by Greg Hire
Life is a journey; we all accept and understand that. Looking back at this journey, it’s quite confronting- knowing the direction I have taken in so many ways. Some have altered my life, whilst others were handled with expectancy and ease. As I progress through this journey, I try to define what is important to me, what I love the most, and what makes me happy. Each one of us has a different set of values on what matters most to them, some signify the value of monetary amounts, whilst others may signify the importance of changing the lives of others.
Whilst it’s easy for some to say that they live life without any regrets, I have to question this statement. I have definitely made many mistakes in my life, and some of those I would try to take back in a heartbeat, but understandably that cannot be done. As I move forward in this journey, I consistently use that energy that could be wasted in ‘living with regret’ for other things, and I see that as a moment where I can become a little bit wiser than I was before.
It’s pretty obvious to me that my sanctuary has always been the basketball court; from an early age I was able to navigate my struggles off the court and use that energy for what I did with a basketball, but what happens when your sanctuary is no longer your safe house? Basketball is my profession, it's my 9-5, and what I do for a living. I’ve been very lucky that one of the things I love has given me so many amazing opportunities – but with that is the fantastic journey of your mind. I’ve experienced roller-coaster highs and lows. I’ve been extremely hard on myself (and still am), have been severely disappointed in my performances, and at times have questioned my ability. I’ve come to realise that every experience is an opportunity to grow. If you choose, it can make you a better person, a stronger minded individual. It propels us further down a path on which we are constantly making a choice over the direction it leads.
So we go back to that question – what do you do when that sanctuary of yours is no longer than that ‘escape’ you can rely on? I spend countless hours at the gym, practicing, playing, watching, learning, and dreaming about basketball; with all that energy it’s important to have an outlet, an expressive form of your inner self, something that invokes your passion. It comes back to ‘Do That Thing That Makes You Smile’, for me it took a lot of exploration to figure out what that really was. It could be the littlest things; it doesn’t have to relate to anything you do every day, preferably it is the furthest from your daily routine… as I delved deeper into this journey of my inner self I came across a quote that resonated with me, ‘Life is not about finding yourself, it is about creating yourself’ (a quote by George Bernard Shaw). Finding yourself is so passive, whereas ‘creating’ yourself gives you ownership over yourself and your present day and future. You get to choose, to ‘create’, to be whatever you want to be … AND you get the responsibility too, to ‘create’ that smile!
For me – yoga is that release, it’s that outlet; it’s that expressive form that demands attention from both my body and mind. Yoga is able to challenge the relationships I have with myself. I find stability, combined with physical complexity, when I practice yoga. Yoga has taught me to be more understanding, patience, and to find that inner peace and happiness. Whilst some may laugh and remark about the ‘hippyness’ of such comments, to me, yoga provides me with confidence. Doing something that you love that lets you escape your current emotional state, making my mind drift and providing nothing but a smile- isn’t that powerful, isn’t that what we all desire?
Drawing, singing, acting, colouring in, meditation- these are all expressive outlets an individual can use to assist in their Mental Illness. Life is a journey, it’s about finding yourself, I love my story, as should you (because why not love what cannot be changed?). For me, I have found that release, so I encourage you to challenge yourself in finding that thing that makes you ‘smile’, and never doubt or question yourself because it’s not ‘cool’, or it will not be appreciated by others. In the end, it’s about personal growth, and doing what’s best for you.
Greg is the founder of 'A Stitch in Time' and the Vice-Captain of the Perth Wildcats; a professional basketball team in Western Australia. A recent Pride of Australia medallist; his passion is working with individuals in trying to better themselves. Through a turbulent adolescence, Greg has been able to reflect on his past and mentor individuals in ways he can relate to.