Choosing to live

Posted on November 12, 2013

Untitled 4Just last week, a friend told me about a book he was reading called Choosing to Live by Davey du Plessis. “You must read it after me,” he said. “You’ll love it. I’ve read the first 50 pages and I’m gripped…” And then in a moment of complete serendipity, I noticed that on my first night back in Durban, my new favourite yoga studio, The Breathing Space in Glenwood, was hosting a talk by no other than Davey du Plessis. Needless to say, I was there!

Davey is a plant-powered adventurer, environmentalist and author aka he had us both at ‘hello!’ In 2012, he set off on a planned five month, 4,000 mile expedition down the Amazon. Two months in however and he was attacked, shot three times and literally left for dead.

During the talk he recounted his journey, sharing the events that led to and followed the shooting. His story is captivating but I won’t share it. Read the book or catch a talk to hear from the man himself.

What I will share though is what I took away from the evening… the nuggets that shall remain with me long after the details of the shootings themselves.

Hope changes everything

Davey talked about how it is very difficult to remain positive when you lose hope. In any life situation, however dire things may seem, it is hope that becomes the tiny sliver of light that lies at the end of a long, dark tunnel. It is hope that gives us the strength from within to fight for our lives, take one step further, breathe another breath… It made me think about Rich Holland, the awesome Rich Holland, who continues to battle every day post his tragic cycling accident, at home in Cape Town where Davey now lives. It was nearly a year ago when I wrote a post about a fundraiser evening for Rich in Dubai when I realised the true power of hope.

Connect & accept

Davey talked of the importance of acceptance. I guess I write about this a lot, the idea of surrendering. In fact, the last time I wrote about the importance of surrender, in yoga and in life, was after a class at The Breathing Space where the talk took place. Throughout our lives, we’re faced with a never-ending series of challenges. We need to learn to find perspective, embrace the situation and then make the conscious decision to accept.

Passion for compassion

During those fateful hours in the Amazon jungle, Davey learnt the true meaning of compassion. The local communities who helped get him to aid and eventually to a hospital in Lima, the simple touch of a woman that gave him the lust not to lose hope, those who came to his rescue by paying for his surgery thanks to his darling mum and the powerful viral nature of social media. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, compassion is a verb and in being compassionate to others, all barriers from language, culture and background are firmly broken.

All power to being plant-powered

I love nothing more than hearing of brilliant adventurers and athletes who are powered purely by plants. It was after all, the likes of Rich Roll, Scott Jurek and Matt Frazier who first inspired me to take the plunge. And of course Deon, the greatest (athlete) of all! Anyone who thinks that living a life devoid of animal products makes you incapable of endurance sports is so wrong. So wrong! In fact, I’ve never felt so strong, capable and empowered in my life.

The talk ended but the connection did not. In fact, I know already that our lives will weave in and out of each other, in some capacity going forward. How and to what extent remains an unanswered question. But as Davey said himself, and I wholeheartedly agree, questions are wonderful and so very powerful. We must never stop questioning, ever….

Over & out


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