This week’s blog comes from DP Fundraising Officer Colm Durham who took part in our first edition of Hero’s Journey in September 2013.
I said before I came here that I had signed up for some mad shit in my time but that this took the biscuit. I was 100 % correct.
I was told beforehand that this will give everyone an opportunity away from our “busy “lives to reflect on what we are doing and what we would like to do.
One of the major things I have learned from my own life through this experience is how crammed it is with distractions such as internet, TV smart phones even food? This was the first time I had ever done a fast mainly because I love food so much. (I had never seen it as an addiction before but maybe it is after all) we were told over the weekend that the average person consumes 40kg of sugar per year! We need only 1 % of that. I found the fast surprisingly easy although I felt a bit tired at stages but when all you have is a piece of plastic a pen knife and a sleeping bag to make a shelter for yourself for the night in the middle of the forest you very quickly get energy from somewhere . Although it rained all through the night (worst rain in 3 months) I managed to stay dry and warm all night (maybe those 5 layers of cloths were not such a bad idea after all.)
Once I had finally built my Home for the night which consisted of a piece of string between two trees with the plastic draped over it and branches either side to keep the plastic in place.
So there I was lying in the middle of a forest no food no company just me and nature. When it got dark my hearing sense became so aware of everything that was around me. All I could hear was the rain dripping just above my head all night and the rustle of the bushes. I kept on thinking I could hear footsteps around the tent but it was just my mind playing tricks on me.
When everything is stripped back sitting there with no phone, Internet, TV, it really does make you think differently about life. I began writing down a list of goals while I was lying there as I thought I may as well do something productive while I’m here. I wrote down different things I would like to achieve and things I would like to do with my life. These were all based around the usual topics such as work, travel, family and friends, health and wealth.
Although I don’t normally like being on my own I didn’t mind this so much as it was so different to anything I had ever done before. Once it was dark all I could hear was the rain falling above my head on the plastic. I started to imagine footsteps around the tent that were only the rain dripping down the tent. Once I got to sleep it was 1am and I slept right through to the morning and it was as hard as any other Sunday morning to get up out of bed. Once I was up I felt fresh and alive, a feeling I hadn’t felt in a long time. (Maybe it was to do with the alcohol free weekend)
It just goes to show how little we really need to survive including food. We over consume in every part of our lives and what I have found over the past few years with DP is that it’s not the new car or TV or new clothes that make you happy. It’s the experience you have in life with family and friends rather than sitting around Facebook chat, get out and meet new exciting people and don’t be afraid of new challenges and experiences. I never thought in a million years I would be going out to a forest for the night with a sheet of plastic, a knife and a piece of sting and never did I think I would have enjoyed it. We all face challenges in our lives big or small but they should all be embraced and tackled head on as you become a stronger and very interesting character.
The theory behind this intense personal development course comes from Joseph Cambell the author of the book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. His study is based on the stories and myths that are told down through history in civilizations all over the world, from religious stories to legends to modern day Hollywood movies. He found that all these followed the same pattern, for example in the case of Star Wars you have a young man who at first doesn’t want to take the challenge and then has a series of adventures meeting both mentors and allies and enemies. Then once he is gone through the pattern of and faces his challenges he comes out of it a hero. This story line is so popular because it reflects all our lives as we all face challenges in some shape or form. Although allot of the time we shy away from challenges and don’t want to face them but in reality this is what life is all about as nothing worth achieving is ever going to come easy and the trail and test along the way to achieving your goals will make your and stronger and more resilient person.
We also discussed about how in order for learning to happen you had to step outside your comfort zone although if you push yourself to far you can reach a panic zone
Change is always hard and won’t happen over one night camping out in a forest but everyone has to start somewhere. I think the wisdom that Joseph Campbell has given us in invaluable and will stand to me in my own life.
I am really looking forward to the next edition of the Hero’s Journey which takes place on the 4th April 2014. I hope that you all have the same amazing experience that I had.