Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt Week 48 – Reblog From Sadje

Our first post for Week 48 post comes to us from Sadje.

As I’ve mentioned before, Sadje always send us top notch poetry or short works of prose for our “Tuesday Prompts.”

This week Sadje provides us with a poignant poem on dealing with the feeling of being overwhelmed in life and what one should do when life gets that to that point.

We’ve all been there or are there right now.

You can check out her entry here.

Thanks Sadje for taking part again this week. relate to.

Our next “Lynn’s Tuesday Picture Prompt” is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 18.

Thanks.

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Short and Sweet – Wide Awake

Why? – is the only question I can think of this Thursday morning.

Getting up to head off to work for me, generally means out of the sack by 3am.

Yes, you read that correctly – 3 am. As in 3 am in the middle of the freaking night.

So, on a day off, sleeping in may look like staying the sack ’till 4 am. Gee, a whole extra hour of “shut-eye.”

All of this is weird. I get it.

Lynn has be known to say when I’ve worked somewhat earlier duty shifts, “Gee, I’m hardly out of bed in the morning and then he’s home from work.” Not quite like that, but I have had shifts were I’ve been done at 10:30 am and home by 11:15.

But, over the past months, sleep is been a bit of a challenge even at the best of times.

Go to bed; wake up after a few hours and a toss and turn rest of the night.

Last night – exhausted when I “hit the hay.”

Wake up at around 2:30 am and the “ye ole brain” starts to spin and fire on all cylinders.

So, I get up at 3 am. I know that any further “sleepy-time” ain’t happen.

Why am I writing this?

I’m not sure in all honesty.

I think that much of it is due in part to my writing and art as my means or one means of getting my emotions and thoughts out either as text or sketches/paintings. An approach taken by many of you out there as well.

Given the times we’re in, it appears I(and others as well) have a wheelbarrow full of emotions and thoughts that need to get out there. In my life right now – kind of going through a process of re-evaluation I guess.

For those asking, I’m my most creative in the morning and again later in the afternoon.

All of this is cheaper than a therapist. Nothing against therapists. I just thought, “all of this is cheaper than a therapist” was a good sentence to include. Way funnier in my mind though.

Time for another coffee it appears.

And you what – am okay with all of this.

— as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – A Storm Checklist For Living – Five Tips

Generally speaking, this winter has been pretty darn sweet in terms of snow accumulation and freezing temperatures. We’ve had both, but not to the extent we’ve experienced in years gone by. Now, having opened that door, we may wake up on Friday morning with 42 centimetres of snow on the ground and temperatures reaching minus 30 degrees C.

But, freaky weather does happen. Snow in the winter or hurricane force winds and rain during the summer. We know with certainty(or we should by now) that storms happen. It’s part of the circle of life, much the same as “death and taxes.”

I don’t think, there is anyone who goes through life without experiencing some sort of challenge, difficulty or storm in their own centre of the universe. We all do. Geez, it is pretty much as simple as that.

We know they’re going to show up. Often unexpected – we’ve all been there and “bought the tee-shirt.” On the other hand, there are those times, we know the “storm is brewing.” However, we end up standing there with this blank look on our faces; still flabbergasted when the storms rolls overhead and dwells 32 feet above our “pink candy-floss and merry go round” existence.

What do we do then?

Good question. Here are five tips to help “weather the storms” when the show up in our lives.

Note – these do not include buying “Storm Chips”(yes – they are a real thing) and beer and riding out the latest hurricane that is generally anticipated for eastern Canada in late August or September. This is a well-documented; tried and try approach. It is however, usually is included as part of a more conventional and practical suggestion of bottled water, extra batteries and alike. Not always though – just sayin.’

— always with love —

from a year ago……

In my area of Canada, that being north-central Ontario, we’ve been pretty blessed this winter in terms of storm blasts and bad weather. Now, having even thought that and worse, allowing such a thought to be typed out, we’ll likely wake up tomorrow morning and find three feet of heavily drifted snow on the ground.

This is what happened to Newfoundland in eastern Canada in mid-January. They thought, “Hey we’re having a pretty decent winter so far don’t ya think?” and then got this massive dumping of snow over the course of one day. Mother Nature sure has a way of balancing out the score in the end.

Be careful what your thoughts are – you may end up with exactly what you didn’t wish for or could even imagine.

A couple of weeks ago, Lynn and I happened to find ourselves in Collingwood and took a quick side-detour to Sunset Point Park on a blustery and windy afternoon.

2020q

It was windy and cold enough to keep us in the car while in the parking lot at the park.

In no uncertain terms, Georgian Bay was having a stormy and messy time of it. Much of the surrounding trees, ground and anything that happened to be reasonably close by was covered by a thick layer of ice.

Now having said that, there are often times and even during the winter, when Georgian Bay can be calm and almost mirror-like in appearance. Other times like this day, not so much. A stormy tempest was brewing in a teapot.

But realistically none of this bad weather stuff is unexpected.

One doesn’t need to be a meteorologist to figure out it is winter in our area of the world and with that comes the potential for lots of snow over the winter months; high winds; and obviously the potential for storms of one description or another to pop up on a fairly frequent basis.

Life is exactly the same.

In as much as you pray and hope that things throughout your life sail along smoothly, much like a sunny and warm weekend afternoon, you and I both know that isn’t necessarily the case. We don’t go throughout our life from birth to death with it all “sunshine, unicorns and lollipops.”

Storms and bad weather in our lives are going to occur. Often those storms can be somewhat minor and inconvenient like a brief summer shower at a family picnic. Other times it might be like the “snow bomb” that hit Newfoundland a few weeks ago.

Regardless if they are minor or major, storms are going to arrive on your doorstep. So then, what can we do?

Five tips for “weathering storms” in life

Check the schedule

In other words, expect storms and challenges in life to show up.

schedule

We all know this fact or at least should know that this is one of many stark realities of life – bad stuff or storms are going to happen. The ironic thing is we can often go through exceedingly long periods in our lives when things are clicking along just fine. No troubles, no storms, no strife. Life is good.

Although the “no troubles, no storms, no strife” reality of existence is a good one, it does tend to lull us into a false sense of “no troubles, no storms, no strife.” In other words, our memories or our knowledge that “bad stuff or storms are going to happen” gets sucked into some “black-hole galaxy” that all is “sunshine, unicorns and lollipops.”

If you’ve had a long stretch of “no troubles, no storms and no strife” or perhaps it’s more of “sunshine, unicorns and lollipops”, there is a huge potential that your memory at this point is failing you big time. Remember, crap happens to all of us and it may happen to you about ten minutes after reading this.

Expect storms and challenges to show up.

Take responsibility

How many of us want to run and hide under the covers when a thunderstorm is coming? When it comes to storms in our lives, we often resort to the same approach. We run and want to avoid them at all costs. Especially if the storm or difficulty was one we created all on our own.

A healthier and better approach is to develop skill(s) in taking responsibility. One problem though is that “responsibility” is often linked together with self-blame or self-pity.

stormlife

However, for our purposes here, think of “responsibility” as being able to respond to the given situation you may find yourself in. Being able to respond given the storm we find ourselves in or in this case “take responsibility of” helps to keep us out of the mud-sucking hole of self-pity, blaming others or of feeling like we’re a victim in this.

A “being able to respond to” mindset really helps to put us on a course to find effective long term answers to guide us through these challenging episodes when they occur.

Take responsibility – develop skills to respond.

We all need a friend

Ever notice on Facebook or other social media platforms, that getting “hundreds or even thousands” of friends can be pretty easy. Hell, you don’t even really have to try very hard.

I find this to be especially the case if someone posts a ton about how good things seem to be going in life. Lots of positive “gifs and memes” posted on a daily basis about life and how for you it is“sunshine, unicorns and lollipops.” Understandably it’s easy and not very hard emotionally to post the good stuff; the “clean laundry” in our life so to speak.

On the other hand, no one really wants to post the “dirty laundry” or difficult situations they may be facing. Oh, some do and mostly they get back quaint platitudes and quotes that don’t really help them but do make the person who sent them feel really good and special.

No wonder people don’t reach out when times get tough.

friends2

Deer in the headlight moment hereyou don’t need fake FB friends or fake social media friends when storms in life hit.

What you do need is just one friend or person that you can lean on. As difficult and or hard as it might be, often leaning on a friend can be a real help in weathering whatever storm you find yourself in. When difficult times hit, often your “so-called FB friends” will scatter like cockroaches in the kitchen when the light is flicked on in. But who cares, they’re fake anyway.

Remember, often all you need is just ONE FRIEND who will ANSWER THE CALL AND STAND WITH YOU during this time.

Lean on a friend.

Welcome it

stormlife

Although it may be something we don’t want to hear, difficult challenges often end up building character and helping us to grow in ways we never thought possible.

In retrospection, isn’t it those moments of adversity that we’ve gone through and kicked the crap out of that we take pride in; learned from; and have grown from?

It may be a strange approach, but don’t shy away from storms. Successfully navigating through a storm will often show that you are far more capable of tackling life and new challenges, more than you ever imagined.

Welcome it.

Celebrate your successes

There is a good chance that right this very moment as you’re reading this, you’ve been through a storm or difficult period in your life at some point in the past. And you made it through whatever that stormy period was.

Celebrate that success. Why?  Because you’ve handled and conquered challenges in the past, there is no reason why you can’t do the same thing again.

Even if the success wasn’t birthed out of some difficult storm you faced, celebrate it anyway.

glass2

Our lives are made up of far more success stories that were not born out of challenges or storms, but that was just simply born. We need to continually remind ourselves(or at least I need to) that life isn’t all composed of storms and bad weather.

As individuals, we can, unfortunately, end up at some point in life, where we see the glass as only and always half empty.

The reality is the freakin’ glass is also half full. Be a “glass half full” type of soul.

Whether the success was a result of riding out some storm in life or just simply a success that fell into our laps – celebrate them all.

Celebrate your successes.

Five simple tips for weathering the storms in life.

  • Check the schedule(expect stuff to happen)
  • Take responsibility(respond to the situation – don’t run and hide)
  • We all need a friend(lean on someone to help)
  • Welcome it(storms and challenges help us to grow)
  • Celebrate(you made it through before and you’ll do it again – celebrate that)

What are some tips that you can share with others to help make it through the storms in life that we know we are going to face?

— with love always —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Covid, Christmas and Stress

Let’s just start of by saying, I don’t have any answers to the question of “Covid, Christmas and Stress.”

In fact, I’m not sure there is anyone alive at this very moment who can address that to any great degree.

We do know that there has been plenty written in the past on how to deal with reducing stress during the Christmas and holiday season.

And there certainly has been over the past while, a ton of pieces scribed about blending COVID_19 into the Christmas stress mix.

For many, the approaching Christmas and holiday season can be a time of great stress and anxiety for a multitude of reasons. The unexpected and unrealistic expectations the we and others pile upon ourselves. Issues dealing with finances needed for gifts etc. Burdens of not enough time. Past issues with family and friends that creep into the holiday festivities. Emotional and mental wellness concerns that invade all of the holiday season.

The reality the list of things that cause stress during Christmas and the holiday season is virtually endless.

And this is all in “normal years.”

What will happen during this Covid Christmas?

It will be tough and difficult to predict what this Christmas will actually be and feel like. But, one thing for certain, the holidays for many will be different from last year’s for sure.

One bright point is, COVID_19 doesn’t necessarily mean having to stop your family from having a fun and fulfilling holiday.

But, on the other hand balancing holiday festivities with social distancing and other potential health directives(including restrictions on certain activities)certainly will make things at a minimum challenging and stressful.

Things can become even further complicated, if you and your loved ones have entirely different views and ideas on how to spend the holiday season this year.

The following are some ideas I came across a few days ago. And I also recognize that depending on the area you live in, restrictions and COVID protocols can change with little notice.

Tips To Consider

Have the Holiday Conversation Now

Much of the anxiety and stress swirling around the holiday season any year and especially this year comes from “uncertainty.”

“What do we do about visits to the house and visiting others?”; “is having Grandma and Grandpa stay with us a good idea?”; “is our large family Christmas dinner and such a good idea?” “how do we avoid large group settings like going to the mall to shop?”….”what do we tell the kids?”

Have these conversations now….not a week before Christmas.

Sit down and figure out who you may need to talk to and have the conversations.

Speak and Listen with Empathy

These convo’s may be exceedingly tough. So it is important to be empathic.

Three points here to remember:

  • communicate YOUR needs, wants and concerns
  • listen to and confirm loved ones’ concerns before offering solutions
  • work together to create a plan(s) that are acceptable to everyone

Be Inclusive with Your Plans

For some people, a visit for a few hours or a few days at Christmas may have occurred for them for the past 40 years. Think Grandparents for example.

What happens this year of that visit can’t happen.

Think of ways that they can still be part the festivities.

A video call and chat on Christmas day perhaps; a special gift or something from ALL the grandchildren.

Socially Distanced Alternatives For The Holidays

Holiday parties are and have been for just about ever, a staple part of the holiday season.

In fact for many of us, a holiday party of some description may have been a tradition between family members of friends for years. The annual “girls Christmas movie night get together”; “the sister’s cookie and treat baking day;” “the guys holiday dinner at the local steakhouse”; “the office Christmas party.”

You get the idea – the list of traditional stuff is endless.

You may need to try something different this year:

  • a family or friends Zoom call to chat over wine and appetizers
  • A FB video thing with loved ones while you decorate the Christmas tree
  • convenience friends or family to watch a particular Christmas movie together in the privacy of their own homes using Netflix all at the same time
  • perhaps a socially distanced winter hike

Perhaps Delay Important Family Events

Although, this may be a hard concept to fathom for some, but isn’t the holidays about making memories with family and friends?

What if you simply made those memories at a different time?

What if you delayed the big family dinner for a few months? Or the big celebration?

The pandemic will eventually end, and the minor – yes the minor things we need to do this year won’t last forever.

In Canada, we are in the midst of a second wave of COVID that is exponentially worse than what we experienced in the spring.

All of us need to look internally at this time to see “what can I do as an individual” to help minimize the effect and work towards flattening the COVID curve a second time. So sacrificing some holiday traditions this year makes it more likely we all can celebrate how we’d like in 2021.

Unfortunately for many, this one will fall upon deaf ears.

A good chunk of society(perhaps even those within your family) are heading off to do what they’ve always done, regardless of what they are being asked of them to do for the greater good of society.

Believe me, I want this to be done with as much as anyone.

Give Yourself A Break

When having the “holiday conversation” there is the potential that conflict will pop up. Ya think?

If so, try to get people focussed on the positive, like imagine all the festivities and craziness we can get into next year.

But, if that isn’t working and it looks like “Christmas is going to hell in a handbasket,” suggest taking a break and re-group when you’re all feeling a little better. 

Remember – the holidays can be a stressful time – even without a pandemic.

The holidays this year has all of the potential to go off the rails real quick.

Get a jump early on how Christmas and the holidays will look like for you and your family for 2020.

COVID isn’t cancelling Christmas, it’s just changing it a tiny bit.

Remember…..the changes and challenges for 2020 are tiny bits.

And tiny bits are simply – tiny bits in the overall scheme of things.

Don’t charge off and mold the tiny bits into something they aren’t.

But remember, we all have a role to play this year. Do the right and correct thing. It may be a present that benefits all of us across the country.

Let’s end on a chuckle……. ya gotta love “Clark.”

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – A Storm Checklist For Living – Five Tips

In my area of Canada, that being north-central Ontario, we’ve been pretty blessed this winter in terms of storm blasts and bad weather. Now, having even thought that and worse, allowing such a thought to be typed out, we’ll likely wake up tomorrow morning and find three feet of heavily drifted snow on the ground.

You see, this is what happened to Newfoundland in eastern Canada in mid-January. They thought, “Hey we’re having a pretty decent winter so far don’t ya think?” and then got this massive dumping of snow over the course of one day. Mother Nature sure has a way of balancing out the score in the end.

Be careful what your thoughts are – you may end up with exactly what you didn’t wish for or could even imagine.

2020q

A couple of weeks ago, Lynn and I happened to find ourselves in Collingwood and took a quick side-detour to Sunset Point Park on a blustery and windy afternoon.

It was windy and cold enough to keep us in the car while in the parking lot at the park.

In no uncertain terms, Georgian Bay was having a stormy and messy time of it. Much of the surrounding trees, ground and anything that happened to be reasonably close by was covered by a thick layer of ice.

Now having said that, there are often times and even during the winter, when Georgian Bay can be calm and almost mirror-like in appearance. Other times like this day, not so much. A stormy tempest was brewing in a teapot.

But realistically none of this bad weather stuff is unexpected.

One doesn’t need to be a meteorologist to figure out it is winter in our area of the world and with that comes the potential for lots of snow over the winter months; high winds; and obviously the potential for storms of one description or another to pop up on a fairly frequent basis.

Life is exactly the same.

In as much as you pray and hope that things throughout your life sail along smoothly, much like a sunny and warm weekend afternoon, you and I both know that isn’t necessarily the case. We don’t go throughout our life from birth to death with it all “sunshine, unicorns and lollipops.”

Storms and bad weather in our lives are going to occur. Often those storms can be somewhat minor and inconvenient like a brief summer shower at a family picnic. Other times it might be like the “snow bomb” that hit Newfoundland a few weeks ago.

Regardless if they are minor or major, storms are going to arrive on your doorstep. So then, what can we do?

Five tips for “weathering storms” in life

Check the schedule

In other words, expect storms and challenges in life to show up.

schedule

We all know this fact or at least should know that this is one of many stark realities of life – bad stuff or storms are going to happen. The ironic thing is we can often go through exceedingly long periods in our lives when things are clicking along just fine. No troubles, no storms, no strife. Life is good.

Although the “no troubles, no storms, no strife” reality of existence is a good one, it does tend to lull us into a false sense of “no troubles, no storms, no strife.” In other words, our memories or our knowledge that “bad stuff or storms are going to happen” gets sucked into some “black-hole galaxy” that all is “sunshine, unicorns and lollipops.”

If you’ve had a long stretch of “no troubles, no storms and no strife” or perhaps it’s more of “sunshine, unicorns and lollipops”, there is a huge potential that your memory at this point is failing you big time. Remember, crap happens to all of us and it may happen to you about ten minutes after reading this.

Expect storms and challenges to show up.

Take responsibility

How many of us want to run and hide under the covers when a thunderstorm is coming? When it comes to storms in our lives, we often resort to the same approach. We run and want to avoid them at all costs. Especially if the storm or difficulty was one we created all on our own.

A healthier and better approach is to develop skill(s) in taking responsibility. One problem though is that “responsibility” is often linked together with self-blame or self-pity.

stormlife

However, for our purposes here, think of “responsibility” as being able to respond to the given situation you may find yourself in. Being able to respond given the storm we find ourselves in or in this case “take responsibility of” helps to keep us out of the mud-sucking hole of self-pity, blaming others or of feeling like we’re a victim in this.

A “being able to respond to” mindset really helps to put us on a course to find effective long term answers to guide us through these challenging episodes when they occur.

Take responsibility.

We all need a friend

Ever notice on Facebook or other social media platforms, that getting “hundreds or even thousands” of friends can be pretty easy. Hell, you don’t even really have to try very hard.

I find this to be especially the case if one posts a ton about how good things seem to be going in life. Lots of positive “gifs and memes” posted on a daily basis about life and how for you it is“sunshine, unicorns and lollipops.” Understandably it’s easy and not very hard emotionally to post the good stuff; the “clean laundry” in our life so to speak.

On the other hand, no one really wants to post the “dirty laundry” or difficult situations they may be facing. Oh, some do and mostly they get back quaint platitudes and quotes that don’t really help them but do make the person who sent them feel really good and special.

No wonder people don’t reach out when times get tough.

friends2

But, you don’t need fake FB friends or fake social media friends when storms in life hit.

What you do need is just one friend or person that you can lean on. As difficult and or hard as it might be, often leaning on a friend can be a real help in weathering whatever storm you find yourself in. When difficult times hit, often your “so-called FB friends” will scatter like cockroaches in the kitchen when the light is flicked on in. But who cares, they’re fake anyway.

Remember, just one friend who will answer the call and stand with you during this time.

Lean on a friend.

Welcome it

stormlife

Although it may be something we don’t want to hear, difficult challenges often end up building character and helping us to grow in ways we never thought possible.

In retrospection, isn’t it those moments of adversity that we’ve gone through and kicked the crap out of that we take pride in; learned from; and have grown from?

It may be a strange approach, but don’t shy away from storms. Successfully navigating through a storm will often show that you are far more capable of tackling life and new challenges, more than you ever imagined.

Welcome it.

Celebrate your successes

There is a good chance that right this very moment as you’re reading this, you’ve been through a storm or difficult period in your life at some point in the past. And you made it through whatever that stormy period was.

Celebrate that success. Why?  Because you’ve handled and conquered challenges in the past, there is no reason why you can’t do the same thing again.

Even if the success wasn’t birthed out of some difficult storm you faced, celebrate it anyway.

glass2

Our lives are made up of far more success stories that were not born out of challenges or storms, but that was just simply born. We need to continually remind ourselves(or at least I need to) that life isn’t all composed of storms and bad weather.

As individuals, we can, unfortunately, end up at some point in life, where we see the glass as only and always half empty. The reality is the freakin’ glass is also half full.

Whether the success was a result of riding out some storm in life or just simply a success that fell into our laps – celebrate them all.

Celebrate your successes.

Five simple tips for weathering the storms in life.

  • Check the schedule(expect stuff to happen)
  • Take responsibility(respond to the situation – don’t run and hide)
  • We all need a friend(lean on someone to help)
  • Welcome it(storms and challenges help us to grow)
  • Celebrate(you made it through before and you’ll do it again – celebrate that)

What are some tips that you can share with others to help make it through the storms in life that we know we are going to face?

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From the Wilderness – When Life Closes In – Five Things to Try

Originally posted in September 2018.

I suspect that for most of us, life hasn’t gotten any easier in the past 12 months or so. It is just as hectic and crazy and that would be considered a good day. Sure, there are those days or even periods of time when life seems to be ticking along just fine. And in retrospect, we should have valved, cherished and held-on to the days far more tightly than we did.

But, we do go through those periods when life is seemingly closing in around us. At those precarious moments, it doesn’t matter one hoot how we got there or even if it is of our own doing. All we know is it seems that life is a noose that is tightening around our necks and choking the life out of us.

As our life seems to be fading into darkness, what can we do to push back and get some breathing space?

What can we do or at least attempt to do when life seems to be closing in around us?

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Sometimes, one can get into a pretty tight situation. Life tends to be like that!

It could be just me, but most of these precarious spots I’ve found myself in were “self-inflicted.” It could have been a poor decision; timing; being impulsive when stepping back may have been the better choice; maybe it would have been better to have made no decision at all.

But on the other hand, there are those other ones that sneak up on you when you’re not expecting them and always when you definitely don’t need them. Wasn’t necessarily your doing, but that “outhouse” of a tight spot decided to show up anyway.

How many of us have over the course of our lives uttered this or a similar phrase: “Damn, it seems lately like life is closing in around me; I seem stuck or stifled; can’t even catch a breath; I didn’t ask for or sign up for this.” It may not be exactly that, but you get the idea.

In as much as we may be in a horrendous and difficult situation, isn’t it always that awful feeling of being insignificant or overwhelmed that often tags along and attaches itself like a leech from a swamp, not making the situation or issues any better.

DSC_1039-Edit

Unfortunately, many times people get to what they think is the absolute end of it all; that there are no more options left.

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There are always options.

From my own experience, I try not to wallow or stay in those tight spots too long. Most times I don’t do such a good job and “visit way too long.”

We have two options:

  • give up and stay there(this is not a great option)………….or
  • fight and give it everything to climb out of or squeeze out of the situation you’re in(best option).

It may seem like a long way up out of the mess:

IMG_20170901_135550073_HDR

You may stumble along the way, and it may seem like you not making any real progress, and you may need some help or hand up along the way(I usually do)……..but sometimes you just have to try.

 

Because, if you don’t………… what’s the alternative?

Five things to think about to help us climb out of and crawl through those tight spots in life.

Feel Your Feelings

If we don’t feel, pay attention to and acknowledge our feelings and emotions it can be like trying to sprint away from something that is sprinting right along with us. If we don’t deal with them now, we can be certain that we’ll need to deal with them later when they can be larger and more of a challenge to handle.

Don’t stay there and wallow in them and quit rewinding the “emotional tape” and playing them over and over again.

Feel the emotion and pain, but don’t stay there. Need to move on.

Talk

If you don’t open your mouth, you’ll explode.

Not really, but talking about the situation you may be facing helps to verbalize and better understand our fears and worries about the issue. In addition, getting insight from someone who may have been in the very same or at least a similar predicament can provide you with some perspective on what you’re going through.

Talk about it even though you may not want to.

Do Something

Often, when stuck in a tight spot and everything seems to be swirling around us and we’re not sure how to get out, we tend to do nothing. We get paralyzed by the situation. This is, however, the perfect spot to “do something; anything.” It could as simple as making a list of things to work on, gathering information or calling someone for advice.

Avoidance makes things worse. Taking action, even small steps is empowering.

You Are Not Your Difficulty

Don’t let the situation you find yourself in define who you are. Our identity is not found in the crisis we’re in. Our self-worth is found way deeper within us.

We need to remember and remind ourselves that we’re perfect no matter what is going on around us.

Don’t let circumstances or have others tell you that the circumstance you’re in is who you are.

Toxic People

We know or should know that poison is generally a bad thing. Same goes for those “toxic people” that can be in our lives.

They don’t listen to you; they’re not supportive and might even be critical, judgmental or demanding. After being with them, you feel drained and wiped out. They simply make you feel worse. If you find yourself in a challenging spot in life, one of those terribly low points, do you really want or need that type of person right now? I think not.

Screen Shot 2018-09-25 at 6.53.37 AM
Source: Google Images

Dealing with tight spots and challenging situations in life can be and are difficult at best. Some are self-inflicted; some just show up whether we ask for them or not. It can be a long and exhausting process to move forward and escape from where we find ourselves.

I came across this quote.

“On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%. And that’s pretty good.”

— author unknown

The above pictures are from a caving and crevice adventure at the Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve in central Ontario we did in September 2017.

If you haven’t yet, get out and enjoy some time outside. It could be the best decision and investment you make in yourself today.

Maybe the best investment you ever make!

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Watch Your Step

Much as this sign points out potential danger to users long a boardwalk on a trail in Algonquin Park.

The same principle can be applied to life.

step

Often, we just simply need to watch our step.

Whether we go through life gazing upwards or with a perpetual downward stare or perhaps a continual glancing off to the side, we just need to be aware to “watch our step.”

The sidewalk of life can be filled with scores of fun, exciting and thrilling challenges as we stroll along on our merry way.

Every so often though, a crack can appear, resulting in the sidewalk being uneven, with the potential to ultimately trip us up and cause us to stumble.

Although there is no need to be fearful as we walk along through life, we just need to be aware and watch our step from time to time.

Nothing worse than tripping on the sidewalk of life; getting a “skinned knee”; and looking up to see the world or at least the world within your circle of influence has witnessed the whole dire episode.

Hopefully, someone will rush over and give some antiseptic, a bandage and a hug.

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Source: Google Images

If not, pull yourself up; dust yourself off and keep moving as if nothing happened.

Nothing to see here, folks!

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Four Things To Do When Life Gives You A Soaker

In my opinion, a problem derails your life, and an inconvenience is not being able to get a nice seat on the un-derailed train.

Carrie Fisher

Another title might be “How To Deal With Those Minor Inconveniences Of Life.”

Whether we like it or not, there will be those times when one or both of your feet will get wet outside. Yes, life has been known to offer up a “soaker” from time to time.

If the term “soaker” isn’t in the vernacular from where you’re from, a “soaker” is simply getting an unexpected wet foot when doing something outdoors. Like stepping inadvertently in a deep puddle or when hiking and your foot slips into a small stream or wet area.

Having said that, apparently, there are a number of “other definitions” of the term soaker. Kind of wish now that I hadn’t clicked on the “Urban Dictionary” definition of “soaker.”

And, furthermore, who would have known – THAT?

Damit, I’ll never get that image out of my mind.

Surprisingly, however, the term “soaker” made it into a 2013 McLean’s Magazine article, 11 Canadian Words, Phrases and Slang Most Americans Wouldn’t Understand.”

Nevertheless, here in the Great White North the term “soaker” looks something like this.

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Now, most people don’t go out looking for a soaker, soakers just happen.

Unexpected and for the most part not wanted at all. Unless you’re a five-year-old and happen to spy an enticing puddle through the front window after it stops raining. Usually, at this point, you run outside with Mom and bolt immediately towards the water, gleefully jumping and down, while Mom scans the neighbourhood to see if anyone is looking. And with any amount of luck, Mom momentarily loses her mind, jumps in and splashes right along with you.

Mother-Daughter-Puddle-Jumping-Photo-Shoot

A question to ponder though is, “are soakers a big thing?”

Generally, they’re not a big deal at all.

Your feet get wet. Perhaps there might be some dirt or mud to clean off after, but not a thing to “get your underwear in a twist over.” On the other hand, if it happens to be in the middle of the wilderness and it is minus 40 degrees out, then the answer would be, “Yes, now you have a problem that might have some dire consequences.”

But much like getting a bit of a soaker in the outdoors, life can throw us, “soakers”, as well. Most of the time, in retrospect, they were just those, “little annoying hiccups along the road of life.” 

Nevertheless, a “soaker is still a soaker” that can cause if we allow them to, a significant amount “getting one’s underwear in a twist.”

How To Deal with Life’s Little Soakers or Issues

First, we need to state emphatically that YOU WILL GET A SOAKER every once in a while. They are by their very nature, unavoidable. A bit of an extreme analogy, but think death and taxes. You can try as you might, but at the end of the day – unavoidable.

Four Things That Might Help

Recognize They Will Happen

“Recognize they will happen” implies something obvious. So, when they happen, it shouldn’t come as a big shock. Remember, “soakers” ARE NOT the major trials or emergency’s we experience. “Soakers” are those minor and often annoying issues that get thrown at us.

There isn’t one of us out there that is immune from having trials and tribulations, whether they be major or minor, that occur from time to time in our lives. However, if you are one of those who mistakenly follows the philosophy of “I can avoid all issues in life,” then you will be in for a major shock at some point if it isn’t already happening to you now.

As such, we may not know where, when or how, but be assured though, they will occur.

Now when it happens, there is no need to collapse on the carpet, kicking and screaming like a three-year-old having a melt-down when they do. However, if this is your typical response, please capture it on video and post it on Instagram as soon as possible.

Showing it live would be even better.

Try To Plan If Possible

Going on the assumption that the first point is etched in stone, try planning to deal with some of them, if at all possible.

A bit of planning beforehand may help to mitigate the impact of a “soaker” when they occur.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you know that in three or four years you will need to have the roof on the house re-shingled.

Knowing that, but waking up one morning four years hence and seeing water stains on the ceiling and now having an outlay of perhaps $5000 for a roof shingling job, that’s a classic “soaker.”

If you know the job needs to be done at some point in the near future, try squirrelling a few dollars away each week in a “roof fund.” So when the inevitable happens, at least you’ll have some of, or the whole cost of the project covered and thus gloriously avoiding a roofing “soaker” event.

Most “Soakers” Are Minor

“Soakers” aren’t “soakers” if they are major in scope.

What we’re talking about are those minor and yes, annoying inconveniences that slap us in the face from time to time.

Minor issues for the most part, only require a minor or small amount of a response from us to deal with them.

Why waste an inordinate amount of time, energy and emotional well-being on something that in the big scheme of life is “small potatoes.”

Deal with it in a way that is most appropriate for the situation and then MOVE ON with life.

Work On Yourself

Looking back at Point 3, “soakers aren’t soakers if they are major in scope.”

As such, react accordingly.

However, if you react to each minor trip up in life as being a major catastrophe, then perhaps now is a good time to take a step away from the situation to see why you’re reacting this way.

A nuclear reaction to a “soaker” that is more or less a firecracker event, suggests that there may be some underlying issues to identify and work on.

  • try to think back issues in the past that have now led you to react like this
  • speak to a trusted friend or your spouse
  • consult with a professional counsellor or therapist

Overreacting to each minor inconvenience that comes along in our lives, is such a waste of energy, but more importantly your emotional wellbeing. Not only your own but the emotional wellbeing of those around you.

If every issue that pops up results in a reaction from you that is nuclear in scope, I would imagine that those around you feel like they are leading a life “like they’re walking on eggshells.”

If so, you may have some work to do.

Conclusion

“Soakers” or those irritations and issues that occur in our lives are minor in the big scheme of life.

Treat them as such.

They’re going to show up sometimes on a daily or perhaps on a more frequent basis than we may wish. And regardless of how much we mix up some magic potion and twirl our “Harry Potter” magic wand to make them go “poof” and disappear, remember – they won’t.

Don’t get “your underwear in a twist”; embrace them; deal with them, and then move along.

You see, tomorrow a brand new and exciting “soaker” may be waiting as you roll out of bed.

Aren’t we lucky?

Thanks for reading!

 

Friday Foto Fun

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From the Wilderness – The Feeling of Insignificance – Part 1

There is something inside of us; part of our soul; part of our being that needs to know “where do I fit into this thing called the universe?”

And if you’re like me, you will have had or are having right now one of those troubling moments. Right there in the midst of your day-to-day routine; right when you’re sipping that first coffee in the morning, everything stops and your mind goes to, “what is my place and where do I fit in this thing we call the world?” 

Because we can struggle at finding the answer, we’re left with, “why do I feel so insignificant?”

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Source: Google Images

We end up somewhere having a quasi-existential crisis, which once again causes us to grind to a halt, crawl up on the couch and pull a blanket up to our ears and start to question if our presence on Earth really matters in the big scheme of things.

Last year, Lynn and I made a hike out to the Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve located south of Collingwood. A significant part of the Nature Reserve is comprised of caves, crevices and cliffs.

This particular shot is meant to illustrate the magnitude of the size of the crevice I’m standing in.

Sort of feel insignificant in comparison to my surroundings.

significance

Insignificance

Why do we feel or certainly at times have those feelings of insignificance? The opposite side of the coin might be, “what would it feel like to live life with a deep sense of meaning and purpose?”

Many of us experience the first, but secretly long for the second. How many of us have ever actually sat down to think about or consider the question?

And to be honest, a 700 or 800-word blog post “ain’t going to answer that question.” But, maybe the purpose of today, is just to get you; get me thinking and pondering, “why don’t I feel significant; where do I fit in and what is my role?”

How many of us ever achieve or even know “what a deep sense of meaning and purpose” really is?”  We might all long for this, but sadly few of us achieve it. Some of us never even consider the bloody question!

I read somewhere that most people “are diminished due to feeling insignificant.” Who wouldn’t be depressed after reading that?

I think we get lulled into a sense that all there is in life, is the day-to-day role we play out. We’re scripting out some stage play as we go along. Not knowing what the ending to the play is or worse what the ending could look like.

We act out a part that may not be the role we should have auditioned for. We end up becoming akin to “stage robots.” Blindly scurrying about like squirrels and chipmunks hiding nuts away for the long winter season ahead.

The irony of the whole thing is, we’re the ones writing the script.

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We get married, yes to our spouses, but also to our responsibilities; our routines and often the sad acknowledgement that the predictability of life as we have come to believe it, can only be this way.

Because we see few, if any alternatives, we kind of surrender to not pursuing and living the life we hoped for.

All of this at some point leads down the road of “why don’t I feel significant; where do I fit in and what is my role?”

Although there can be a host of reasons why we get the feeling of insignificance and honestly those reasons might be best looked at another post or three.

But, here are I think a few reasons(of many), why we carry “insignificance” around with us.

Insignificance – Why?

Fear

We never learn how to overcome fear. What we did learn were skills and techniques that helped us to avoid making mistakes.

The skill or technique we learned was never taking any risks or step out and try something due to the risk of failure.

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Source: Google Images

We learned young to fear failure. Because we fear failure; we also learned the fear to try. That circle of “fear to try and fear of failure” corrals us into a never-ending cycle of mind-numbing conformity and living life on a treadmill.

While others grew around us, we didn’t. We simply watched the world and meaning pass us by.

Years of this existence; years of not trying and years of fearing failure, opened the gates to the pathway of feeling insignificant.

We Never Asked the Question

At any point in your life, did anyone ever say, help or suggest to consider the question of “what kind of life you’d like to live?”

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Source: Google Images

Maybe someone did at some point, but as we move along through life, we get focused on grades in school; picking the right university or college; getting a good job; marriage and family. We would all agree(I think), that these are all very important and should be taken seriously. But, we forget one thing.

In conjunction with the above, the question that needs to get asked is, “how would I like to experience my life?”

If we don’t consider “how would I like to experience my life,” then simply living life takes over and keeps moving us along. As mentioned above, we get lulled into a sense of all there is in life, is the day-to-day mundane role we play out.

We end up scripting out a stage play, not knowing where we want to go. Simply flying by the seat of our pants.

If we can honestly ask and then answer the question of “how would I like to experience my life” early enough, that allows us or certainly becomes the fertile soil for us to be the sole author of our life script and not just some “stage robot.”

But, if we don’t answer that question, we act out a role we weren’t meant for, in a play we don’t want to be in.

Not knowing the life we want starts us down the road and into the theatre of feeling insignificant. All the while, we try to answer the question, “what is my role? Where do I fit in?”

Expectations

Ever tried to measure up? Ever felt like you don’t measure up?

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A better question might be, “measure up to what?”

The feeling of insignificance can arise when we try to live up to the expectations of others. We live our life based on what others think to be the best course for us to be on.

In essence, we let others write the script for our lives. Parents, teachers, friends and yes, the ever-present media, send us pages that get added to “the script to the play we don’t want a part in.”

We, read, re-read and memorize the dialogue and off we go. Dulled into a mind-numbing; day-to-day existence. We strive, but yet continually fall short of some arbitrary measurement of beauty, masculinity, power, wealth, status and so on.

This isn’t the play we always dreamed of being in. A play of our lives showing “significance”, but instead we act in a theatre of feeling insignificant.

The measuring stick of others expectations of who we need to be or what we have to measure up to is fleeting and fantasy at best. Is the stick placed so high that the expectations of us are quite simply unreachable and unattainable? Or, is it set so low that no one feels we’ll be able to attain or be anything of significance during our lifetime?

Living up to the expectations of others is a bumpy and pothole-filled road that never ends. We’ll never get there.

Trying to live up to the unrealistic expectations of others, media, the world around us, allows others to write the script of our life.

Insignificance

Fear

We Never Ask The Question

Expectations

Three of the many elements that can lead us to feel insignificant in the world and asking the question, “why don’t I feel significant; where do I fit in and what is my role?”

Other underlying components leading us to feel insignificant could be:

  • mental health concerns such as depression
  • a spiritual longing or need
  • love, nurturing and upbringing in our formative years
  • a distorted negative sense of self

In Part 2, we’ll take a look at ways to help us get on the road and the stage play of “significance.”

Are there times in your life you feel insignificant and wonder “where do I fit in and what’s my purpose?

Is the search for significance in our lives important?

If so, what things can we do to feel there are some meaning and significance in our lives?

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Source: Google Images

Thanks for reading.

 

Thoughts From the Wilderness – When Life Closes In – Five Things to Try

What can we do or at least attempt to do when life seems to be closing in around us?

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Sometimes, one can get into a pretty tight situation. Life tends to be like that!

It could be just me, but most of these precarious spots I’ve found myself in were “self-inflicted.” It could have been a poor decision; timing; being impulsive when stepping back may have been the better choice; maybe it would have been better to have made no decision at all.

But on the other hand, there are those other ones that sneak up on you when you’re not expecting them and always when you definitely don’t need them. Wasn’t necessarily your doing, but that “outhouse” of a tight spot decided to show up anyway.

How many of us have over the course of our lives uttered this or a similar phrase: “Damn, it seems lately like life is closing in around me; I seem stuck or stifled; can’t even catch a breath; I didn’t ask for or sign up for this.” It may not be exactly that, but you get the idea.

In as much as we may be in a horrendous and difficult situation, isn’t it always that awful feeling of being insignificant or overwhelmed that often tags along and attaches itself like a leech from a swamp, not making the situation or issues any better.

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Unfortunately, many times people get to what they think is the absolute end of it all; that there are no more options left.

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There are always options.

From my own experience, I try not to wallow or stay in those tight spots too long. Most times I don’t do such a good job and “visit way too long.”

We have two options:

  • give up and stay there(this is not a great option)………….or
  • fight and give it everything to climb out of or squeeze out of the situation you’re in(best option).

It may seem like a long way up out of the mess:

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You may stumble along the way, and it may seem like you not making any real progress, and you may need some help or hand up along the way(I usually do)……..but sometimes you just have to try.

 

Because, if you don’t………… what’s the alternative?

Five things to think about to help us climb out of and crawl through those tight spots in life.

Feel Your Feelings

If we don’t feel, pay attention to and acknowledge our feelings and emotions it can be like trying to sprint away from something that is sprinting right along with us. If we don’t deal with them now, we can be certain that we’ll need to deal with them later when they can be larger and more of a challenge to handle.

Don’t stay there and wallow in them and quit rewinding the “emotional tape” and playing them over and over again.

Feel the emotion and pain, but don’t stay there. Need to move on.

Talk

If you don’t open your mouth, you’ll explode.

Not really, but talking about the situation you may be facing helps to verbalize and better understand our fears and worries about the issue. In addition, getting insight from someone who may have been in the very same or at least a similar predicament can provide you with some perspective on what you’re going through.

Talk about it even though you may not want to.

Do Something

Often, when stuck in a tight spot and everything seems to be swirling around us and we’re not sure how to get out, we tend to do nothing. We get paralyzed by the situation. This is, however, the perfect spot to “do something; anything.” It could as simple as making a list of things to work on, gathering information or calling someone for advice.

Avoidance makes things worse. Taking action, even small steps is empowering.

You Are Not Your Difficulty

Don’t let the situation you find yourself in define who you are. Our identity is not found in the crisis we’re in. Our self-worth is found way deeper within us.

We need to remember and remind ourselves that we’re perfect no matter what is going on around us.

Don’t let circumstances or have others tell you that the circumstance you’re in is who you are.

Toxic People

We know or should know that poison is generally a bad thing. Same goes for those “toxic people” that can be in our lives.

They don’t listen to you; they’re not supportive and might even be critical, judgmental or demanding. After being with them, you feel drained and wiped out. They simply make you feel worse. If you find yourself in a challenging spot in life, one of those terribly low points, do you really want or need that type of person right now? I think not.

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Source: Google Images

Dealing with tight spots and challenging situations in life can be and are difficult at best. Some are self-inflicted; some just show up whether we ask for them or not. It can be a long and exhausting process to move forward and escape from where we find ourselves.

I came across this quote.

“On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%. And that’s pretty good.”

— author unknown

The above pictures are from a caving and crevice adventure at the Nottawasaga Lookout Provincial Nature Reserve in central Ontario we did in September 2017.

If you haven’t yet, get out and enjoy some time outside. It could be the best decision and investment you make in yourself today.

Maybe the best investment you ever make!