Yeah, a low distance day, just on my 'minimum acceptable'! Only 25 km done, but 'All OK' in today's capitulated paradigm.
Elevation: 2 678 metres, least climb ever. So why not better distance, you may ask? See below....
What a funny day....
As I said in yesterday's post, I knew I was caught in this 'can't ski easily, and can't walk easily' terrain position, and was needing to change my paradigm. The terrain largely remained the same so I was initially restless, constantly thinking of changing between walking and skiing, not a good place to be. After an initial -23C and moderate crosswind, it went warm and still, cloudless sky, and just a PERFECT day. A real day to be soaked up and enjoyed, and really appreciate the luxury of the pure mind space this ice nothingness can give. To enjoy the journey!
After seeing 3.1 km for the first hour, I sensed that new paradigm better be developed quickly, or else I was going to be one hellluva frustrated guy by the end of the day!
You may have noticed that I use the words "capitulation" and "prison" a lot? They are strong, motive words, and ones that lie on the other side of the line from Freedom. Freedom is something I value hugely, and find fascinating, and basically in 2004, when I left Sydney, the business world, and shed all my possessions, to start the 'Simply Adventure' life, it was largely about going to find myself and explore Freedom: how it works, what - if anything - defines the limits, and how I could find a life that had maximum freedom, but was also holistic and meaningful. I am pretty confident, and hopefully you don't see it as arrogant, in saying that over the 7 years, I pushed the limits, and went where few have gone, in terms of experiencing close to total freedom. Total freedom being the ability to act, speak, and think without restraint. I had perceived that 'we', all / most people have capitulated freedom, have accepted the constraints, restraints and perceived limitations in their life situation, and in doing so create a 'prison' where there no keys; the prison warders are non-negotiable, and so there is no way out, so one then capitulates to accept that IS life and one then makes the very best of it and the prison isn't even recognisable. In fact it becomes very cosy, a source of great social belonging, and meaningful purpose.
One even goes as far as being deluded into thinking that one has 'total' Freedom. That's what I call the capitulated freedom. Prison is a harsh word, because most of us find our 'prison' a pretty OK 'place' to live. By not fighting the restraints / constraints, one is not restless and searching for more freedom, but rather fully involved in making the 'Now' of the prison work and deliver contentment. I think Patrick, in one of his comments on the blog, referred to the Buddhist approach which says something along the lines that life IS suffering, and the sooner we accept that the more content and less expectant and disappointed we will be... In my view, that's supporting what I say above: life is like being in a 'suffering prison' - just capitulate and accept it, and it won't feel like a prison, you'll be free!
So, back to here on the ice in Antarctica... Am I in ultimate freedom, or a minute, solitary confinement cell of the worst degree? Well here on the ice it is quite a small 'prison' for me, even in the nothingness of Antarctica. I'm pretty much restricted in what I can do, choices, etc. Yes I can behave speak and think almost without constraint, but essentially it's a tight prison; one of every day involving 11 hours. Hard labour too!
The freedom comes in me voluntarily deciding to step in to explore the Solo to South Pole prison and to experience its restraints! To do this, I need to go through a serious capitulation process, before I can thin k it enjoy my prison. I have to accept that that's what life is, there are no outs, no warder with a key, I'm in for 35+ days, and that's non negotiable. Once I accept that I become pseudo free, and am on the path to contentment in my new life. That's why I felt so unneedy at the halfway point, in my restrained world I had everything!
Yesterday, the very slow terrain made my prison get even smaller, and so today I needed a new paradigm of capitulation to deal with its tighter constraints, or go mad! Some may think that this posting confirms: "I went mad!" On this blog, everyone has Freedom of opinion!
Well, the way I capitulated was to take away my 30 km/day goal, and to just accept whatever distance I do, but for me to get FULLY into the Now of being out here in this special place. And so that's what I did: appreciated the sastrugi, lots of photos, stopped often and took in with awe the 360 degree 'horizonless' space, and spent quality time articulating these freedom/prison capitulation thoughts.
In my book that is STILL 'work in progress', Freedom and these concepts are given very REAL practical support, as adventure by definition creates this extraordinary combination of freedom, and yet a necessary, daily micro prison.
In conclusion, I believe we all need 'prisons' because that's where significant things get done, relationships for me, and huge personal learning can take place. But how can one get Freedom as well? That, to me, is the holy grail of life, and I've tried to get the unlikely combination through the 'Simply Adventure' life philosophy which involves regular breakaways from true freedom into voluntary but highly constrained adventure 'prisons' like this 'stroll to the Pole'.
And finally, I guess I read many of your comments relating to my adventure 'inspiring' you to make some change, embark on your own South Pole.... Yes, that's making the decision not to be content with your 'prison' anymore, and to go explore a bigger and less constraining one, one that takes you closer to REAL freedom.... It needs courage, belief in yourself, and a vision / dream for more out of life... Not really a Buddhist approach, and I'm not saying it's right or wrong; your 'gut' will tell you what's right for YOU!
I can HONESTLY say each time I've made the sometimes hard and lonely decision to break out and seek a new, larger, less restraining prison, I've been rewarded with more freedom, but maybe more importantly, personal enlightenment and spiritual learning...
Many ask me if I ever regret walking away from life in Sydney to 'Simply Adventure', and my answer always remains:
Given what I now know about myself and have experienced in the last 7 years, I'd be 'violently angry' if either the 'dream thief' had come along and taken me off this planet before I could have experienced it, or I was still forced to be living a 'normal' life in Sydney, or wherever! That's just my perspective in the context of ME and all my baggage. How this all applies to you is for you to either instantly dump or work through for your life choices.
That's what day 28 produced...
Damn, if I had been more end goal focused, marched for 12+ hours, I'd only have 190 km to the Pole, instead of the 195km that I do have!
I hope you enjoyed the different day too...?
It's a beautiful, warm -12C outside, TOTAL silence, quite special... The tent will be warm for sleeping tonight.