Helen Blake

The March Charge 2022

My Activity Tracking

161
kms

My target 120kms

Intention

Intention


It’s warm and steamy here on a Saturday afternoon in Mingenew, and I’m hiding from the kids among the ubiquitous baskets of washing that NEVER GO AWAY. Every time I conquer a mammoth pile of washing that has been languishing in my office for too long, I promise myself I will never let it go so far again! I mean to put it away as I go… bit like the dishes I intend to wash as I use ….


So as I write my 3rd and final post for the 2022 March Charge, 2 days late, my washing basket(s) pretty well sum up how my intentions didn’t quite match my outcomes for this March.


Ah intentions. It’s not often a positive word, is it? While I was pondering this topic, hanging out a gazillion pairs of kids socks, all I could think of was that line ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ ?. I even googled that phrase and found it was considered a proverb, and an alternative is “hell is full of good meanings, heaven is full of good works”. Wowsers. Seems a bit harsh! And yet it’s negative tones did reflect a bit of the disappointment I felt in myself for not achieving the lofty heights of fundraising, kilometres and inspirational musings I had intended. 


Propelled by the enthusiasm of TicTac and Rachel in February, we painted a glorious picture of region wide competition, spurring on groups within our numbers to outperform each other on the fitness and fundraising leader boards. We’d build social media motivation, approach corporate partners for sponsorship and make an even bigger difference. The North Midlands Chargers were going to be HUGE.


It was an exciting concept and we certainly had the reasons, the skills and the will to carry it out, and yet somehow we lost momentum very early on. Why? 


I puzzled over this quite a bit, as it bothered me that I talked something up and then didn’t deliver - that’s the type A side of my perfectionist personality coming to the fore. Funnily enough, I just had to google what Type B personality traits were and I’m pretty sure the answer to this is also the answer to my question as a whole: “Type B personalities can be generally summarised as; easy going, relaxed and highly-flexible. Generally taking a much more carefree approach and wider philosophical view of themselves, work/life balance and other traits which make them less stressed.”


Huh. 


As it turns out, last weekend I celebrated a wonderful milestone in turning 40, which brought with it a fair bit of navel gazing, facilitated by March Charge morning walks. While I certainly find the number surprising, having fallen victim to that middle aged phenomenon of genuinely forgetting how old I am, very quickly I realised it was far more shocking that my little brother would also be 40 next yet, and bizarrely, my baby sister isn’t actually still in high school, but is a professional adult with a mortgage, who owns a vacuum cleaner, a slow cooker AND uses both. Freaky.


Instead of my age, I spent more time reckoning with the different versions of Helen there have been over the years, times where my ambitious ‘type A’ qualities have come to the fore, like in getting into uni, graduating and during my years as a vet, or at times just wanting to compete with the amazing professional women in my life, who kick career goals as well as get their washing folded. Even as I write my career milestones, I fight the urge to colour the sentence with ‘luckily’ getting into uni, ‘surprisingly’ graduating and ‘masquerading’ as a vet. I deleted the words because it’s true, I did do all those things, but they never felt like the ‘real’ me. They felt like the version I thought I should be, the one that brought admiration, boosted my ego and made me feel important, despite the coexisting unease that I’d be exposed as a fraud at any moment.


What I determined while walking my sandy track, is it’s actually the times I embrace my ‘type B’ traits that make me happiest, and enable me to better live in the little moments that make up my life. For me, turning 40 is especially poignant as it’s the birthday my special person should have been celebrating in Bali with friends, not grappling with mortality, illness, pain and the unknown. It’s a sudden recognition that ‘simple’ moments in her life were no longer so innocent, and rather suddenly imbued with emotional gravity. When I embrace a slower, more flexible approach, my priorities shift , and while it means my washing basket is rarely emptied and my measurable productivity plummets, I’ve got plenty of time for a chapter of Harry Potter at night with the kids or a phone call with a friend. I’m nicer, more observant and more centred.


Which brings me back, in a typically wordy Helen way, to intention. Why so negative? Why do I relate disparity in intention and outcome to failing? I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to reframe it, hoping to form neural patterns that make my next 40 years full of positive, glass half full observations and moments. I want to make sure I attribute the full measure of value to things I enjoy, rather shading it with the experiences or successes of others that I have mentally deemed more worthy.


When I dug a bit deeper into the digital black hole of google, here are some far better quotes regarding intentions, and nary a flicker of hell between them:


Intention is the seed that creates our future

Energy flows where intention goes

Intention is more than wishful thinking, it’s wilful direction

Intention + Action = Magic


I don’t see any units of measurement or timeframes there do you? Nope. Just positive, forward motion in a specific direction. And whether it be fundraising, fitness, career or washing baskets, the big results are made up of little wins (yes, as small as 7/10 pairs of socks having a matching friend in the basket).


So let me try again: did March Charge 2022 go as intended? Nope. Was it a success? Hell yes! My amazing supporters kicked in $633 of the $15,918 raised by 28 incredible women, my legs walked 136km of the massive number of kilometres we traversed both together and alone (can’t for the life of me find the total on the webpage!!!). My dogs are slimmer, my mind is clearer, and I’m rather proud of our fancy logo we have ready to go for future March Charges too.


Thank you for joining us, in whatever combination of mind, body, spirit or wallet was in your reach, be it equal to your intention or not. Every single bit matters.


Love Helen xx

Perspective

Perspective


Its day 3 of the Charge, the weather here is blustery and delightfully cool, after our hottest summer on record. My dogs are snoring at my feet after 5km of galumphing with pure canine joy through the stubbles and bush along the track. They were searching (in vain, thankfully) for the dead bobtail they gleefully rolled on earlier in the week - my nose is relieved their tracking skills are rubbish and/or a hungry fox must have carted it home for dinner!


Despite the fabulous soundtrack provided by fellow Charger Taryn, (Throwback Workout on Spotify - it’s a gem! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DXaL0oUdaMtnP?si=W9s82AodTcarn8v9825Ftw ) my mood is pensive today, and while I hadn’t planned to write every day of this month, I was curious where I’d end up if I followed my train of thought.


I’m thinking about perspective, and how it can be useful and motivating, and also daunting, overwhelming and damaging. This morning my social feeds (which yes, I clicked ‘remind me in 15 mins’ on the timer an embarrassing number of times), was full of ‘at least I’m not …..’ . You can fill in the gaps with ‘in Ukraine’, ‘flooded’, ‘sick’ etc, and various forms of #blessed, a tagline we often use in a derogatory or sarcastic way, but this time is utterly heartfelt. At first, it felt powerful and uniting, this outpouring of recognition and gratitude for those of us #blessed with health, dry feet and safety. 


But after a while, it occurred to me that this message of ‘perspective’ can also be dismissive, and lacking in compassion for those who are anywhere along the arbitrary sliding scale of suffering, except at its most extreme end.  In particular, I thought of that well meaning, but often misguided tendency many of us have, which is to ‘put things into perspective’ for someone else who may be suffering- when by definition, their perspective will be influenced by an infinite number of factors that are different to our own. Sometimes it’s well meaning, intending to motivate, and other times we do it out of frustration for someone we perceive to be wallowing, or perhaps a bit self indulgent, because they don’t seem to be ‘moving on’ as quickly as we think they should. It also introduces an element of competition into what is genuine suffering, bringing vulnerable people to doubt their worthiness to receive empathy.


With this theoretical hierarchy of suffering in mind, I tested it out - I can’t whinge that the skin peeling off my hands hurts (thanks to my enthusiastic use of various chemicals to ward off the circulating gastro bugs in town), because at least I don’t have Covid. But gosh, if you have Covid, count yourself lucky that you don’t have cancer! And if you have Covid and cancer, be grateful your house isn’t flooded! Though if it is, it could still be worse - you could be in the Ukraine! And you know what? Those people do exist. These poor little Ukrainian babies, have cancer, no home, are at risk of Covid and are hanging out in a hospital basement https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10563725/Children-cancer-shelter-Ukrainian-hospital-not-survive-unless-evacuated-doctors-warn.html


We have a winner. Everyone else can just get on with their #blessed lives now.


It’s quite overwhelming isn’t it? And as we know, a very common side effect to overwhelm is inertia. So I tried to keep those Ukrainian babies, and all those on that sliding scale between me with my sore fingers and those in that hospital basement at the forefront of my mind, while I worked out how to convert emotion, to a positive action that could make a difference.


What I came up with is this: the truth is, in my realm of influence, nothing I do will help those babies. BUT. I can go for a walk. And I can share the March Charge message, and maybe someone else will kick in a few dollars. And those dollars might mean a cancer patient in a flooded area gets a call from their doctor just to check on them, because the program can afford a few more hours. Or a tube of cream for THEIR sore hands, because one of the Cancer Councils programs can provide it. Or maybe those dollars will be trigger a chain reaction of scientific breakthroughs, so that if any of those babies on the other side of the world come through their current trauma, maybe we can have a cure waiting for them.


So from my perspective, this mornings walk made a difference I’m really proud of, and so did yours.


Hxxx

Lift Off!


Lift Off!


And just like that, it’s March! How the heck did that happen??


The days fly by when there are so many things competing for our attention, and outside of our own bubbles and personal chaos, there is a LOT happening in the world right now.


So time sneaks up on us - especially if you are prone to over thinking like I am. It’s a bit of a nuisance really, as too often all that ruminating manifests as inertia, which is frustrating and adds to the feelings of overwhelm. Overwhelm is where I found myself when considering the March Charge in 2022. Joining the Charge last year was like spontaneously jumping on a roller coaster that continually picked up speed, veering from a steady incline, to exhilarating peaks in adrenaline. I wholeheartedly believe in our purpose, enjoyed the creative outlet in blogging and walked a LOT of kilometres. I can’t deny my ego got a pretty good boost too, thanks to my generous supporters.


But 2022? Oooh. Let me overthink that for a minute. Do I have time? Will I be as successful as last time? Do I have to ask people for donations again? Do we need to make it ‘bigger and better’? Do I have to write anything?  Can I write anything? Is what I write crap? Is that a twinge in my hip? Blah de blah blah. Honestly, I bore myself.


I tried to make myself get a grip by asking a few key questions:

  1. Do I have time? Well yes, you slacker. Get out of bed.
  2. Will it matter if I don’t walk as far? Only to my ego I suspect. I can’t actually remember how far I walked last year, and neither will anyone else!
  3. What if I don’t raise as much? Well every dollar I raise, even by sponsoring myself, is a dollar more than will be raised if I don’t do it.
  4. What if I get a sore knee? Seriously? Toughen up tiger. You have also been known to walk into the bird cage when moving the sprinkler, so there are plenty of higher risk activities in my day than a walk in the open (away from budgie cages).


As you can see, my excuses and worries were LAME, and so here we are! Day 2, 13km or so down and is it a big deal? Um no. The dogs LOVE it, and if there’s one thing guaranteed to get me out of bed, definitely more so than fitness motivation, it’s obligation (and barking dogs).


So if you can relate to any or all of my silly musings on why I really couldn’t record a few kilometres and sponsor myself to help those I love, please be reassured you aren’t alone. Sign up next week, or the week after. Set your targets for a piddly amount. Sponsor someone else. It’s ok if your mental space is too busy for another ‘thing’.


But if on the spur of the moment, you step outside - regardless of pjs or bare feet and just … start walking… like me, you might find that the fresh air and simple act of putting one foot in front of another creates a little piece of calm in a brain where the world is jostling for space. And if you do it again tomorrow, maybe you should record it ?


Love Hx

I'm supporting Cancer Council's The March Charge...

...a month-long fitness challenge to raise funds for world-class cancer research, prevention programs, and support services

Every year in Australia about 44,000 cancer cases are diagnosed that could have been prevented. I'm doing my part to change this by getting active and fundraising to end cancer

Please sponsor me today to make every KM count! Every dollar raised is one step closer to a cancer free future.

Let's tell cancer where to go!

Thank you to my Sponsors

$200

Pop And Pam

$124.80

Wilzac Cocker Spaniels

the kids wanted to help too

$100

Cathy Spillman

You make me so proud Helen xx

$58.24

Helen Blake

$56

Shirley And Tony Blake

$53.04

Brooke Harrigan

Well done Helen, such a great cause! 😊

$26

Cheryl Geissmann

Coooeee , the road is long, every step you take brings you closer to your goal . you are a wonderful soul on this dirty dusty place we call home. i must finish reading...galumphing off now. byee

$15

Roz Samuel

Inspirational- and love your way with words 😍