedlings, hoses, stakes etc. This new passion of mine has led me to haunt a new type of store. The hardware store!

imageYou’ll not find me in a bookshop as often as you will my local Bunnings hardware.  I have found myself standing outside waiting for the doors to open on a Saturday morning. I am fascinated by the range of products on offer. I know my way around the aisles better than my husband, so familiar am I with the place.

And this is where I began to question myself and to (lightheartedly) evaluate my priorities.  Maybe you can help me?

Is it blasphemous to love Bunnings more than books?

Here’s to enjoying new opportunities and indulging your passion, whatever it might be.

Shannyn