Skip to main content

Learning to Fight Again...

She walked calmly into the ring with purposeful steps. And although there was usually a smile on her face in those minutes leading up to the opening bell, there was a fire in her eyes and an unmistakable intensity about her. Those surrounding her knew, her friendly mannerisms and gentle demeanour would soon be tucked away and quickly forgotten. As she stood there, directly diagonal to the opponent, her shoulders and body appeared relaxed but her gazed was filled with intention. She peered downward, three feet ahead of her onto what was often a blood stained canvas, intentionally disconnected from the competition. She knew to never become phased by her competitors appearance as she had learned many moons ago that in a boxing ring it was never wise to judge a book by it's cover. She wasn't from a broken home and there was no apparent enduring struggle that she battled, but even if it appeared from the outside there was nothing she needed to fight for, she was, unmistakably, a fighter.  

The fire that fuelled so many of my endeavours lived inside me for a very long time. I'm unsure if it's something people are born with or if it's a learned behaviour, regardless, whether it was in school on a court, field or ring and whether or not I was ever the smartest, most athletic or talented (generally, I most certainly wasn't) what guided any success that came to me was my ability to push, focus and faithfully try to find whatever the best it was I had inside and to try to put it out into the world.  This methodology took me to competitions across the globe, to wearing my country and provincial flag on my jersey in several sports, to degrees, deans lists and boardrooms and to accomplish more than I would have ever thought possible. If super powers are given out at birth, that, for a very long time, was mine.

But sometimes life can get heavy and somewhere along the way, as I entered further into 'adulthood', that fire began to fade. Not many of us can sail through life without taking some blows and everyone has battle wounds that may fade but are never completely forgotten. We all have a story that will break your heart (or has broken their own), and just like you, I have my own. But what I think, or rather, what I know, is one of the most amazing qualities about human beings is our ability to bounce back, to be resilient and to persevere in the most challenging of times or after the most debilitating of events.

So towards the end of one of those challenging life episodes and just when I almost gave in to the pressures that both society and through my own doing had created, someone reminded me of what it felt like to work towards something special, to be excited about a journey and to rediscover what it meant to 'carpe diem', a saying my father preached to me ever since I was a child. That small and simple reminder was enough to set the wheels in motion to slowly move me forward in a direction, I now know, was well worth heading in. It triggered the motivation to sign up for a marathon, set a goal to qualify for one of  North America's most recognised races,  and a few months later with the help of a downloaded running plan, my thoughts to entertain and keep me company, and building internal motivation, I accomplished my goal but above all, along the way, I was reminded of something far more important than qualifying for any race. I remembered how good it felt to work towards something special, to set a goal and feel purposeful in working towards it, the satisfaction gained in the weeds of work and perhaps most importantly, just how important it is to look after, and take care of, myself.

When I regained my confidence and as that fire was slowly refuelled I decided to stop sitting on a fence and to start making some decisions in my life. And just like that, with a step left and not right, before I knew it my life was heading in a completely different direction. Within six months my car was packed, house sold, new lease signed (on a place I hadn't even viewed), majority of my material possessions disbursed amongst friends and I was on the road to Canmore. A place where I didn't know a soul but had assumed by the surrounding spectacular mountains must, have a soul.

I was excited.

Here, in Canmore is where I've been continuously been reminded of what I remembered when I was training for that marathon and of that familiar feeling of nervous excitement as I stood in my corner peering across the ring at my opponent.  For the first time in a long time I've challenged myself to do new things and to say yes more, rather than look for excuses as to why I can't or shouldn't do something. This approach has already led me to meet so many remarkable people, see amazing places, to reengage in the excitement of competition, and try things that I may never would have done if the spirit of the people in Canmore didn't reinforce and remind me how to fight again. The gentle demeanour remains, but the fighter has reentered the ring. Thanks Canmore friends. 

Canada (me) vs. Greece 54 kilos AIBA Prime Ministers World Tournament (2010)
Nimble Bear PACE Trail Running Race (April 2017) (with amazing people Houda n' Fitzy)

5 Peaks Trail Race Terwillegar (April 2017)

Salty Dog Enduro Mountain Bike Race (April 2017) (with amazing person Miranda)


Popular posts from this blog

The Mountains or the Ocean

No blinds mask the window that directly face my bed. Every morning when my eyes open to the world, there are no concrete buildings or telephone wires in my view, there are no horns honking or the morning buzz that most cities bring. What my eyes see is something remarkable, something that is hard to describe through words and something that brings with it an indescribably humble feeling of  insignificance that is demanded in their presence. This feeling by the way, seems to never age. Ha Ling is the mountain that greets me each day and if I catch it at just the right moment a glowing hue upon it's alpine edges seems to dance amongst the surrounding mountain tops and the awe of its beauty can literally take your breath away. These are relatively new feelings for me, introduced and embraced only in the latter third of my life. I was born and raised an islander and exposure to structures such as these, or anything remotely close, was non existent. I was however exposed to a resource…

Why being a Newfoundlander and not living there is a hard thing to do

On a humid, overcast and foggy Friday night I threw my line into the ocean. We were situated just off the easterly shores of Newfoundland in a quaint coastal town called Portugal Cove. It was only a matter of minutes before my jigger hit the ocean floor. It felt like forever, but soon with a hypothetical ‘thud’, the courting would begin. I was all too familiar with this lure, that now these unsuspecting cod were about to endure. There was nothing overly fancy about this process - a large weighted three-pronged barrel tied to a line and thrown into the ocean with not a morsel of bait on the end. Still though, the cod would bite, time and time again. So why then, were these bait-less, simplistic hooks so appealing to the cod who frequented these shores? I could identify with these creatures of the sea. I couldn't always rationalize the draw and deep connection I had to the rock – but something my heart could always so deeply comprehend. Over the years my head and heart have battled …

Welcome to My Mountain Home (where it began..)

Everyone seems to have their own unique story as to how they ended up in this magical, picturesque and quaint mountain town nestled in the great Canadian Rockies. Each and every one of them unique and fascinating in their own special way. The 'how' is the million dollar question that locals are curious of newcomers and that visitors marvel in envy over. For most, it seems, was a calculated endeavour that took years of careful planning to piece together but for some it was a simple stumble. Many running away from life and many, running to begin life.

This place I speak of is like nowhere I've ever experienced. Sure, it's a town with the same regular services as most, the same municipal structure as others and with stop signs and traffic lights, schools and churches. But if you peel just one layer off this small mountain towns' onion like surface and you come to experience what this place really represents and what this place really stands for it's something trul…