I feel like I’m actually coming out of my dark hole. I’ve been wanting to, and trying to, but sometimes these things can’t be forced. Sometimes these moods are there to teach us something. Take us far down to the bottom so that we’re able to spring board back up, like when your feet hit the bottom of a pool and propel you to the surface.
There are many factors that have played into this resurfacing. The sunshine is back, and the white frost on the rooftops in the morning has become a site to behold. Watching people scrape ice from their windshields as I bike past them with the breeze biting my cheeks, the rest of me rugged up like a toasty snowman, has given me an appreciation for this fresh new season. I realise it’s only November, but for the last three years I’ve spent this month sweating in the Middle East, so it’s taking some time to adjust.
It sucks to be down, and thankfully for me these bouts don’t last very long. But when I look back, I realise my best motivation for change comes from falling into these desperate states. When you feel that there’s nothing at all to lose. I was in one of these states when my idea of hiking the PCT was born, and I’m sure others would attest to that with their own stories. How else would one choose to make such a drastic change, have the guts to throw caution to the wind and actually follow through?
My friend Martin from Australia visited recently, and in true form of an old friend I’ve known since I was 16, he basically told me to get into action and start doing what I really want to do. I’ve been talking so much about sharing my story of the trail with kids again like I did near Aqua Dulce at Judi’s schools, and in Australia to the year 12 students of my friend Gen. So what has been stopping me? Fear that maybe I don’t have that same spark or flair that I used to? That the audience won’t be as receptive? That I’m a has-been thru-hiker talking about an experience I had two years ago, and that no one will be interested in listening?
You know what, who gives a shit. I got so down on myself for not doing it, plus work has cut my hours so drastically that basically I’ve got nothing to lose. Fear evaporates very quickly when a task becomes a need or matter of survival. Often I struggle to get out of my warm cosy bed before 8am, and then I groan when I need to strip down before my shower; but on trail we were somehow able to wake before sunrise, stand naked in the freezing cold while struggling to pull on soaking wet clothes with numbed hands, and then walk for ten hours in the rain and snow. How? Because it was a matter of survival. Plus there was no other way to finish the trail.
I have a feeling that anyone who accomplishes something others would term ‘heroic’ or ‘sensational’ looks back later and wonders how on earth they did it. We’re all human after all and capable of similar things. Yes it’s true that some of us are built better for certain activities, but that’s not what gets you over the finish line. Your mind has to be the one that carries you, gives you the confidence, strength and determination to succeed, and the guts to get out there in the first place and do it.
“If your mind can think it the body will follow.” Billy Goat was right. If you really want something bad enough, you’ll achieve it. And if you give it everything you’ve got and still don’t succeed, you’ll never regret having tried.
I also received inspiration following my last blog post from a comment someone wrote, which really got me thinking. They pointed out that there are so many people in need that could use my help, and living in Vancouver I’m reminded of this everyday with the amount of people living on the street. They said that so many people write blogs these days from the comfort of their homes, and challenged me to get out and help by rallying support on my blog. It got me looking into organisations in Vancouver that support people or families who struggle with poverty and need help. One of them in particular impressed me with the care they give to single mothers and their children. It’s called Cause We Care, and they have a number of initiatives and activities that depend on funding and recruiting volunteers to help support these families.
I’m starting to volunteer with them early next month, and have decided to rally support from all of you in the form of a donation. $65 supplies a family with a Christmas hamper containing cupboard staples, treats and small gifts. There is also a Christmas dinner hosted at one of the local East side schools for families who cannot afford to celebrate Christmas. Click this link if you’d like to donate or find out more about the organisation, and if you do, please leave a comment on this post. It would be neat to know how much money we can raise together in support. If you have your own organisation or charity that you donate to at Christmas, please also share their link via a comment on this post to encourage awareness for other humanitarian projects across the globe.
There’s no doubt that helping another human being is one of the most satisfying and wholesome feelings we can ever experience. So if the dark and dreary winter is getting you down, try shining some of your own light on someone else, because inevitably that joy will find its way back to you.