When You’re Done You’ve Just Got To Pitch Your Tent And Light Your Stove.

“As I stood there, I knew I was done for the day, though when I’d stopped I’d intended to push on. Too tired to light my stove and exhausted to be hungry in any case, I pitched my tent, though it was only four in the afternoon.” – Cheryl Strayed, Wild

Every so often in life, I find myself “done for the day”, sometimes before it’s even begun. I could be doing everything possible to change my life, to pursue my dreams, to stay positive, and yet, life gets worse. You take those situations and be as positive as possible, reading in them something amazing that could actually be used to transform your situation.

But sometimes, you’re done.

Usually, at this point I would turn to my trusted mentors in the form of spiritual writings, blog posts, poems, or self-help books, which tend to be revelatory, full of wisdom, and guidance. 99.9% of the time they not only inspire and guide me, but the truths they teach transform me every time. Especially when I go on to apply them to my life. They go in through my head, and down into my heart, and are lived out. Feeding on these words give me strength and motivation to go on.

But sometimes, no matter how much these truths sink into your heart, your circumstances remain the same and may even look like they are getting worse.

Two weeks straight, I rise early, absolutely saturate myself in the magic of the morning. I’m empowered and set up for the rest of the day.

Come evening, I look back on the day with satisfaction I did the very best I could, given my resources and limitations.

But then, this begins to feel like groundhog day. You’re bursting with a knowing inside of you of the possibilities life holds. The sheer variety of opportunities that exist. Unknown territory yet to be explored.

And here you are, believing, hoping, dreaming, pursuing, and yet not a whiff of anything ever changing.

The only opportunity that seems to come is the one you give ego to start with it’s onslaught of negative comments;

“You really thought you were made for bigger things? You really thought things would change if you were more positive and listened to those meeeeeentoooooors!” Hahahahahah, you’re a joke. Get the hoover and start tidying the house because that’s all you’re going to be doing for the rest of your life. Give up that blog. No one’s reading it. No one cares what you have got to say”

Now at that point, a few years ago, I would have sobbed, nodding in agreement with that voice. I’d indulge for hours on end in self pity. But I now know who I am and I know those are lies. I chose not to take them on board.

But then here’s what people don’t tell you at this point. It’s not as easy as that. They tell you to start thinking positive. Say some affirmations. Re read your mission statement.

But some days you’re just done with it. It doesn’t work.

There is no where else, you feel, that is left to turn.

The well has run dry!

Pitch Your Tent. Stoke Up Your Fire.


So, what do I do? I find myself with Cheryl Strayed, sat with her in her tent in the middle of the Californian desert. Or sometimes with Elisabeth Gilbert on a bench in the middle of Italy.

Today, it’s with Cheryl, sat in a tent, both of us bruised and with tear stained cheeks.

I lend my strength to light the stove and put on a pot of coffee.

As she shares of her journey so far, I contemplate my own. Her words draw me out of my world and into hers. I am not so much an observer of her story as much as I am of my own at this point.

I am now, in this moment, a companion on her journey. Her words carry essence, depth, vitality, colour, and motion. I experience her pain, her loneliness, her lostness.

When I first opened the cover of her memoir, Wild, she was a stranger to me. Just as Elisabeth Gilbert was when I first opened the pages of Eat, Pray, Love. But now these have become my guides and my mentors.

Joining them on their journey gives me clarity for my own. I’m not alone. Our pain is shared. Our struggles the same. There is hope. The terrain does change.

I read a few more lines before I bid farewell to Cheryl and “Until next time”. I part company to resume my journey, knowing I am free to join her again whenever I need to. Yet next time I’ll be bringing my own new stories, fresh insights, and new truths as she shares hers.

So share in another’s journey to gain clarity or respite from your own. Here you will find release, refreshment, hope and encouragement to continue with your own.





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