Short and Sweet – Algonquin Park Bound

Lynn says and often with prompting from yours truly, that I have many fine and noteworthy traits.

One quality or aspect of my personality which really isn’t so fine, is I often have difficulty making decisions. Deciding what to have for dinner and although it is not necessarily a life altering decision, it can and often leaves me in a somewhat perplexed state. And hungry.

On occasion, the inability to make a decision falls out of my own mental wellness situation during those times. In other instances – who knows.

I can take far too much time, weighting all the pro’s and con’s regarding something I need to decide about, that I never get around to making the freaking decision. In these circumstances, I can often talk myself out of what I may have wanted to do in the first place.

So, why Algonquin Park?

In its infinite wisdom, Ontario Parks hence the government of Ontario(aka “The Doug Ford Dictatorship”) has made it free day use at all Ontario Parks(Monday through Thursday) from May 1 to the beginning of September.

So, if you decide to go to Algonquin Park “with the fam” for the day on let’s say a Sunday, a single one day pass is going to set you back $21 per car. Not much in the big scheme of things, but $21 is still $21.

Seeing as I don’t what to spend $21 on a Sunday, Lynn and I are going tomorrow(Monday when its free) and spend our $21 on something else.

What does this have to do with decision making or lack thereof?

Oh, and here’s a few Algonquin pics…

It took me a long time and much angst to to make that simple freaking decision.

My process to get to this point included these, plus a host of other considerations that are so trivial, I weep thinking about them:

  • what about the weather?
  • what about the bugs?(this is a legitimate concern for June in Algonquin)
  • when will we leave in the morning?
  • you have to work on Tuesday – so don’t be late getting home(not a concern for Lynn)
  • what to bring to eat?(food you dumb ass or buy something or do both)
  • what will we do?
  • I think that’s enough for now

I get that the post seems and has a slight funny/humorous tone to it.

But, my inability to make simple decisions isn’t funny.

Last night(Saturday), I couldn’t decide what get for take-out food for dinner. So, we didn’t have dinner. It felt me feeling exceedingly defeated, depressed and yes – hungry.

Now, I get that where we live, we don’t have a ton of decent restaurants. Other than major chain restaurants and fast-food places.

We got take-out a few weeks back from a locally owned pub/restaurant to help support them during our most recent lockdown – and it was the shittest burger and fries I’ve ever had. It was like they put no friggin’ effort in to making it.

I get that many restaurants struggled and are even now struggling to stay afloat during whatever pandemic restrictions they find themselves under. But, really if you want folks to patronize your establishment, even if it is was take-out during a global meltdown, a bit more effort wouldn’t hurt.

But, that can be another post for another day.

So, on a positive note – we’re Algonquin Park bound for the day tomorrow(Monday).

As much as it is an outing for hiking and exercise. I’m also giving seeing it as a “win” in the mental wellness column.

We’ll let you know how it went!!

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Bloom Where You Are Planted..Is That True?

Last week, I wrote a piece called “Flower In The Lily Pads.” You should go a take a read of it first, because it helps to set the stage for this post. And it would also make me feel good that you did. Two excellent reasons to read it.

The “Lily Pad” post was in a way, a somewhat simplistic look at blooming where you’re supposed to bloom. I gave a couple of examples along the lines of, if you’re called to write, then write like there is no tomorrow.

Although, the illustrations in the post from last week may not the best analogies, I think “blooming where you are supposed to bloom”, is entirely different than “bloom where you’re planted.”

Source: Google Images

Let’s start right off the hopper here, this isn’t a post to poop all over the phrase, “bloom where you are planted.”

But realistically, more often than not, we hear “just bloom where you are planted” as compared to “bloom where you are supposed to bloom.”

Nevertheless, I could go on at length, on the spiritual and biblical significance of the phrase.

Simply search “bloom where you are planted” under Google Images and you’ll get back more quotes, pictures and images to fill a lifetime.

A very simple and overview of the phrase from a biblical perspective suggests the following:

Bloom Where You Are Planted can mean various things depending on its usage

– to be fruitful, blossom, and to become all you were created to be

– make the best of what you have when life throws you lemons

– do what’s right, even when its hard

All of those three points have scripture to back them up.

Okay, I get that you’re likely thinking at the moment, “where is he going with the post or perhaps what is the point of this?”

And for very early on a Sunday morning, that’s a fair enough question.

My point is and it is more of a question to throw out there and it is entirely my own opinion of thought.

Does “bloom where you are planted” set a person up to settle for something less than they are meant to be?

To be honest, I don’t have a clear answer to that. Although, I do have in the pit of my stomach a nagging sense that it does.

Okay, is that is so what is the alternative?

Having given it far less thought than it deserves, because in reality I do think this is a fundamental question surrounding the human condition. So, my perspective leads me to think this:

Are we not supposed to “bloom where you are supposed to bloom?”

“Blooming where you are supposed to bloom” screams of life and living. That there is a true meaning and reason of what we are supposed to be; what is purpose for my life given the short time I may occupy space on this tiny blue planet. “Bloom where you are supposed to bloom” yells out or should yell out, “life isn’t meant to be lived shuffling along, always wishing or thinking – what if?”

It means, find out where you are supposed to bloom; get there and bloom the fu@k out of it.

On the other hand, “Bloom where you are planted” to me suggests, “just make the best of the situation;” “there’s not much if anything you can be about”; “be happy where you are.”And that in many ways from where I am, all of those statements or thoughts, reek of a defeatist smell.

So, there you go.

A question for a Sunday morning.

  • Bloom where you are planted; or
  • Bloom where you are supposed to bloom

Ideas? Thoughts?

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Lack of Wacky Motivation

For the life of me, Ontario has to be one of the wackiest places to live, certainly within Canada. Perhaps even the wackiest spot of the planet.

Yes, I know you are likely sitting in one of your comfy and “oh my god I could live here forever” living room recliners and be thinking, “you have no concept of wacky – let me tell ya.”

Fair enough. And, if you’re telling me that your area of the universe is more wacky than mine, who am I to dispute that?

Nevertheless, wacky tends to be a rather broad word in terms of its definition. In fact, using the word wacky allows one to head off is just about any direction that “wacky” could possibly go.

So, where is this post going?

Excellent question. Glad you asked.

Part of our wackiness(at least from where I sit) stems from our localized weather that can go from snow one day to temperatures in the high 20 degrees Celsius the next.

And along with that, a provincial government that flip-flops more constantly than a fish out of water who’s trying desperately to flop off the dock and back into the lake.

But, putting all of that aside for the moment, for yours truly, the wackiness flows out of the all too often lack of motivation to produce much in terms of creative endeavours – art(drawing and painting) and writing(blogging).

So, perhaps wacky isn’t the correct word or theme for this post.

But, as I sat down this morning to pound out something the on the keyboard, wacky was fortunately or unfortunately the one word or idea that more or less flashed in front of my eyes.

After our daughter headed off the college(like moved out and moved to the east coast), we downsized from our century home to a much smaller and to what is often termed as a “working man’s cottage.” Smaller as in two bedrooms and 750 square feet. I often tell people that our place is so small, that in order to change your mind you have to go outside to do it.

However, it did come with an actual art studio/writing refuge in the backyard.

Now, although the “studio” has electric heat, I don’t normally come out here early in the morning, this is until the weather gets sufficiently warm. which it has been for the past week or so.

This is where I headed this morning at 6:30am to change the environment up to touch to see if a new creative location might help.

Over the past year or perhaps eight months or so, my motivation to certainly write and blog has taken a significant hit. Even when the motivation is there, finding a topic to blabber on about seems almost impossible.

I’m not entirely sure why.

Part of the reason I think is that I’ve created in the neighbourhood of 475 posts since the beginning of 2020. Granted a large number of them have been reblogs from participants in “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” and a few of my own reblogs of previously written pieces.

Nevertheless, it does feel like I drained the “idea well” of things to blog about.

Which isn’t true at all, cause there are a ton of things I would love to delve into blogging wise.

The second thing is I think the pandemic has simply knocked my mental and emotional wellness around at times. Likely, as I suspect it has for many of you as well.

Lynn and I for some reason, just can’t seem to get our bloody act together to schedule a hike or adventure. I understand there have been so many COVID restrictions in Ontario over the past year, that one needs a program and computer spreadsheet to keep track of them.

All of that taken and lumped together has baked itself into this “got no damn motivation” scenario.

So, back to “where is this post going?”

Well, I think the post has taken us to this point and wonderful conclusion.

Certainly, changing up the scenery to get inspired out in the “studio” helped for sure. It must of done something positive, because I wrote this post out here.

Perhaps most importantly, is to remember not to beat oneself up if things aren’t chugging along as they might have been a year and a half or two years ago. Global pandemics are kind of new to all of us and we all have had to navigate through environments and situations that we never had to before.

So, I need to remember to cut myself some slack.

But, in four weeks we’ll be on vacation and that is something to look forward to.

In addition, I’m hoping and praying that we will be able to head to the east coast(at least Nova Scotia) and visit our daughter in the first week of October.

Well, that’s it; that’s all folks; that’s all I got for now.

If you’re in the same boat as me of “diminished blogging and life motivation”, cut yourself some slack. It will all workout in the end.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Finding An Oasis or Investing in Ourselves

I’ll be the first to admit, I’d make a piss poor investment banker or investment consultant. Other than “put a bit away for a rainy day”, that’s all I got.

But, we do need to invest in ourselves though. Yes, money wise but more importantly in our emotional and mental wellness bank. “Emotional and mental wellness bank” – I like that.

I don’t know how many times I’ve either said it; written it; or read it, but our ongoing global pandemic has fu@ked much of what in pre-pandemic times we normally did and took for granted. But, if there was one moment in the history of “us” that could use some investment time – it would be now.

Right this very freaking minute.

I work in a City(I don’t live there though) that has now become the epicentre within Canada in terms of the UK variant of COVID_19.

Even a day or so ago, there was at least one media report(I haven’t seen any others) of the province considering a blockaide by enforcement officials(the police I assume) to restrict access to and from the City, in order to stop people from travelling(for non-essential trips) and moving the variant strain of the virus around – which as already occurred.

So, I guess what I’m getting at is, take the time to recharge; to get away from the madness; to get away from the news(which is hardly ever positive) and just simply find an oasis.

Oasis has two meanings. Both are appropriate, but one is slightly more appropriate:

— a calm, pleasant place in the middle of somewhere busy and unpleasant —

Enough said.

From a while back….

— always; with love —

Someone recently mentioned to me that our lives are a pretty simple process comprised of “eat; sleep; repeat”. They also skillfully slipped in spending countless hours working for someone other than yourself mixed into this particular equation.

Confronted with the magnitude of such enlightenment, a number of concerns popped into my mind when this person uttered this tidbit of wisdom on life.

First and foremost, I wanted to know what hallucinogen, this person was currently riding and secondly, where could I get a decent supply of it.

In my many years trudging across the landscape, we call living, I’m sort of finding that life and living it is a little more complex than “eat; sleep; repeat.”

Yes, just a little more complex.

It is in the complexity and challenge that we need to find a place.

A place for our soul to find refuge and recharge from the trials of life and living. A place where no matter what spins wildly out of control around us, when we get there – “all is good.”

2020o

Many have discovered what is known as a Soul Place. It’s a spot where we feel intrinsically drawn to. Often we don’t know why we are drawn to a particular location(for example the seaside) but we are and once we arrive, we always experience an exceedingly personal and unique feeling of belonging, acceptance, energy and renewal.

Often though, we stumble upon a quiet place of refuge quite by accident.

Several years ago, Lynn and I were hiking along the Bruce Trail in the northern part of Gray County on a hot and humid summer afternoon. It was one of those days when the forest would not give up or even let a gentle breeze caress your sweat-covered skin.

In other words, it was one hot and somewhat miserable afternoon at this point.

As we hiked along across the top of the escarpment face, we came across the tiny waterfall shown in the picture above. Although not tall(with a drop of six to seven feet in total), that cascading water was a very welcome sight for sure.

It gave us the opportunity to splash the cool water on our faces, heads, arms and legs. Not only was there obvious physical relief found in the coolness of the water, but the sound of the babbling stream as it flowed across the escarpment and the slightly heavier splash of the water streaming over the edge of the rock and hitting the bottom soothed and resonated within our spiritual being.

It refreshed physically and refreshed those needs deep within our souls as well. A wonderful place in nature to sit and relax.

DSC_0191

It was an oasis found in the midst of a challenging journey.

Like a challenging hike on a hot and humid summer afternoon, often in life, we need to find refuge in an oasis in order to recharge from the craziness of life that can envelop us from time to time.

That refuge may be as simple as picking up a coffee and heading to a park to relax and reflect on whatever is consuming our thoughts and time.

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It could also be skipping out of work(if that is possible) for a sunny afternoon of skiing at a local ski and snowboard resort here in Ontario. Maybe it is a quick weekend getaway to resort or cabin on a lake. I often simply get in the car and head off for a couple of hours simply driving in the countryside.

The fact of the matter is, your place of refuge or oasis can be anything or any place.

The point is that there will be those times we need to step back from the swirling tornado of life and living that can be buffeting us, to take some “me time” to recharge.

We may think that is time wasted or time that would be better spent trying to corral and suppress the thunderstorm of life brewing overhead.

More often than not, that is the worst approach or solution we can choose to implement. I wrote recently, that when we’re in the middle of a battle, it is hard to know if we’re actually winning the war.

battle

When we step back from the battle for a few hours or a day or two; when the smoke and dust clears; and the craziness subsides, we can see that “the war is winnable(and that we are actually winning) and then what needs to be our next steps.” 

In Canada, as I’m sure in other places throughout the world, we’re getting into tax time. Searching through our files(assuming we have some sort of record-keeping system) and compiling all that is necessary in terms of investments, income and such in order file our income tax information with the government.

Just as investments in terms of wealth and retirement are important, so is investing in ourselves.

A few hours or even simply a day invested in just ourselves is never a bad investment. In fact, it can often be an investment that yields the greatest dividends overall.

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Those few hours or day spent refuelling and recharging in our Soul Place or oasis/refuge, will be the one thing that keeps our most inner being from cracking and crumbling under the strain from the storms that can often slam us as we trudge along through life.

Perhaps right now is the time to find that place; whether by accident or design and to take a few moments of refuge and recharge our soul and mental well-being for the battles ahead.

Invest in yourself today! You’re worth it.

— again – with love always —

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – “Soul Place” – What Are They and Do We All Have One?

It’s early on Friday morning(January 15) and we’re well into Day 2 of “Lockdown Light – Part 3” in Ontario.

The emergency measures put in place by the provincial government indicate(which defines out as merely suggested) that we are to “shelter at home” except for getting groceries; essential work; and medical appointments. There may be a few other items to include on that list, but no one knows what they are.

Needless to say, there has been much confusion throughout our “dear old province” as to what is deemed essential or for that matter “not essential.”

For many of us, we can’t even figure out if we’re allowed to drive 15 minutes to the edge of town to hike along some county forested trail. I think we can, but “what we can do and what we can’t do” – seems to be a moving target at best.

It goes without saying that over the past 10 or 11 months, all of us(including the government) have come to realize the mental health impacts resulting from COVID_19. I assume this is why getting outdoors and exercise(like trail walking or hiking as examples) has been included as part of the province’s list of permitted activities – what I’m calling “essential – light.”

Where to go?; how far can we go? Don’t honestly know for sure. Maybe today there will be yet another presser and we’ll get a clearer picture.

Why the exceedingly long preamble?

The mental health aspects resulting from the pandemic, if and when they get media time never seem to get “front page treatment.” It’s always sort of an afterthought or buried so far down your Twitter feed, it never sees the light of day.

But, the effects of and how to minimize the issues resulting from pandemic mental wellness is vitally important.

I wrote the following post a while back.

Each of us, and whether we believe it or not, have a special place we run too at times. We blast our way at all costs to wherever that “place” is to dwell in that sense of “inner peace.” We might not know we’re doing it, but we are.

We’ve all heard or uttered the phrase, ” I feel most at peace when I’m in the forest; or mountains; or at the sea.” Or something similar in nature. It may even be the beachy type waterfront in the large city you live in.

It seems these days, we live in a world where it is exceedingly difficult to be “at peace” whether globally or our own inner peace.

Which makes it all that more imperative to find that place that gives us that inner peace. A place that when we arrive, we know instantaneously that “I’m home.” A place where our soul is a rest.

— as always; with love —

One thing that has been bouncing around in my mind for the past several weeks is the idea of “why are people attracted or drawn to a particular spot or place?” 

Phrases like:

  • “Algonquin Park is my special place; I feel most at peace there”
  • “I can’t help it. When I’m in the mountains it’s like being home.”
  • “The seashore calls me and when I’m there it’s like heaven to me.”
  • “I feel a presence when I’m out in the forest, in the trees, and in the streams. It’s where I’m supposed to be.”

Talking with Lynn about it, I wondered if there any substance to this, other than a purely an intellectual exercise or response.

We often hear from friends or even tell ourselves that, “such and such a place is where I feel most at home.” But, when pressed as to why they feel that “this place is like being home,” all I ever get for a response is “well because it just is.”

For most of us, that answer should be enough, but it got me to thinking that maybe the “why” is much deeper.

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That the reason why are people attracted or drawn to a particular spot or “Soul Place” is almost or is spiritual in nature.

After doing a bit of reading, I came across this concept or idea of “Soul Place.”

So, what is a “Soul Place?”

Soul Place

Good question and without getting into a long discourse on the meaning of “soul,” this is what I’ve been able to glean about all of us having and/or needing to find our “soul place.”

It doesn’t take being much of a rocket scientist and no disrespect to rocket scientists, but we live at a time where our existence tends to be based on consumption and consuming A LOT, rather than something else.

This “something else” is the idea of each of us being born(obviously), but not to necessarily consume(yes, we need to consume to some extent), but to also engage, serve and nurture our place within the ecosystem of the universe.

As such, our soul is simply not our true nature, but also it is our true place in nature.

In as much as our soul may have a spiritual dimension, it also has a physical domain to it as well.

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The concept of a “Soul Place” is very personal and will be different for each person.

But, from what I’ve read, we all have at least one soul place on the planet and it will be personal – very personal.

So, a soul place is a special site, spot or location where we experience an exceedingly personal and unique feeling of belonging, acceptance, energy and renewal.

This sounds pretty fantastic to me.

Finding Your Soul Place

Here are some things I came across to help discern if you think you’ve found your “soul place.”

  • you’ll feel a sense of familiarity
  • a greater sense of harmony and ease
  • might intuitively sense that “you’re finally home and can rest now”
  • if there’s external chaos in this place, you’ll still feel internally peaceful
  • feel inspired and have bursts of creative thought
  • you are content with simply “being there”
  • feel a new sense of freedom and joy
  • feel introspective and will get to know yourself in deeper ways
  • feel recharged and energized

So, what does all this mean?

I think the purpose of looking into this a bit more and then posting about it is to create a dialogue, because if there is one point in the history of humanity that we need to find our “soul place”, this is likely it.

If you haven’t figured it out already, I really don’t know much about “Soul Places”, although I have blogged on something close to it Thoughts From The Wilderness – Why The Outdoors, just a few days ago.

IMG_20170615_085230863_HDR

But, the idea of a Soul Place intrigues me, as I think I have at least one.

So, here’s where you guys come in. I would love some comments on the concept of “Soul Places.”

  • what do you think about each of us having a “Soul Place”
  • do you have a “Soul Place?
  • how do you feel when you’re there?
  • is the idea of “Soul Place” ridiculous”
  • or any other comments germane to the discussion

— as always; with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – A Foggy Day Is Still A New Day

Seems last January was a good month in terms of posting pieces of motivation and alike. More often than not, they were strewn with an abundance of motivational quotes, cliches, along with a decent sprinkling of kitty and puppy pictures to melt the darkest soul of the most hard-hearted curmudgeon.

However, thinking about this for a moment or two, I’m not sure that the word “cliche” is entirely appropriate here.

Cliche is defined as, “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” People have been known to utter that what I write “is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” Hard to argue that point. Perhaps that is best left for another time and place.

Nevertheless, often inspirational quotes and especially when they are combined in a graphic, often create this magic panacea to cure all our low self-worth issues. And as such, they do have a slight “cliche” feel and ring to them.

So, where are we going to on this Day 1 of “Lockdown Light – Part 2” in Ontario?

I’m not sure…… do these motivational/inspirational quotes, graphics and cliches do anything more than present a reality or a vision of reality that simply might not be real. A lot of use of the word “real” here.

— as always; with love —

It seems inspirational quotes and writing in the inspirational genre often appear to be the most fertile ground when it comes to the use of cliches and such.

cropped-sunrise-1.jpg

Obviously, that opening sentence is a massive over-generalization and yes, it may be a somewhat unfair suggestion.

But, cliches and or quotes from those who are famous or the near-famous certainly have found a place within the whole inspirational genre, whether it be in text or some visual representation.

Now, this post isn’t to disparage any of these quotes or cliches or how and why they’re used.

I get all of that, and I understand why people can find solace and comfort reading them. In addition, Even, I find many of them pretty good.

Here are a few quotes or cliches to help illustrate where we’re going.

Night is always darker before the dawn and life is the same, the hard times will pass, everything will get better and the sun will shine brighter than ever.

— Ernest Hemingway

Sunshine always follows the rain

— unknown

Tomorrow is a new day

—  unknown

Each one of these has been used or may even be used by someone today to help people dealing with a period of “darkness”(going through a challenging or difficult period in their life) and that the “darkness” will somehow end and what follows will be a “glorious dawn of a new day” filled with eye-blinding sunshine.

The problem is, when I read these and other quotes or similar cliches, there seems never any middle ground.

You head from one end of some ethereal spectrum of “darkness” and magically overnight awaken at the opposite end having arrived at an “a new and glorious dawn filled with sunshine.”

And often when presented in a visual form, they appear something like this. And again, leave us with the impression of a day dawning with the sun brilliantly coming up over the horizon and a day filled with sunshine.

But, in reality, does it really happen like that?

Do people actually come out of some difficulty or challenging period in their lives and fall into this new dawn of brilliant sunshine where all is good?

I suppose it does happen and for all I know, maybe it happens all the time.

So, here is the crux of it.

Do these types of cliches and quotes, set people up in some way with slight or even gross unrealistic expectations?

What if the day dawns, as it always does, but it is overcast and foggy?

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Is this still not a brand-new day?

Did the sun come up or not?

The answer to both questions is, obviously yes.

Even a dull, foggy and dreary morning, is exceedingly brighter than a night that wasn’t even all that dark out!

In other words, even if you went through a difficult and challenging time and start to see a change happening for the better and even if the change was a tad foggy or dull, is that not better than the dark period?

Assuming that it is, certainly, that has to be a “win” for us?

A change for the better regardless of how it arrives and/or how big the change, is still a change for the better.

I suspect that we all want to go from the dark(difficulties are happening) end of the spectrum to the brilliant(all is better) end, without having to travel through the middle part. The problem is, we need to travel through that middle part. Which may be 12 hours or 12 years.

I believe that most of us eventually work through those difficult times, depending on what they are and at some juncture, a new day will dawn for us. That those troubling or difficult circumstances would be entirely gone or at least vanished for the most part. And that this new day will give us plenty of sunshine on some level.

Remember, though, we may have had a few foggy and dreary days along the way before we get there.

And if nothing else, we will have learned a few skills along the way to cope and deal with whatever the issues where and still might be.

Nevertheless, a foggy and dreary day is still a new day and it will always be brighter than the darkest night.

And that in my mind is a “HUGE WIN.”

— with love —

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – We’re Not Simply One Layer

Although this is a post I did back in January 2020, the message is still timeless.

People, each one of us(and yes, that includes both you and me), are exceedingly complex individuals. All of us are comprised of multiple layers of “things” that only when taken in totality define who we are.

Often those layers remain pretty constant throughout our lives, while often we work on those layer(s) that need to be changed or eliminated. We are without a doubt – “a work in progress.”

As individuals though, each one of us needs to look inward to see how we “define others in our life?” Do we slot them into some cubby space based on just “one layer” – which tends to have a negative value assigned to it. Or do we honestly look at the person in front of us in the totality of all the layers?

Remember – when you define me you are often simply defining yourself.

From January 2020 – with love

Somewhere along the way, I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase(s), “they’re such a multi-layered or multi-faceted person.”

And did you know, that if you start typing “a multi-layered or multi-faceted person” into a Google search you get “multi-layered” and “multi-faceted” answers? In other words, Mr. Google ain’t much help this morning.

2020a

The photo here clearly shows the growth rings of a tree.

What is in the picture is actually a very old beam that is somewhat rotting.

The beam is or was part of a weir in White Falls Dam that controls the flow of water from Six Mile Lake to Gloucester Pool in the Muskoka area, not far from where we live.

In simple terms, each growth ring shown in the picture represents one year of growth for a tree before it was cut at some point in the far distant past in order to be shaped into the beam that is in the photograph. In other words, each growth ring or year of growth represents one layer within the life(multi-layers) of any tree.

But, a tree isn’t necessarily defined by one growth ring.

It isn’t defined by one smallish growth ring or layer, that occurred during a rough summer of little rain nor is it defined by several larger consecutive growth rings which were due to near-perfect growing conditions.

The life and substance of the tree are defined by all of the rings(multi-layers) when taken together.

So, back to the “multi-layered or multi-faceted person” phrase.

I’m finding arriving at any reasonable and easy to “get a grip on” definition of the two terms is difficult.

The phrase “multi-layered” seems to refer to personality traits, while “multi-faceted” has this vague definition of “something comprising many parts.” All of which might very well when lumped together, might not a bad definition of who we are as individuals after all.

It goes without saying, that of course, as individuals, we are multi-layered and multi-faceted for sure. It is also for sure that we ARE NOT simply defined by one single layer.

Or are we?

onion

Who and what we are, in other words, our whole being is the totality of all of these layers. Some are good; some are great; some not so good; while most may be neutral.

One analogy that often gets used is that we are akin to the layers found in an onion.

All of this is fine and dandy, except for one thing in my mind.

How often do we get defined or that others see and view us by only looking exclusively at one layer?

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People see us; judge us; make assumptions about us, through a myopic view focussing on one layer and one layer only of our multi-layered and multi-faceted make-up.

Often the layer those around us bite into and hold with a vice-grip like tenacity, is one that is generally seen as negative or certainly not one that has much of a positive attribute attached to it.

Honestly, who wants to be defined or viewed by only a single and often negative layer of your multi-layered and multi-faceted being?

But that happens, doesn’t it?

You’re seen and viewed as cold and distant person; or seen as far too emotional; perhaps viewed as way over the top; viewed as too quirky; still seen as a bit of a “mental case” because you had some emotional and mental-wellness concerns years ago; or people still define you by something that happened in your past that you are desperately trying to move on from.

All those and other things may be true, but that one layer doesn’t define who we are as individuals.

Honestly, we need to move way beyond seeing, defining, judging others simply by the one layer we see or that one layer “we want to see.”

That one layer you see; that one layer you define me by; that one layer you only “want to see” – it hurts.

I know, and my wife can certainly attest to it, as much as I have wonderful qualities or layers about me, I also have layer upon layer of qualities that can be viewed with a negative lens to them. Most of “those other layers” tend to deal with emotional and mental wellness issues.

Unfortunately, there are many who have or continue to this day to view me as a person defined by “those other layers.” Too bad, because in reality, I’m not such a bad guy.

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It is a terrible shame, that we can fail to see and experience the whole person because the best we can do or the most we will try to do is view only one layer of a person.

You see, the problem isn’t you or me.

The problem is this.

Everyone else assumes they’re perfect.

If people only view and see someone as this single-layered individual and not as a wonderful multi-layered guy or gal, that narrowness of scope actually kind of backfires. It reveals something dark about them.

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I guess many have forgotten or perhaps don’t know or often have chosen not to know this simple, yet powerful truth.

By defining me or others, you’ve just defined who you are.

Something perhaps we all need to, is step back and examine within ourselves are we defining who we are by defining; viewing or judging others by only one single layer of who they are?

That’s a good question.

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Trust Your Struggle

I’ve heard said and I’m sure you have as well, that when we’re in the middle of a battle, it is often hard to know if we’re winning the war.

And if we’re brutally honest, all of us are in right at this present moment or have been in and/or will be dealing with some struggle, or issue within our life of some description and size.

In 2020, they seemed to arrive on a fairly consistent basis. One might even arrive 15 minutes from now.

The reality is, I don’t know many of us out there, that are true fans of the “struggle.”

I suspect that most of us would be quite content and happy to truck along through our years and not have any serious struggles show up on any regular or semi-regular basis. Ya..right.

struggle3

The truth, however, is that struggles do show up whether we want them to or not.

Some might be minor like waiting for the bus in the rain, while others will be much more serious and traumatic within the context of our lives.

Trust your struggle, because it reveals something yet to come.

As they say in the maritimes…Whaaaaaaaaaa! What? Why?

Why “trust your struggle?”

struggle

The obvious answer is – “why not?” 

But, come on, there has to be a better response than “why not?”

At some level, the struggles we go through at least from my perspective are not the same as difficult events that arrive on our doorstep unannounced.

Although an unexpected and difficult situation that suddenly arrives in our life can be full of challenging struggles for sure.

I’m not really talking about that in this post, so here are a couple of points in regard to this struggle of “trusting your struggle.”

Trusting Your Struggle

One

Ever notice it can be the same freaking struggles that keep showing up again and again.

Often referred to as “the same shit; different day.” 

The circumstances may be different; the people involved may be different, but one particular struggle or problem occurs exactly the same way each time. It is like the universe has pre-ordained that this struggle is the burden we have to carry.

Well, perhaps it is the universe with a tad of a “hate-on” for you. But, I doubt it.

But more likely it is this.

We(and I have myself at the top of the list here) can have a really hard time acknowledging the struggles we deal with. In other words, we refuse to take ownership of them or see what our role is in the struggle we find ourselves in. We can get trapped in a cycle of resisting and denial for a wide variety of reasons.

We get stuck in the struggle. Sort of an endless-loop.

For example, you get pissed by the same things again and again in each relationship you find yourself in. Or perhaps it’s the story you tell yourself and others if they will listen, that you will always be on the lower economic end of the scale because you continually tell yourself “you’ll always be on the lower end of the economic scale.”

I get that admitting we may have a role in the struggle we’re in, is a difficult and many times virtually an impossible reality for many of us. I include myself in this particular group.

But we do need to get a handle on our responsibility in what’s going on.

Although a challenge at best, we need to examine what our own accountability is in those situations. Perhaps it means working at developing greater tolerance and empathy towards ourselves and others. Maybe, we need to be more cognizant of opportunities that surround us and seize one, before it passes us by once again.

Trusting our struggles, means we’re taking the “bull by the horns” and working towards growing as a person that will allow us to move beyond some “endless struggle loop” we’ve dealt with in our past.

Two

The second point and the first point, go together like “ham and cheese” in a sandwich.

As such, the only way we can grow from our struggles is to really be in the struggle.

sherlock

Brilliant deduction there Sherlock.

In other words, when you are in the middle of the struggle, show up, kick it in the “nards” and be aware of what is going on.

“Stay with the struggle” might be an appropriate phrase right here.

If we hang there and are truly working on getting a handle on the struggle and how to get out it or smash that crap out of it, that’s where you want to stay.

That’s where the growth occurs.

Bailing out of the struggle by distracting yourself with substance abuse, or perhaps crazily spending money, or mindless time spent on social media or any other number of ways of numbing the “old mind” is bad.

Stay is good; bailing/distracting is bad.

Hanging in there may allow you to grow in ways, that well, you likely have needed to grow and change all of your life.

In order to grow and win the battle, you need to be in the battle and doing the work/fighting in order to win.

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Can you “trust your struggle?”

You can if you really want to.

The most difficult and often challenging, yet life-transforming endeavour before you, may end up being to do the dirty work of looking at and examining who you truly are in the reflection of life’s mirror.

mirror

Do you have the guts to take a peak?

That is often the biggest struggle of all.

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – 360 Degrees of Change

Well, here in Canada, it is Labour Day Monday. Traditionally, the last day of the three day long weekend before everyone heads back to work and school.

This year the “traditional” bit has a slight caveat attached to it – COVID_19 protocols for heading back into the classroom. We don’t have children heading back to school anymore, so making the decision whether to spend them into the classroom or at-home learning isn’t an issue for Lynn and I.

But, we get and understand the anxiety and fear that many parents are going through.

But, this post isn’t about the issues or concerns heading back into our classrooms this fall. And from what I’ve read, there are plenty of them.

COVID_19 has changed our lives and way of living it, in so many ways. For many that I know, including myself, it has caused us whether we want to or not, to examine or perhaps re-examine our lives.

Since the start of this back in the winters, we’ve asked ourselves questions along the lines of: What are the most important things to me? Where do I want to be in five years? How do I see the world?

Change and the thought of it for many, can be akin to a terrible nightmare. That change is bad.

Change can certainly be a challenge. I’ll give you that.

For many, the nightmare that the story that gets played out in our heads, is change must happen or occur in one huge leap. We’re here at Point A and achieving our destination Point B has to be completed in one massive giant like step.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Change can be good.

One tiny course correction, followed over time can bring us to new and wonderful places in our lives, but without the fear we often associate with change.

There is much change happening right now. A lot of it is focussed on the ongoing global pandemic. And I guess rightly so. But, our lives are moving along as well.

If change is blowing across the face of the earth, perhaps this is the perfect time for change in your life? In my life?

From September 2019
360

Often as we bump and grind along in life, new and exciting opportunities will from time to time seemingly and magically present themselves out of nowhere. Or we may on the other hand, diligently pursue a new direction or change(s) in our life.

These new paths, whether it be a big change or a minor one always require us to deviate from the current heading we may be on.

Change always requires a course correction.

Nevertheless, whether big or small, minor or major, we all have the opportunity for 360 degrees of change in front of us.

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This should come as no surprise, but change can be difficult and often seems insurmountable by many. Within my circle of influence, there aren’t many who run towards change with reckless abandon.

We tend to accept change reluctantly when forced upon us. And take ourselves to the brink of mental collapse when taking on change of our own accord.

Perhaps the last bit about mental collapse isn’t fair. Nevertheless, implementing change in our lives does tend to put us on edge.

All change, however, doesn’t have to be earth-shattering and momentous in scope.

Change in your life of that magnitude may certainly be necessary. Your journey may be going in one direction and within a split second whether of your own accord or through circumstances, life, as you know and have experienced, is changed and altered 180 degrees.

But putting aside changes in direction that we have no control over such as serious illness, or the passing of a spouse or loved one, what about when changes WE decide to implement in our lives.

360 Degrees of Change

This morning you woke up and decided to change something in your life. Not your socks or underwear, although those are wonderful changes, especially to those around you, but a real change in your life.

So, the question might be – how big of a change are you making or contemplating?

For the sake of this illustration, if we assume that the direction we’re currently on is zero degrees, deciding to move your life in a direction change of 45 degrees seems pretty major. A course correction in our life of 90 degrees is like heading north, then changing directions and heading east. A much bigger change, usually fraught with more challenges and issues.

Moving 180 degrees is akin to dramatically altering your life and going in completely an opposite direction. Need I say more?

Big changes at times require much resolve to make them. Major changes have fear, the unknown, the expectations of others and a whole host of other items churning around in some cauldron and thus forming the recipe of the change.

Which is why for many people, although not all,  major changes or the contemplating of making these changes in and of their own violation, chase people back to continue along the same path they were trudging along before.

But, remember we all have 360 degrees of change to choose from!

And……..

one degree

Often it is the smallest things that have the biggest impact.

Ever had the tiniest pebble inside your running shoe? Try walking four kilometres with that little devil pushing into the ball of your foot.

Little thing – big impact.

A one-degree change of something in our life can have a huge significance. It may not seem like when we decide to implement it, but over time it could be big. Real big!

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I’m going to change my life.

You’re going to change your life.

If I utter those words or if an acquaintance spews them forth, my mind heads off along the path of major life changes.

But, notwithstanding, any of this. In reality, how often do we think about and even undertake major life changes?

Is it often, or perhaps not often at all. Might it be seven times during our life?

Difficult to say I guess because we’re all different and “major changes” is a bit of a relative term. It will have a completely different meaning and energy attached to it for each of us.

However, what might a one-degree change look like?

I don’t know how much a coffee or slightly more expensive drink at a coffee bar might be.

But let’s say whatever you have cost $5 and each day on the way to work you stop and get one. Assuming you work five days a week, you spend $25 per week on coffee or whatever it suits your fancy. If you cut down to only stopping four times a week, you’d save $5 per week.

That first week, you saved five bucks. Big deal!! That’s a one-degree change, but only for one week.

After 52 weeks, that’s $260.

A one-degree change in our life over time can make a huge difference.

Every decision, every change in the direction that our lives are headed don’t necessarily have to be earth-quake shattering direction changers.

Even a slight change can take us to a new and exciting destination.

We all have 360 degrees of change before us.

360

Whatever direction we may be headed, could require us to use scores of those degrees.

On the other hand, it may only require one-degree of change to get us to where we need to be.

one degree

You’re the only person who knows how many degrees to use.

You’ve got 360 of them.

Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —