This blog is for inspiration and wellbeing, and is told from three perspectives. It is about the power of community, the extraordinary heart of people, the knowledge and acquaintance with self, and the deep, visceral and almost indescribable connection with the outdoors. Two of the threads are based on my own experiences, and the third is woven from beautiful stories I have been privileged to have been told. Each has hope and optimism at its core and I hope you enjoy sharing this journey with me. Thank you for being here, you are so very welcome.

Inspiration 1: Broken Varnish – Couch to Ultra

From the chipped and broken varnish on my toes reflecting my damaged psyche in a time of trauma, to the now proudly chipped varnish of feet that are being regularly shoe-horned into a trainer! This is the story of the positive impact of running, and how it opens up a world of community and connections – both with people and nature. It’s about adventures, near-death experiences with cows, friendships, laughing, crying, achieving and trying. It is about the wonderfully persistent seed of an idea that wants to take me one day from a couch potato to an ultramarathoner, no matter how much my toes protest. The route will not run smooth, but it will run true, and it is paved with hope.

Inspiration 2: Taking the Plunge

This blog charts my unexpected foray into open water swimming! When injury prevented running for a while, I looked for another way to experience the intoxicating mix of freedom, headspace, belonging, purpose, challenge, effort and reward, and had the quite frankly insane idea of jumping into freezing lakes. This gave me the mental release that I had found in running, something that was wholly for me in the moment, that provided the meditative benefits derived from focus, and made me face and overcome fears. It is about the magic of the ripples when you throw the pebble into the pond, the butterfly effect of taking tiny steps, and a celebration of the humour, humanity, hope and heart that penetrate our blankets of fear, cynicism and sarcasm even at the toughest times. So with scratchy towel under arm and foggy goggles in hand, come dive with me!

Inspiration 3: Amrutha Tales – The Art of Storytelling

I chose ‘Amrutha’ as it is a beautiful name of Indian origin meaning ‘nectar of immortality’ in Hindu mythology, as the Gods who drink it are said to be bestowed with eternal life. It is associated with the Goddess Lakshmi who is attributed the divine power to transform dreams into reality and to show you the path to your goals. These tales are a collection of stories about ‘ordinary’ people who are anything but – who make dreams reality, illuminate paths, and reflect eternal themes of courage, love and positivity. Some are tales of people I know and who have shared their stories with me, some are people I have encountered because of what they brought to the world – perhaps a special community that I was lucky enough to stumble across. Some are tales of people I have never met, their stories passed to me by others through the age-old word-of-mouth tradition. These are reflections of experiences, journeys and conversations that I feel privileged to share. They can be funny, poignant, many with an element of heartache, but all bound with warmth and strength.

Every single person on this world has a true and extraordinary tale to tell. The Amrutha Tales are a tiny slice.

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