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Time to paint

I haven’t posted a blog on this site for a while now. I guess I stumbled, felt unsure. My experience of myself and others tells me there is a need to hear inspirational tales, get help to develop plans and find confidence and encouragement to help us move forwards. That in essence was what my bold-souls site is all about.

However, as is common, we start to doubt and ask questions. I don’t want to just end up with some personal diatribe and need to overcome the doubts I have. I read a quote recently by Vincent van Gogh…it goes like this….

” If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced”.

I don’t know if people will get this blog but I’m still going to write it. Following a recent conversation I feel sure that we need a way, a place and a format for asking difficult questions, for finding a way to reflect and ensure we get the most from life.

In the past days I read a sad headline yet one that is at the very heart of why we can’t just sit around and be complacent. It told of a lady that having recovered from breast cancer and just celebrated a final treatment she died suddenly of other causes. Our time here is precious yet we act as if we will live forever. Quite simply…..we won’t.

We are all in different situations, have various commitments and responsibilities but the single thing we all share is that we all have just one life. Looks like we all need to overcome our doubts and obstacles and pick up that metaphorical paintbrush.

While I’m alive.

We cycled through Hokitika, on the West coast of New Zealand, a few days a go. On arrival we read of sculpture and driftwood artworks on the beach front and decided to take a look. Amongst what seemed to be remains of wood piles, next to the promenade, were half a dozen blackboards. Already painted with the words “before I die”, it was for visitors and passers by to complete the sentence with the chalk provided. I decided to take a look.

As ever with something so public the said passers by had chosen a variety of ways in which to respond. While some used it as an opportunity to state a more philosophical approach to life (be happy; make people smile), others used it as a chance to be more specific (cycle South America, run a marathon) and there were of course a few more churlish responses (have sex or try cocaine). Hey, we never know who writes these things so maybe even the latter two examples were, for their authors a bold departure from their current existence, yet I still couldn’t help walking away feeling something wasn’t quite right.

Firstly, I got the sense many people didn’t really know what to write though, after some contemplation and a continuation of my reading on lessons from those working in palliative care, I have finally decided the big problem lies with the start of the sentence.

While we all joke of the only real certainties in life being death and taxes we still live in a culture where we predominantly view death as an event so far in the future it should not concern us. Of course we do not want to live a morbid existence yet we chose to ignore or forget our mortality. One life, one opportunity has very much been the mantra of our cycle tour and with that in mind I couldn’t help wondering whether people would take more time to consider what they may do before they die if we bring the question back to a timeframe they accept more readily……the present.

The concept of what we wish to be remembered for and, going back to the original question, of accomplishments price to death is of course a concept we are hugely familiar with. Just don’t familiarity become flippancy. Don’t leave it too late.

So, what do you want to do right now; what do you yearn to do with your partner; what do you wish to achieve while you have your health; what real goals are you actively working towards?

What do you want to do while you’re alive?

All things new.

New year. New zealand. New blog.

I arrived in Auckland on New Years Eve for what would be the next stage of my world bike trip. Once again, travelling with my cycle buddy John we were about to embark on another adventure.

As we’ve been travelling people often comment regarding the courage and bravery such a trip would take. While occasionally this is meant in relation to either our cycling or countries we are visiting, more often it seems to refer to the decision we took to sell houses and leave everyday life. On telling people we were virtually strangers before we set off many believe we are even more crazy.

In looking back at changes I’ve made the more significant one for me was in choosing to leave a city I loved, friends I loved and work I generally enjoyed because life felt stagnant….and I just can’t do that. Big adventures may often be the things that make people go wow, and they are of course amazing routes to take, but, we all have choices. We can all make changes and we can all live more positively.

I’ve decided to start this second web site because I want encourage others to move forwards – to live life to the full, to get out of a rut and to take active decisions for themselves. I enjoy writing and wish to continue this beyond my bikemind site.

It won’t of course give all the answers, after all, only you, deep down know what you really want but hope what I’ll do is share thoughts, tools, motivation and stories that may help on your journey. I hope you’ll like it. If you do, please share,  subscribe and please do give me your feedback. This post is merely an introduction. I hope you like the concept.

Be a bold-soul.