What ignites your Enthusiasm?

  • Post category:Spirituality

Recently, Josh my 28-year-old grandson, who is currently living in Tasmania texted me asking: “What are some of the things that ignite your enthusiasm and give you fulfilment in your life at the moment Parps?”

Without thinking I whipped back a response – “gardening and wild sex!” But I did add that it was a great question and that I’d give it further thought!

I kept my word, and I was surprised to come up with such a long list.

As it is nearly Christmas again, (and I’m still here after nearly two and a half years of living with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer), I thought it might be worth sharing these thoughts with you.

Perhaps you might take time to reflect on what ignites your enthusiasm and gives you fulfillment in life too. It was a very meaningful exercise as it helped me to identify and reframe some of the difficulties I had faced throughout the year while undergoing intense chemotherapy and radiation.


1. Meaningful conversations with Nins.
‘Nins’ is the grandies name for Angela. I’m really blessed to have a partner of 54 years who shares similar values, beliefs and philosophies. Our daily conversations over many years always include sharing and exploring deep and profound topics which certainly provide meaning, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose to my life. They also keep me grounded!


2. Sharing time with my immediate family.
Comprising my daughter, son-in-law, 3 grandchildren, son and some of my wider family. This has been big for me. We’ve been fortunate in the past few years to live close to one another and sharing time in the form of weekend roasts, after work chats, coffees and going on excursions together are special.  It’s easy to take close family connections and relationships for granted. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have them. I also love it when our son rings us from Queensland and chats away – often for half an hour or more as he travels home from work.Sharing time with my close family also includes three beautiful Golden Retrievers – Quindy, Inji and Bowie in Queensland.  We get lots of videos and photos from all of them. For me, there’s something special about dogs. They teach us a lot about unconditional love. They are so responsive, unconditional, loving, and intuitive.  I’m convinced that they sense my medical condition and seek me out for “special attention”.

3. Having meaningful 1/1 conversations with people who show up in my life.

I enjoy the company and camaraderie of my golfing mates and friends but it’s the opportunity to ‘get real’ and have genuine conversations that really aligns with my purpose of ‘Igniting Enthusiasm’ and provide fulfilment and meaning. Everyone has such an interesting ‘story’ and everyone has ‘stuff’ going on in their lives.  When others trust me enough to share their deepest thoughts and feelings, I feel really privileged to be able to share in their life in this way – sometimes leading to a coaching and mentoring conversation. So, looking out for the well-being of my friends and encouraging them especially when they’re doing it tough and when life throws them curve balls (as it invariably does) is extremely fulfilling.4. Reading- with a growth mindset
Increasingly I enjoy reading spiritual and philosophical books that explore in depth issues about life and living. I’m blessed in that I still have a growth mindset and love to learn and keep on developing myself. I also love good fiction and historical novels. What really ignites my enthusiasm is continuing one of my important missions of helping people to ‘wake up’ so they can understand what reality is and what is illusion. Part of that is helping others understand who they really are.Chapter 2 of my book ‘Broken to Whole’, explores our ‘true’ identity – the difference between the True Self and the False Self. It’s not an easy place to go with most people, but when conversations naturally lead to this, I find it really rewarding – especially when a light bulb moment happens and when they see the world through the eyes of ‘love’ (oneness) and not ‘fear’ (separateness).5. Eating outGoing to eat out occasionally both at restaurants but mainly to someone else’s place is uplifting. I love sharing time and food with a few friends. It doesn’t happen all that often, but it certainly is something that I really enjoy – good food and good conversations with interesting people.6. Music
Music is part of our household every day. It’s amazing to have such a wide range of music available from a simple voice command (Hey Google…Play…).  It’s not any music that gives me fulfillment and pleasure.  Interestingly, I stop and ask myself ‘what would feed my soul right now?’ I wait for the answer, and it nearly always comes. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when our body, mind and spirit know what we need.

7. Gardening
I love to spend time every day in our garden. In the past year or so, gardening (including the growing of vegetables) has become a very meaningful pastime for me. I enjoy all aspects of gardening – planting, pruning, nurturing, weeding, fertilising, and harvesting are very grounding and certainly ignite my enthusiasm. Having beautiful flowers to look at and pick and to see the joy that colour brings to Angela’s life is very rewarding.  Even more so, being able to harvest fresh whole food from my own garden is awesome.  Gardening is also a great metaphor for life and living as is well known.
8. Sport
I enjoy lots of sport. The only one I play now is golf and as frustrating as it is, I really enjoy competing against myself. I also enjoy the camaraderie of my golfing mates.  I play in two social groups and after 9 holes we meet up at someone’s place for drinks and nibbles and a lot of banter and laughter. It’s great to laugh! I’m conscious of not doing enough of it, as the medical merry-go-round can become all-consuming if you let it.  Watching cricket and AFL occupy quite a bit of my time also. I love to see men and women exhibit their skills and keep striving to be the very best they can be in their chosen sport.
9. Writing
It’s quite some time since I’ve written a blog or an article and several years since I wrote my last book.  Having peripheral neuropathy, and ‘chemo brain’ have made it difficult as has ongoing chemotherapy and recent radiation. These are just excuses I know! I would love to get back into writing again. Even writing this piece has been mentally challenging, but rewarding in many ways.
10. Reframing and Gratitude

Another intangible activity that gives me meaning and great fulfilment is reframing all the negative stuff and putting a positive spin on everything.  It is so easy to slip into reactive thought patterns. There are times when I do forget and I’m fortunate to have Angela to remind me.In closing I’m aware that my list is not complete. There is nothing about quiet reflection, meditation, prayer, and walking along the beach and fishing, nor is it necessarily in order, but my grandson certainly got me to focus on what I currently think is meaningful and important for me.Thank you for reading this. I hope it has helped you to focus on, and appreciate, the things that ignite your enthusiasm. I also wish you a very peace-filled Christmas and a happy New Year. May you find purpose, peace and fulfillment in 2024.