Month: November 2010
The last two weeks have been marked by stalling, fear and doubt. I don’t really like admitting to fear- it signals weakness and vulnerability…but what is wrong with that? These are natural and human responses that sooner or later we have to meet head on.
Fear and doubt are partners. One prompts and strengthens the other. One exists only because of the other. While we can dispell them, it is courage that overcomes them. While this courage comes from within, it is at its strongest when channeled from the outside: through encouragement.
We all have our fears and doubts. The support of others really makes a difference. A big thank you to everyone who in some small way has provided some of this great support. It is the fuel that moves me forward. Time now to crack on!
I have returned to a quote from Paul Hawken, the great American environmentalist, activist and writer. I have been fortunate to spend time with Paul on a number of occasions when in San Francisco and can hear his voice when I read his writing. His last book “Blessed Unrest” has its name taken from a quote. Part of it is mentioned below. It is a conversation between two people (De Mille and Graham):
De Mille: “But”, I said, “when I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied.”
Graham: “No artist is pleased.”
De Mille: “But then there is no satisfaction?”
Graham: “No satisfaction whatever at any time,” she cried passionately. “There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others. And at times I think I could kick you until you can’t stand.”
The full quote is worth reading. If you want to read it, send me a message and I will post it for you all.
This is my own personal experience with child mortality, seeing how my brother and his wife were affected by this bitter and cruel event.
If this is what it feels like when the chances of it happening are so remote, what must it be like when there is a 5:1 change of it happening in communities where young children are not named until their first birthday?
I will take this photograph with me when I leave Sydney. The child mortality I seek to influence is coincident with extreme poverty. This photo, where my brother and I together make a bridge each connected to his young boy gives me some context so that this is not just another string of statistics.
I am sure many people reading this will have their own stories and experiences. Please take time to ensure you address this issue. Please join with me over the coming month to make these experiences have meaning.
My friend Cori passed on this quote from Leon Wieseltier about a year ago. I liked it and keep in close by in a journal:
There are circumstances that must shatter you; and if you are not shattered, then you have not understood your circumstances. In such circumstances, it is a failure for your heart not to break. And it is pointless to put up a fight, for a fight will blind you to the opportunity that has been presented by your misfortune. Do you wish to persevere pridefully in the old life? Of course you do: the old life was a good life. But it is no longer available to you. It has been carried away, irreversibly. So there is only one thing to be done. Transformation must be met with transformation. Where there was the old life, let there be new life. Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.
It is blunt, and maybe not the message we want to hear. Sometimes there is no hiding from the roller-coaster that life invites us to ride.
In this TED Talk, Stacey Kramer gives her own experience about an encounter with unwelcome news. It is a short talk at 3:18. Stop and take time to watch this and think about your month ahead.
The next time you are faced with something that is unexpected, unwanted and uncertain, consider that it might just be a gift.
In my next post I will introduce my nephew Xander. A sobering reflection on taking a romantic view about the difficulties we face.
We are so incredibly lucky to be able to reflect about these thoughts from our comfortable surroundings of the West. Might someone in extreme poverty just think that this is all self-indulgent clap-trap?
October remains a memorable month in my training and preparation. Injury, delays and perseverance to move forward.
I delayed the start of the 10 City Bridge Run three times during the month, often to the frustration of others. The delays were unwanted but also welcome, and caused through insufficient funding and concerns about how the petition would be delivered in Seoul. I still have some concerns about financial backing to ensure that I do not come unstuck half-way through the event.
Delaying the start until the beginning of the G20 Summit was a good decision for a more meaningful delivery of the petition. Analysing other G20 Summits, there is such a media circus and gathering of interest groups that a petition would have had negligible meaning and just been lost in the crowd. Now the decisions that are made (or not made) by the G20 leaders become the focus for the petition, which is a tool to appeal for action holding the leaders to account for the decisions they made.
Early in the month I had great discomfort around my ankles particularly through overtraining combined with insufficient stretching. I introduced more stretches, along with ‘dynamic stretches’ which soon overcame the reduced range of movement and pain.
Throughout the month I have experience significant discomfort in different parts of my calves, which was mostly muscle pain and something that is not uncommon among distance runners.
Presently, since last Wednesday ‘shin splints’ located on the inner left shin became almost unbearable running where running a few metres was not possible. I have been resting my legs and doing a lot of stretching and strengthening exercises. I expect to be fully fit to run by 11 November.
Delays and injury create their own problems with mental preparation creating doubts and uncertainty. Delaying the start of the event creates the hassle of reorganising everything, and concerns over credibility in the eyes of others. This is more a question of perseverance and learning to accept that things change. Ultimately, I have to accept that while I can set a schedule I am not ultimately in control because of the influence of external factors.
I take inspiration from the words of the great aviator Amelia Earhart who was reported missing in 1937 and declared dead in 1939. She truly was a trailblazer”
The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.
Robert de Castella (‘Deeks’) is arguably Australia’s greatest marathon distance runner. And he sports a champion moustache.
Movember is a campaign that runs throughout November where men can help to change the face of mens’ health by growing a moustache to raise awareness of depression among males and the prevalence of prostate cancer.
During November, I am participating in Movember having formed the team: Deeks Mo-Marathon. While I am out running across bridges I will be cultivating a ‘mo’ modelled off Deeks. I am not sure it will make me run any faster, but it will be a source of inspiration.
More about this during the month. If you want to join the team as a Mo-Bro or Mo-Sista please leave a comment or email me directly.