Sometimes, our greatest moments of clarity arise from our times of greatest disorder.
Over the last few months I’d found my motivation to train a little lacking. Don’t get me wrong – I was still showing up to karate twice a week, and occasionally I’d head to the gym for a workout, but I’d lost that burning desire to really challenge and push myself the way I usually would. A strained muscle in my back put me out of action for a week, and as I sat on the couch reading books and eating my body weight in chips, I finally found something that pulled me out of my rut.
It was a looking glass. Not the kind that reflects your image, but the one that lets you see into the world of others. In short, my lack of motivation was not cured by refocusing on my goals and aspirations, but by turning my gaze to the hidden world of people that I have never met. The book Half the Sky, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sherlyn WuDunn, details the oppression of women and girls in the 20th and 21st centuries. As I read, each page ceased to be just paper and ink, instead morphing instead into a window into another world. The panes of glass were cloudy and dark to begin with, but with each statistic and every story the glass slowly lost its opacity and was suddenly – startlingly – clear.
- Girls in India aged 1-5 are 50% more likely to die than boys.
- More girls are missing on the planet today than all the men killed on the battlefields in the 20th
- And then there were the personal stories, like that of Abbas Be:
“Money was tight in her family, so when she was about 14 she arranged to take a job as a maid in the capital, New Delhi. Instead, she was locked up in a brothel, beaten with a cricket bat, gang-raped and told that she would have to cater to customers. Three days after she arrived, Abbas and all 70 girls in the brothel were made to gather round and watch as the pimps made an example of one teenage girl who had fought customers. The troublesome girl was stripped naked, hogtied, humiliated and mocked, beaten savagely and then stabbed in the stomach until she bled to death in front of Abbas and the others.”
My own story quickly seemed very self-absorbed, extremely self-indulgent. I was eaten up by these moments and the fact that I had been so oblivious to the suffering of others. I wanted to do something about it – but what? Nothing seemed big enough – important enough – to warrant action, until I realised that ANY action was better than none. So, with the help of my karate dojo, we launched a fundraiser. We are going to participate in Bridge to Brisbane, a well-known local running race that takes place in August every year. We have set up a fundraising page at https://b2b2017.everydayhero.com/au/brisbane-goju-karate and all the funds raised go directly to United Nations Women National Committee Australia, an organisation dedicated to the prevention of violence against women. And just like that, my motivation was reborn.
Since that moment all I can think about is running plans, relevant cross training, diet choices… For someone who is a terrible runner, I’m really looking forward to putting myself through the training to come. The members of my team are all faster runners than me, so it will be a great motivator and challenge to improve my fitness and running ability over the next four months. It will also be a good reason to keep blogging, and share our stories along the way. If you have any tips or hints for my upcoming running journey please feel free to leave them in the comments!