So it has been a very long time since I have had the chance to even sit down and put fingers to keys. The end of the school year is always a time of immense chaos. There are recitals, band concerts, gardens to put in and work obligations. Throw in Dr's appointments and lot clearing and what you get is pure exhaustion. But today, is a day just for me. I have no where to be, heaps to do but I'm ignoring that, and I am going to spend the day doing whatever it is I want to. Much too much time has passed lately where I am running here and there and everywhere, and tomorrow will once again be one of those days where I actually have to physically be in 2 different places at once at the same time. Haven't figured that out yet, but I am not going to worry about it today.
So today is about quiet, reflection and taking a good hard look at what is giving me fulfillment and happiness and what isn't. As you all know by now, nature is my happy place. It's where I go to find peace and tranquility and how I center back to what's important. It's where I can hear my thoughts again and see with more clarity the way my life should be. This past weekend we finally took our canoe out for it's maiden voyage and I can' t even begin to describe to you how very happy this made me. All problems vanished with the first dip of the paddle.
Our recreational property is located on a lake that is suitable for paddling only, so as you head out on the water there is nothing but silence. There is no traffic, roads or loud engines, only the sound of the water lapping against the sides of the boat and wind whispering through the trees. We surprised a loon as we paddled around the corner of an island and she rose up on her haunches and let out the typical loon cry. We passed an active beaver lodge and followed a river up to a perfect fishing hole where the trout were literally jumping out of the water. We found out later this lake is stocked with fish so it looks like there are many days ahead of fishing in that idyllic little spot.
Because life has been so hectic and crazy, my ability to stop and enjoy the moment is becoming a difficult thing to do. I don`t want to fall back in to that way of life that just does not bring me any personal fulfillment. Taking the time to sit back and relax and just be are so important, and I really need to refocus and spend as much time as I can paddling, fishing, stopping to enjoy a sunset and sipping a nice cool glass of wine around a crackling fire. That is my personal bliss.
Life is a funny thing. We all have our own journeys to make, and even though we make those journeys with other people by our side, whether it be a spouse, friends, family or children, really our own destiny and our own thoughts are just that. Our own. No one can change your inner thoughts and feelings, and no one can really completely know how things are for you. This just isn`t possible. So your own inner dialogue is yours alone and only you have the power to change it. I read an interview with Eckhart Tolle this morning on the Huffington Post website which I will quote here as it made a tremendous impression on me:
``Thought can be so seductive and hypnotic that it absorbs your attention totally, so you become your thoughts. When you become your thoughts, that is the ego. To realize that you are not your thoughts is when you begin to awaken spiritually. For example, when your mind is very critical of yourself or other people, frequently complaining or berating yourself or creating anxiety by worrying about what might go wrong in the future, this creates a lot of unhappiness. Then you reach a point where you ask yourself, what is the root of this unhappiness I feel all the time. And then you may be amazed to realize that in most cases when you are unhappy, you`re not unhappy because of something that`s happening in your life; you`re unhappy because of what your mind is telling you about it. It`s not a situation or an event that makes you unhappy but your mental commentary about it, the voice in your head. When you realize that, that`s when you begin to disidentify from the voice in your head.```
I really love what he has to say, because I really feel in life we have the ability to change our paths. I`m not saying it`s happy go lucky all the time, and in fact from human suffering often comes immense change, but I do think we can control how we approach a situation, how we find forgiveness instead of hanging on to what we perceive as wrong doings and how we can make changes to live a life in the present.
This is something I really need to work on as I have been swept up in to the crazy, chaotic life as working mother once again. But even though at this point I need to do that, I can find ways of being present in the moment, even when I`m doing something I don`t really want to do. And when I do get those moments, in the canoe, or casting a line or just listening to the silence of the night broken only by the mournful cry of a loon as the stars flicker above, I am going to savor and enjoy everything around me. That my friends, makes life worth living.
Thursday, 1 May 2014
I love this picture for so many reasons.
In life there are so many responsibilities. We have to provide for ourselves and our families. Go to work, extracurricular activities, volunteer, keep up the house, grow the garden, make supper, eat healthy, worry about money, friends, funerals, weddings, familial obligations. But when I look at the picture above, that is what I want my life to be and what I aspire to achieve. Total freedom. Now, I'm not saying that I don't want all the above responsibilities. In fact, I thrive on most of them (funerals being the exception, especially if its mine) But I want those things that I'm responsible for to be in the right balance, so that I may feel in life the way that picture makes me feel.
Working in long term care day after day I am witness to where the journey ends for people. The life they have lived is mostly just a memory, and their reality now is not ideal. It is a constant reminder of why it is so important to make every second count which is hard to do when we have obligations and jobs to do. In life we are constantly tasked with things that if given the choice, we wouldn't do. That's just life. But I truly believe we have control over what brings us joy and happiness.
For me, my big hurdle in life is stress and the inability to say no. When I agree to do something that I don't want to do but feel obligated to do it, I am racked with stress and resentment. So much so that it can consume me at times. But if I say no to something, then I am overwhelmed with guilt and feelings that I'm being selfish for saying no. Can you see the problem here? It's a damned if I do, damned if I don't scenario. So what I'm really working on these days is trying to recognize that it isn't selfish to say no. There shouldn't be any guilt attached to myself not wanting to do something just because someone wants me to. The same goes for expectations. Why should I allow someone else's expectations of me become more important than the expectations I have for myself? When I think of it in these terms it becomes clear to me that there is no reason to ever commit or do something that you don't feel is the right thing for yourself.
Writing this blog has been a great thing for me. It's allowed me to get my artist juices flowing in a way that I never imagined. I know its not the best writing, but it's me. It has given me the courage to have a good hard look at my life and what I want it to be and most of all have recognized who is in this life along side me to be the best that we can all be and who isn't.
Creating personal freedom is not about turning my back on my responsibilities, but it is about making my journey in life mine. No one is going to live my life but me so I shouldn't allow any one else to do so. I love my husband and my children and they are my joy and my freedom. So even though I go to work sometimes wishing I was anywhere but there (as we all do sometimes) the result of that work day is the ability to provide for what brings me joy and that gives me pleasure. But worrying about what any one thinks of me and my idea of life and the way I live it or want to approach it shouldn't be my concern. And for too long I've allowed it to be this way.
So here's to personal freedom and satisfaction. I am leaping off my rock in to the wild blue yonder. Let's see where it takes me.