The Paddy Plan: Mourn, Grieve, then Bike 6,211 Km

Following the death of her husband, Henry Quiring, Paddy Quiring cycled, walked, and jogged 6,211 km across Canada. Her amazing adventure was a part of a healing, learning, and growing journey she has been on for decades.

Watch Paddy Quiring and Walter Janzen describe their cross Canada journey in this video by Andre Amyot (there’s a bit of a preamble by Andre):

You have to love the nonchalant, egoless way Paddy talks about the 6,211 trip. It’s as if she was describing something far less significant, like taking her cat to the vet or going to the store. No! She’s describing biking all the way across the world’s second biggest place: Canada! (And you gotta love the name of the van! – Paddy Wagon)

And she did it, she says, because she didn’t want to sit around feeling sorry for herself. RWalkthenation.ca explains further that she wanted to “raise awareness and bring people together so that those who suffer with emotional, physical and spiritual health problems will have hope of recovery.” (For more about Paddy’s goals and her journey, visit¬†RWalkthenation.ca).

Paddy’s Actions Demonstrate many “Best Practices” For Healing

Paddy demonstrates such wonderful and beneficial ways of facing bad situations: Get up. Do something meaningful. Connect to a cause, community, or faith that is bigger than yourself. If I were to write a “Best Practices Guide” to dealing with crappy situations, those would check off some of the most important boxes.

Action matters. Community matters. Following your dreams, matters – especially during hard times.

But there are a couple of other “Best Practices” that Paddy’s been doing, even before the loss of Henry. And I suspect that she will comment on some of these in the book she’s making with Walter. Those other “Best Practices” have to do with the inner care of the heart, with allowing oneself to grieve and to acknowledge one’s own sorrow. (See also: Anti-Fragility and Becoming a Wounded Healer.)

When you hear that she rode across Canada following the death of her husband, one could mistakenly think that she took action instead of reflecting or mourning. That’s simply not the case. Paddy Quiring is no stranger to doing the hard work of introspection, learning from her struggles, and taking stock. On the RWalk The Nation website, they make it clear that Paddy has soul as well as grit, they say,

“Paddy has engaged in counselling and 12 step programs for the last 25 years. She has also lead groups and is training to be a certified life coach.”

Sounds like a productive combination, doesn’t it?

When you suffer, mourn in your own way, seek good counsel, and join a larger community of people who can understand your story. Take action, as well, in order to rejuvenate yourself and to give back.

And as Paddy demonstrates: Follow your dreams, even if your dream is to travel 6,211 km across Canada!

Thank you Paddy for the inspiration! I will try to put it to work within my own life.

Thanks Mike for sharing the video; thank you Andre for making it.

I look forward to reading the book Paddy and Walter write and photograph. 

“At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable.” – Christopher Reeve


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