To Live Is To Work. Tales From The Walk Behind Me, NO.11

The Last Stretch. Arzua, Galicia. Spain.
IN CONTINUATION FROM: SUFFERING, IDEAS OF A GOOD TIME. TALES FROM THE WALK BEHIND ME, NO.10

Where has the time gone…

Well I’m not that surprised, time is the most illusive thing perhaps. Regardless, here we are another year older, another year wiser –maybe.

With respect to this series of blog posts that I have titled “Tales From The Walk Behind Me”, what started off as a goal to edit and publish them within two weeks from March 2020 has evolved to a slow close going into the 4th quarter of 2022 –two years past its origin. And in thinking about it, it sounds like some other all too familiar story that we’ve been hearing about on repeat within that same timeframe.

The last tale (NO.10) was published almost a year ago from today as we’re sitting at the 8 or 9 month point currently. But for anyone out there patiently putting their life on hold for me to drop the next one of these bad boys in the series, I am sorry. I must say, though I’m not sure if anyone is actually reading these, I am all too content to be posting them anyway.

**Insert gratifying sigh here**

But again, time has flown by and the work–my work– has been plentiful.

I have taken a hiatus on everything else, that being creating new notebook designs for my Etsy Shop, dropping new posts on my Instagram channels@ Tikitakamalikilaka / @ Littermature — and of course, keeping up with the enjoyable process of publishing new blog posts for this website. (Littermature.com, In case you didn’t know where you were. It’s okay, it happens.)

Over the past two years, all of my effort has gone into two things:

  1. A children’s book that has been on the backburner since 2017, which I am now on the verge of completing
  2. A journaling crash course to which I can now say is released and out there for the world to take on.

To plug it in

“Make It Stick, Write It Down: A Journaled Philosophy. A crash course journaling philosophy that can help transform your life into an empowered quest for happiness, purpose, and deeper meaning.”

My God, am I sick of saying that!

Well, not really. Sick of typing it is more like it, as I have been tediously updating the links and informational landing pages on this blog since releasing it earlier this month.

And since I’ve intrigued you, here is the promotional video I have made to compliment the course that is available now on Udemy.

CLICK HERE to learn more

Going forward, let me tell you a little back story into it.

Initially, I first wrote Make It Stick, Write It Down: A Journaled Philosophy in 2019 that was released as an ebook/audiobook just before the pandemic kicked itself off.

Soon after moving to England in September 2020, I felt it necessary to outline a more detailed crash course to expand on the original 18 chapters behind the philosophy depicted in the original material. And of course, what started as a small evolution naturally expanded into a bigger one that took nearly 2 years to complete up until this point.

Even still, there are some after the fact finishing touches that I’d like to make, but the work is done, and I am happy and excited to share the material that has been produced.

To tie everything together, the Make It Stick philosophy was a life long creation, however, it came to fruition with explicit clarity soon after completing my last Camino pilgrimage in 2019, which is where these Tales From The Walk journal entries stem from.

Full Circle

To come full circle then, this blog post here right now epitomizes the necessary labouring that I’ve endured to produce the content over these last two years. Here we are then, talking about it with a philosophical thought that preceded it, but has now succeeded it entirely in its reflection.

Does that last statement even make sense?

I don’t know, but I’m sure there is a proper word or phrase to describe exactly what has happened within the reference, but my thesaurus skills are at bay right now as I prepare to seek refuge for the night.

So Goodnight.

And Good morning.

I am now back up to write again in the wee hours of the morning to finish off these next few sentences before setting off to work.

You see, this is my life now:

Wake up, make my coffee, get onto my personal work– crash course, children’s book, blog, or whatever the next step is. Then I go to my day job. Afterwards, I go for a run or have a workout–or both. Then it’s time for dinner followed up with some more computer work if my timing permits it. Finally, I go to sleep only to wake up at 6am again to another coffee, and more computer work before heading off to my day job again to continue the cycle.

This alone doesn’t fully capture the tediousness of most days, especially without pointing out all of the general chores that life has to offer us daily, which we are all obligated to.

Regardless, if it sounds tiring, it is. I’m tired all the time.

But this isn’t a complaint.

Because in saying that some days most days are totally exhausting, my mind and emotional spirit feels extremely resilient.

Mostly, I feel content and very happy, and the exhaustion is a natural byproduct of a solid effort to pursue my personal goals and ambitions wholeheartedly.

Rest is illusory, as we seek and crave it all too often. And as mentioned in Make It Stick Write It Down, with rest we grow restless as we seek to eventually exhaust ourselves further….

We have an impression that we work to build up a security so that we may one day rest,
where we can one day stop “working” – The age old fantasy in retirement.

But that day will never come, because we are here to toil in work, to put effort into, to overcome, and exhaust the time in our day— To slumber, to wake, to repeat our work yet another day.

When our journey is done, and we’re ready for rest, we grow restless because we have no “work” left.

In which case, we burn to embark towards new journeys to work on, and quest until our time is up— Until we come to meet our true rest that comes with our deaths

– G. Kourtesiotis, Make It Stick, Write It Down: A Journaled Philosophy. (2019)

Currently at the ripe old age of 33, i am still very young.

Clearwater Lake, 2019. British Columbia, Canada.

But in looking back on my even younger years, this is all I could’ve asked for–to feel totally satisfied with my life path and journey.

The link between meaningful work and personal satisfaction–“happiness” if you will– is one that can’t be understated. And truthfully, this is what sits at both the core of the Make It Stick journaling philosophy, and the main point to emphasize within the context of this blog post.

Right, I wont delay things any longer to let you get on with reading further, and on with your time –If you wish.

Let’s move on!

The following is Number 11 of 14 in the series of blog posts called “Tales From The Walk Behind Me”.

If you’re new to these, it is a series of originally journaled entries through a few of my days —events, experiences, thoughts— along the Camino De Santiago.

If you missed part one, here it is — Click Me!

This was my second Camino that took place over 26 days through September to October, 2019 that covered 1010+km along the Camino Norte route, including Muxia-Finisterre.

This is my standard cut and paste disclaimer from the tale before, I will give you the bit of warning because it might not be what you expect– my thoughts can be ugly because I’m a weirdo.

Furthermore, the content will vary, and the timelines will be all over the place because my mind loves a wild goose chase.

You also may question my own benevolence as a human being.

Life is all about work, Here is no. 11…

EN ROUTE CAMINO NORTE – o pedrouzo, galicia. SPAIN.

MONday September 23, 2019.

Camino Norte merging into the Camino Frances. Arzua, Galicia, Spain.

En route to grab hold of the Camino Frances. I’ve been here before, and here we are again as I chase down my goal.

Right here, right now, I make note of this on my phone as I close in on reaching Arzua:

This looks like a vacation, but it’s not–It’s not ignorant bliss– because I am out here intentionally working on my lifestyle.

This is work!

I am on the brink of approaching Santiago.

Walking about today, my mind reminisces over conversations of the past.

Although this was a long time ago, words can really burn themselves into you sometimes. What I recall is having had a close friend comment to me about my work ethic regarding my time in university, and playing varsity football.

At the end of the day, it didn’t matter so much as to what he was saying, but what bothered me most is that it came from a place of assumption. In that, he assumed to know what my experience was and where my intentions were coming from in my choices, all while comparing them to his own experience, his own choices, and ultimately, his own efforts.

But YOU be the judge, because he said something like this:

“There is no real sacrifice there–It’s not work! You’re out there partying and playing football.”

An old friend

Well yes, maybe he was right— but only partly.

There were many perks and fun memories that were made through those years that can look “loose”. And though I did spend a fair bit of time in bars and at parties, that did not mean that I was aimless, or undisciplined during that era in time.

Truthfully, there was substantially more time and more work being put into my aspirations to become a professional football player, than a professional partygoer. Afterall, you don’t just get to the big stage overnight, because like anything else, the work to reach that particular pedestal was laced with years of commitment, and effort.

Of course, anyone who looked in from outside of that circle wouldn’t realize what kind of work really went into it. Because like most things, you wouldn’t know what it’s really about until you’ve been there yourself.

“Sea of Purple”WLU Vs Queens, 2009. View This Post On Instagram

So how can we define work then?

Blood, sweat, and tears. That’s how!

If you throw in the word sacrifice, well you’ve really got your plate full because shit gets hard!

With regards to my friend… Well, I can see where he was coming from, because from the outside looking in everything can look like it’s all fun and games.

We tend to embellish the glamour and excitement in that to others, and as we embellish it, people will dilute our work ethic by placing us in its shadow.

What my friend failed to recognize, is that every path chosen has its own unique set of hurdles embedded within the daily grind to endure, and to persevere beyond it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is wp-1649746307192.jpg
To pay personal tribute to my first Camino pilgrimage in 2018, I stayed here for the second pilgrimage in 2019 as well. O Pedrouzo, Galicia. Spain.

For me, the personal grind and work that was part of my everyday as a defensive lineman meant many hours of physical training–on and off the field, hungover, injured, in pain, or sober and rested.

In season, game days were typically played on Saturday mornings sometime, and post-game meant a solid night out at the local bars/clubs. Sure, the stereotypes were all there with the typical university experience, because there was loads of alcohol to be drunk, and I also happened to like the drink.

Win or lose, drunk or not– we were all expected back out on the field at 9am on Sunday morning for field sprints. If we were late, we were punished with pushups, burpees, or more sprints. If someone slept in or didn’t show up, we were punished at the next days practice. See, the accountability of one individual fell upon the entire team, so it was a big deal to be late or to not show up at all.

Overall, the sprints weren’t meant to be particularly hard, they were intended to be more of a recovery session post game day. That did not make them any easier, because you were either extremely sore, injured, hungover, or even still drunk. And surely, there were some days where the coaches wanted to push across a more vindictive message if they were particularly dissatisfied with our performance, or general behaviour.

Sunday sprints following Halloween weekend was most amusing, because there was always someone to show up partly in their ridiculous costume, or with loads of make up that was half smeared off –An obvious sign that they didn’t sleep in their own bed the night before.

As we ran up and down the field at 9am inside the walls of our empty home stadium, it was common for guys to spew out whatever greasy meal they wolfed down at 2am, or worse— the sour bile from an empty booze soaked stomach.

Although it sucked in many different ways, this has actually carried forward with me to today. Though I very rarely drink at all these days– let alone to the point of total inebriation— I still don’t lie in just because I am hungover, feeling hurt, sore, or sick. For the most part, I carry on with my routine in going for a run, having a workout, or being active in some way.

Old Habits Die Hard, I guess.

Even if I felt like a big bag of shit before doing so, I found that I always felt better after sweating it out— even if only marginally.

When the running was finished on Sunday mornings, we then proceeded back into the locker room to go over film from Saturday’s game. Here we were criticized, praised, singled out, or humiliated —the camera doesn’t lie.

That was just one day of seven, where practice, training, and film happened everyday.

During the off season, in-gym training happened 3 times a week in the early mornings, alongside conditioning, and speed focused days layered somewhere else between the week. Friday, was a two-a-day, which meant an early morning gym workout followed up with an afternoon on-field practice.

That was the extent of the organized team stuff, but I was a lineman… I lived in the gym and included more gym training to supplement anything that was missed with the team stuff, or included more HIIT workouts to try and reduce my waistline.

19 years old, 290lbs. -Off Season, 2008.

Academics were also still in the picture, lectures, studying, assignments, and exams filled in the remainder of the schedule.

All in all, this isn’t to boast about the difficulty of my schedule… It’s not about that, the point is to illustrate that this was part of my everyday. It was the regular thing for me to do, and it wasn’t necessarily something to talk about with any friends outside of that circle who weren’t aspiring varsity athletes– because they just wouldn’t get it.

Back then, my friends words agitated me greatly, but I understand personalities and perspective a lot better these days.

Let’s Bring us back.

But guess what, the hard work payed off and that experience is always there for me to reap.

And though my 15 minute of fame were short lived, you don’t get a crack at the professional stage without some form of strict discipline and sacrifice.

CFL stint: Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs Toronto Argonauts, 2011.

Run and stride!

Everything that I’ve done in my life that was, or is worth having requires a running motor to work. And sometimes, that means keeping a running motor going even when the tank has gone bone dry.

If that is not work? –Tell me then, what is!

Let’s not be petty by comparing apples to oranges, it doesn’t matter what you’re working on, or working for.

What matters is tenacity, persistence, and effort.

Tenacity to overcome the obstacles in your way with heartfelt, but ugly and brutal aggression. A strong effort that is backed by deep understanding, and meaning. And, a strict persistence to keep pace until the job gets done.

right here, right now!

Dialed In. Arzua, Galicia. Spain.

From the outside looking in at me today, am I out here escaping real life, or aimlessly chasing an experience through this so called vacation?

Here, let me let you in so you can look out from within:

I am out here putting in work with every literal step that brings me one step closer to my goal –1000 kilometers on foot.

Sure, some steps are satisfying with joy, happiness, and pleasure as my eyes reap in the marvel of the beautiful Spanish coast line, its rolling scenery, and countryside hills.

Truthfully, those steps are far and few in between.

The reality is that most of these steps are ugly, drawn out, miscalculated, and painful. But these are the steps that have done most of the distance in the pursuit of success and the accomplishment of my dreams, my goals, my vision –The vision of my life.

This is what I want to be about!

So say what you will if you’re going to say it, but this shit is work. And, it cultivates a certain mindset to take away with all of the symbolism and metaphors to carry it forward with you into the next endeavor, or project, or experience, or obstacle.

This is why what you are working on or for doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter in the sense that your work could be anything. What matters is that it matters to you, and that you can see a “why” in your work as you commit yourself to pursue that goal!

Perhaps what matters most in your “why” is your ability to be tenacious and persistent in your effort to get whatever that work is… done!

End,

G. Kourtesiotis.

Stay Tuned For Tale #12

Littermature


start here, Tale #1: TALES FROM THE WALK BEHIND ME, NO.1 – SKIPPING THE UGLY OUT OF LIFE.

read the camino journey blog post: IN THE PRELUDE OF EXPERIENCE: INTENTIONS OF A CAMINO, 1010+ KM ON FOOT FROM THE HEELS OF FRENCH AIRSPACE TO THE LIP OF SPANISH WATERS. PT. 1.

Self Help Journaling

Ebook, Audiobook, Journaling Crash Course

Make It Stick, Write It Down. A Journaled Philosophy.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

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