I have had a very interesting two weeks. Two fridays ago I made my way to Santiago de Compostela in Spain to be a cheer-squad (with my niece) for my friend Tara, who was walking into Santiago - after completing her over 800km walk across Spain. You see, she was walking the Pilgrims walk, the Camino, which starts from St Jean de Pied de Port in France, goes over the Pyrenees, and then across northern Spain to Santiago. In talking with Tara about her six week trek I realised that, sometimes, inspiration can come from the most unexpected of places . . . you see, thousands of people walk the Camino every year, with no expectation of glory or renown. They do it, like Tara, for the adventure, for spiritual reasons, for the physical and mental challenge, to get to know one-self better, to understand life better, to celebrate life, to grieve for those that are gone, to feel alive in ones skin and learn about ones own ability to push past perceived barriers. It is an inspiration to me, and I love to feel inspired (THANKS TARA, YOU ARE RAD!!!). I am so inspired that I am now planning to attempt the Camino next year . . . probably on bike! The Camino, for me, will be a test of physical and mental strength, a time for me to push past my own perceived barriers, and a chance to contribute to the world in a positive, challenging way (by raising money for charity). It is testing of oneself that I want to address in this blog post, so let's get cracking . . .
(There I am, being squished by Tara in front of Santiago Cathedral)
I, like many people with disabilities (and many without disabilities), sometimes feels confined by the limitations that my body seemingly imposes on my life. Now don't get me wrong, I don't complain about my disability, I never feel sorry for myself, I detest pity, and I embrace life for all it's worth, but I do sometimes look at things that I would like to do and go - "huh?!?"
"Huh?!? How am I going to do this? How in the hell am I going to physically get my body to do this and my mind to feel the confidence to do this?"
I hold onto a strong sense of self belief and I firmly believe that given the time, space, and assistance I can sort out any problem to any thing that I want to do - it is ALWAYS POSSIBLE!
So for me, the Camino will be a test of my self, my body, my mind, my disability, and my self belief that anything is possible.
HERE'S THE KICKER!!
I believe that ALL people with various disabilities can test themselves . . . with the right support, positive self belief, and a firm "WHY?" they WANT to do whatever it is they want to do, anything is truly possible. Walking over 800km? Easy!! Starting your own business? A piece of cake!! Competing at the Paralympics? BOOM - Done!!! Waking up each and every morning knowing that you are a person of value and can contribute something fantastic to this world?
YOU have done that already!!
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright