Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Catching Sardines with Trekking Poles

I'm walking for Coldest Night of the Year and I'm asking you to sponsor me. If you are the sort of person who likes to cut to the chase, here is the quick link to slip me some clams:

If you want to partake of something slower and maybe even finer, read on a smidge.

Inspiring Quote: "If a person made me a present of only a sardine, I would do anything for him." -- Teresa of Avila.

My story: It all started when I bought some trekking poles. Have you seen people with these things? Here is a photo of me rakishly modeling them.

I headed out on my first walk and the carbide pointy ends went clickety clack like a railroad track the whole time. So I bought some rubber tips to be a little less obnoxious. Tappity tap. Not much of an improvement. Oh well, It would just have to do.

I walked out on my favorite route and I met all these people on the trail. They had these smirky grins, while they were NOT looking at my poles. Deliberately not looking. Looking into the bushes on the side of the path like there was something fascinating in the curled-up brown leaves and grass.

But here is the kicker. Using these things has really helped my knees and I'm desperately hoping they will help my upper body. Desperately. Hoping. So its win win, right? Well, not exactly.

The thing is I'm embarrassed to be using these poles. Why? I have no clue. Ok, yes, maybe I have a clue or two. They look dorkey. I don't want to look dorkey. Or pompous. Or keen. Or odd. At least not any more dorkey, pompous, keen, or odd than I already am. And what do I care what people think of my dorkey ways? Ah, well, there's the rub. It's not just embarrassment, it's shame. Shame rooted in fear of rejection. I don't want to be shunned and teased and looked down upon.

So there I was, trudging along, and I thought to myself, "Dude, you can still walk! Chillax about the poles!" And the truth is I CAN still walk, and I can do a bunch of other things like work, and drive my car, and climb into bed at night after eating Cordon Swiss from Costco with roasted asparagus from Peru. I often lay there with a full tummy and think I am the luckiest duck on the planet. Fed, in bed, with nothing to dread.

Not the case for a lot of folks. Hungry, bedless, and buzzing with anxiety like they swallowed a swarm of bees. And more ashamed than I will ever be with my dorkey trekking poles. Yep, ashamed. So I'm walking for those folks. Me and my dorkey poles, walking to raise money to support the cause, to help my beloved ICCS provide some beds, and food, and a little less dread.

And that brings us to the sardines.

Why do I like that quote from Teresa so much? One biographer said she was "easily overcome by any gesture of kindness." She could get misty over a sardine. I love that. We need more of that unabashed gratitude. Selfless thankfulness. It makes "good ripples," as Joan of Archadia would say.

I've met a fair number of people who were homeless, and many of them have that quality -- easily overcome by kindness. I feel the same thing when I walk for Coldest Night of the Year, a deep gratitude to be receiving support and encouragement from my friends far and wide. You can share in it. It is not that far away, really. Maybe, like, one sardine away…

Sponsor me here:

Sponsor someone else on my team:

Hey, you can feel the full sardine buzz by becoming a member and walking with our team. Click that link back there….it'll take you where you can join us!

p.s. if you use dorkey poles -- ah I mean Trekking Poles -- you are wise and enlightened. Please accept my a-pole-ogy for suggesting that walking with Trekking poles might be considered by some as un-cool. I just really like the analogy of how our thoughts about things can contribute to our dis-ease. For me it is poles, for you it might be going to a therapist, or being caught without your make-up one, or driving the wrong kind of car, or maybe even being without a home.

Its a pretty rich analogy, right?

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