Some Bow and Some Purge

As I was reminded today, The Confessions of St. Augustine talks about the difference between God and Man. For God, Will and Action are one, they eclipse; Action neatly saddles Will, following its guide and its drive silently and majestically. But for Man, Action has grown distant from Will. Practically two planets orbiting different moons, and thus you may see even a seemingly honorable person’s action disconnected, perhaps even in contradiction with his or her Will. And it is Man’s journey, if he is lucky and enlightened enough to understand, to bring the two close together again.

We are not born in perfect control of the ability to act as our will dictates. Nor has contemporary human learning necessarily helped bring the two better in line; in fact, in youth and early adulthood the two probably grow further apart. But we certainly are capable of remembering the importance of progressively bringing them together again. I say remember, because we all know it, we just seem to have forgotten.

I said this blog would be purely about my training but turns out the most important part of my training was not lifting weights or pulling tires. It was making decisions between bowing or purging when Will and Action contradicted. Without the right decisions I would not arrive at the start line with the mental resolve required to succeed. I said this blog was created to share and help the young people out there who love their homes, countries, families, and cultures, but are also a little different, curious, creative, athletic or otherwise and are looking to relate… And so I have to be explicit about this part of my journey too.

Some people bow down when their surroundings try to create a divide between their own internal Will and Action although they know full well the almost divine importance of bringing the two together. Perhaps it was too hard, or perhaps they just weren’t patient or strong enough to see it through. Perhaps it is easier to believe its ok to bow down in some circumstances, or that their particular load was heavier than everyone else’s. No one’s load is too heavy for him or her to bear, unless they believe it is.

Others attempt to purge when their surroundings try to create a divide between Will and Action. Purge their lives of all the excesses, the unnecessaries, which makes the otherwise clear space between Will and Action, cloudy.

This entire journey from the start was about purging, or cleansing in my normal life. I picked a goal that I believed I would not be successful at unless I purged myself of all the noise, internal and external, that jeapordised my focus, strength, mental resolve, and above all freedom. Such that I arrive at the start line with a light step to my foot and a light load on my shoulders. Purging involved my entire lifestyle such as eating and sleeping habits, schedules, creating personal space, negative thoughts, hang ups… Purging friendships that are fun but little more, purging futile professional relationships and focusing on the most important… But of course as with anything you invite into your life, you never really know what it fully entails until you are on the other side. I asked for help purging, and I ended up purging far more than I expected, than I thought I could.  A teacher once told me never hate anything that comes your way, that you may hate what is in fact a gift. She was right.

This one is for all the people who are and who will be strong enough to purge instead of bow down.



  1. AB on

    Thank you so much Elham for the inspirational words. We all have some goals or desires that we hide and constantly come up with excuses and reasons why they couldn’t be achieved. What you wrote here pulls us from that zone to another one full of positive thoughts and excitement and challenge. Thank you for taking me steps further to one of my goals.

    Following you all the way.

  2. Jon Cachero on

    I admired people who are willing to take the risk and find out what will be the outcome. Just like the quote written in her journal “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go” I believe that any person who dares admirable adventures finds fulfillment. For that I will support you Ms. Elham by spreading your expidition to everybody who may have interest in helping. Good Luck!

  3. Andrew on

    I’m trying to understand the connection between Augustine’s interpretations on the will and purging to your journey. I in no way mean to downplay your impressive accomplishment, but Augustine was more concerned with purging desires as a way of growing spiritually. We may purge our bodies and minds from impurities, distractions and negativity acquired in our youth, as Augustine notoriously said, “God grant me chastity, but not yet.”
    I can only imagine that traveling to the north pole makes an excellent metaphor for life. It has such a clear start and finish with a series of tests in between. But I worry that after accomplishing such a feat, you would only crave to reach more goals. Whether in you personal or professional life, you may have insatiable desire for more, that what you have is not enough. Instead, our daily lives can be an inspiration, can provide us with complete satisfaction.
    Purging is a nobel cause. The temptations of the flesh is a difficult challenge. We are never fully independent from our body, which requires nourishment and sleep. Only few spiritual masters have surpassed this. As such, we may distinguish between the divine will and the human will: the divine is all powerful, the human is weak. Unlike God, we are slaves to the fruits of the earth.
    I very much like the paragraph you wrote that begins, “We are not born in perfect control of the ability to act as our will dictates.” Truly lovely sentiments; we have forgotten our divine nature. That is like a diamond; flawless, perfect, but covered with layers of coal.
    I hope that you discover that diamond and that you may blessed for the rest of your journey.

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This is Elham Al-Qasimi’s journal, kept as she prepares for her North Pole expedition. Keep track of both her preparation as well as her progress during the expedition here.

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Before she sets out on her expedition, Elham has a very busy schedule to follow. Follow a date link to read what she’ll be doing on that day.

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