Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Today is a new day.  Today, I will just ramble a bit and see where it takes me.  Touch base on some things I've brought up in other blogs but never pursued.

At the conference where the speaker spoke on how changing your thought pattern, could change your entire life, I approached her; told her a bit of my story and journey through healing; how I was not the same person as before. I enquired if she had ever seen that happen in her counselling practice.  She answered, guardedly, that, yes, she had seen it happen and added this disclaimer.  BUT it takes hard work.

She ain't just a whistlin' dixie.  (Those of you in the South - and I don't mean Southern Ontario - will understand this phrase intuitively. Those of you in other places may have to look it up to understand.)  Lifestyle change - real change that endures - IS hard work.  Very hard work.  There are no magic wands.  There are no panaceas or placebos.  It's gut-wrenching, time-consuming, hard work.  It's work that needs active support and encouragement from friends, family and, most importantly of all, your counsellor.

Although there have been amazing changes - as well as challenges - the work is not done yet.  It's an on-going work in progress.  Or rather, I should say that I'm an on-going work in progress.  Another fallacy busted.  Like the old proverb about a woman's work never being done, so it is with emotional healing.  One victory leads to another challenge, eventually leading to another victory - IF and only if the adventurer keeps on.

Although I worked a full-time job during the majority of this time, making major lifestyle changes, working towards emotional healing and well-being is, in itself, a full-time job in and of itself.  Albeit one you don't get paid for.  Ahhhh , but the benefits are so much richer than money.  Far more enduring.

A misconception is that once these major lifestyle changes have been put in place; the person lives in a la-la land of happiness all the time.  Nirvana.  Bliss. Bad things don't happen to that person anymore.  Hogwash!  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Life goes on.  Good things happen.  Bad things happen.  The daily grind is ... the daily grind.  People say things or do things that hurt you.  Life is an on-going process.  Unfolding one day at a time.  Healing is an ongoing process.  Unfolding one event, one challenge, one victory, at a time.

Embarking on our first canoe camping adventure - 2007
 A year into my journey of healing, I was feeling good.  So good, in fact, that I thought that I had arrived.  Reached the pinnacle of healing.  I was wrong.  I had reached a pinnacle - yes.  But it turned out to be the first pinnacle in a succession of pinnacles - each one a bit taller and more challenging than the last.  I had not arrived at that point of complete healing where there was no more work to be done.  I had reached the starting point in what has become a progression of points - or highlights - in my adventure.  At the time the above picture was taken, I was feeling comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.

My relationship with Papa Bear was changing.  I was learning to honour, value and respect him and finding tangible ways to do that.  He, in turn, was responding whole-heartedly to my initiative.

My first ever, canoe camping adventure at the tender age of 58 was a result of the first year of my adventure in healing.  I didn't want to go.  Papa Bear did.  We researched on the net.  We talked about things.  Both of us compromised.  The result?  I had a great adventure with Papa Bear (the only kind of bear I want to see when back country camping) who was fast becoming not only my best friend, but a trusted one at that.  I wanted to do this again.  I was becoming hooked on back country camping.

 So in 2008, at the still tender age of 59, I embarked on my 2nd canoe camping adventure.  Same companion for Mama Bear.  New, improved companion for Papa Bear.  Again, it showed.

The work hadn't stopped in 2007, it had merely continued forward.  Life was continuing on the healing track.  I was enjoying life for the first time.  Working on different things.  Continuing to grow.  Continuing to follow this path unfolding before me just to see where it would lead me.  Continuing to work on my relationship with my family.  Continuing.   The key word:  continuing.

Canoe camping adventure #3.  60 years old.  Finding life continuing on the healing track.  More lessons learned in the year between the last adventure and this one.  The relationship with Papa Bear growing in depth, day by day, week by week, month by month.  The path continues on.  I cannot see where it is going.  I only know to follow it.  With God leading, with God walking beside me, with God walking behind me - covering my "six",  I keep following the path.  My personality, long submerged deep within me, starts to reinsert itself as evidenced in the whimsical photo on the left.  I have come to treasure those times of silence, solitude and tranquility (for the most part) in the back country, just the three of us:  hubby, myself and God.
And then came canoe camping adventure #4, 2010, age 61.  Not what I expected.  The two previous years, we enjoyed beautiful weather.  2010, it rained.  It rained some more.  And more.  We were wet, soggy and cold.  We did see the sun - occasionally.  Very occasionally.  I cannot say that it was a bad adventure.  Just a wet, soggy one.  The growth and learning over the past three years becoming more evident.  While hubby set up the tent, I picked up all the trash from the previous campers and endeavoured to start a fire.  With wet kindling.  Wet everything.  As I set about this self-imposed task, I remembered everything that Papa Bear had told me about starting fires.  First you need the kindling.  So I went into the woods (bush if you're in Canada) and picked up small pieces of wood lying on the ground, exactly what I had watched Papa Bear do on previous trips.  Then I needed a fire starter.  Preferably a dry one.  Again, I remembered what Papa Bear had instructed me previously.  Birch bark - even wet - will ignite.  So off I went again.  This time, on a birch bark finding mission.  Again looking for birch bark that had peeled itself off the tree and was lying on the ground.  I brought back my treasure.  Carefully inserted it into the kindling.  Lit my match.  Put match to fire-starter.  And watched with amazement as the kindling caught.  I had started my first fire.  All by myself.  I was so proud of myself.  It felt good.  Very good.  To actually do something on my own like this for the first time in my life.  The me inside my skin felt very good.  Worthwhile.  Valued.  Loved.  Able.

Again, the road continued.  Not in the direction I had intended it to take.  But, nonetheless, in a good - albeit very painful - direction.  A direction right for me. A direction where I learned things I would never have learned otherwise.  I am determined to keep walking on this path ... determined to find out what is next.

1 comment:

  1. Yay for building your very own fire! That's challenging enough even when it isn't pouring wet! Isn't Dad awesome? :)