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|
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.
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.