Wednesday, February 12, 2014


“Tell your story. Roll the truth around your head.”
Bound for Glory – Tedeschi Trucks Band

The gifted Canadian author Carrie Snyder has a custom of choosing each year a single word to be her mental talisman. This year her word is “success”. She writes expressively in her blog that she chose the word not just for its positive aura, but also because it frightens and challenges her, a valid emotion that brings to mind that famous quotation by Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Moved by Carrie’s honest attitude towards her word, I chose one for myself.

My word is “bound”.

I chose it for precisely the ambiguous impression it gives when you look at it and wonder why anyone would choose a word for inspiration that describes limitations. Boundaries. Restrictions.

What I found surprising though, is that among the many definitions the Canadian Oxford Dictionary for this word, the very first one is “spring, leap…walk or run with leaping strides”. Another definition is “moving in a specified direction, or toward a specified goal”.
I am planning to do all those things this year. I have some long term goals and will continue to develop short term ones as I go. I plan to do more actual walking or running with leaping strides this year than I have in the past, possibly on trails yet to be discovered. I have determined that my sundry muscular and plantar complaints might slow me down, but they will not stop me.

A recent article in the Globe and Mail about the science of endurance investigates the relationship between mind and muscle (making my last blog post somewhat prescient, I thought). One of the subjects of the article is an adventure racer, Simon Donato, who hosts a reality show called Boundless. Mr. Donato speaks of redefining personal limits in order to achieve the push needed to overcome obstacles—mental and physical. I am hoping to redraw some of my own athletic boundaries this year, in both arenas.
As for a specified goal, it is not lost on me that “bound” can also describe what is done to a book after it is printed. I am under no unrealistic expectation that there will be a published book written by me leaving the loading docks this year, bound for Indigo; but I know that there will be a finished manuscript, if only in a binder. This is my specified goal; beyond that, we shall have to see.

I can’t ignore the second definition of the word, which is “a limitation, a restriction”.
This year more than others, I am bound by some realities. Since I left full time work in the corporate world last year, our family no longer has a comfortable buffer in our income, so travelling to far-off venues for exotic athletic events is on hold for the time being. I will get back to Ironman and to romantic cycling locales soon, even if I have to, as my friend Pam offered, “hold a bake sale”, but this year I will be staying close to home. My aim will be to succeed within the tangible limitations that influence and sometimes overwhelm me.

Bound for trails yet to be discovered 
The COD’s last meaning for “bound” has several variations. One, “required, obligated”, reminds me that my success in any of the goals for which I am bound is tied, more than anything, to my dedication to that goal.
This—my “bounden duty and service”, as the Book of Common Prayer so elegantly puts it—is something that no talisman, no motto, no inspirational quote can supply. It will arrive only from deep within, or it will not arrive. The degree of my dedication towards my goals will either result in my spending the year bound by constraints, or bound for greatness.