Thoughts From The Wilderness – No Man Is An Island

John Donne’s poem written back in the 17th century contains the phrase “No man is an island, entire of itself.”

For the past several months, most of us have been living an existence of self-isolation or quarantine which makes within those four walls of our homes seem like we’re at times “an island cut off” from everyday life.

And how many of us felt like or even to continue to feel like the island we’re on isn’t that far from shore, because we can clearly see the mainland(across the street). The worse part is even though we can see the shore over yonder, we can’t seem to safely navigate the passage to get there yet.

Depending on where you are reading this from, some of you may be in the position of having many restrictions still in place at the moment. Others, including our own province are starting to have restrictions lifted to one degree or another. Even though many of us may feel right now that we are “an island – entire of itself” given quarantine orders, social distancing and simply staying at home, the reality is we’re not “an island” at all.

helping handDuring the ongoing pandemic that we find the world in, “being an island” or assuming we’re “in this by ourselves” for the most part is simply a choice that we have made.

The stark reality is “we are all in this together” to one degree or another.

It would be exceedingly difficult to find anyone just about anywhere, that isn’t been affected to some extent in their daily life by the COVID_19 crisis.

A bit of a trite cliche, but “we all are in this together.” 

But during all of this and even now, nowhere have I ever heard anything along the lines of, “Everyone, you’re on your own during this crisis” or “be prepared to be an island by yourself.”

You see, there is a huge difference between “being an island by yourself” and “feeling like you’re an island by yourself.”

Every once in a while, we need a hand; a lift over an obstacle that is in front of us or a circumstance that stands in our way.

2020wThis picture is of the Big Chute Marine Railway that lifts boats at Lock #44 on the Trent-Severen Waterway in Ontario.

In fact, it is located about 30 minutes from the “old homestead.”

Having visited the marine railway on many occasions, this is a prime example of needing a “helping hand” or a lift over an obstacle that is in front of us.

No amount of wishing, pushing, hoping or any type of feeling is going to get your boat up or down through this location without using the marine railway.

As far as I know, there wasn’t any playbook written for most of us ordinary folk to follow on how to deal with a worldwide pandemic when this started two or three months ago. How many of us are essentially flying by the “seat of our pants” and adapting to new rules, restrictions and changes to our daily lives as they seemingly change on a daily basis?

What was the “new normal” on Wednesday becomes old and lucky us, there is a bright “new normal” awaiting us when we wake up on Thursday morning.

Of the many new truths that I’ve found during this crisis, is that we have choices that are right in front of our faces on a daily basis. We can follow health guidelines or not; we can order take out or do curb-side pick up for dinner as compared to cooking dinner one more time or we can look for the positives in the cards we’ve been dealt with or we can not.

It’s all choices.

We also have another choice in this crisis that has affected all of us. Yes, everyone has to one degree or another been affected by COVID_19.

The choice we have is are we tackling getting through this by being “an island by yourself” or reaching out if you need to get a helping hand in order to get over some obstacle that is in front of you.

There are far too many situations facing people at this very moment that may require a “helping hand” during the COVID_19 trial we’re confronted with to begin listing them.

But, remember “we’re all in this together.”

The “helping hand” you need right now, maybe the same thing your cousin, sister or closest friend faced two weeks ago. Reach out to them.

If homeschooling isn’t working well for you and your family, reach out to your child’s teacher or other parents in the class. They may be going exactly the same thing and experiencing the same issues as you are. More minds tackling a problem is a good thing.

You may be facing some mental wellness struggles due entirely from COVID_19. Contact your doctor or local health unit for resources that have been created and are available specifically to deal with mental wellness concerns during this time.

“Being an island by yourself” is a choice.

John Donne did pretty much hit the nail of the head several hundred years ago – “No man is an island, entire of itself.”

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Short and Sweet – Isolation Thoughts

There are certainly many of us who have been more or less stuck in our houses for the past number of weeks. In fact, yesterday was the first day in about three weeks since Lynn has been off our property.

Afterwhile, one can get settled into a daily routine that suits this new normal. I read a cute bit week or so ago, where someone said they put a load of pyjamas in the wash Sunday night, so they would have work clothes for the upcoming week.

dogNevertheless, a huge component of this new normal is boredom. One can only re-arrange the cupboards so many times, or rake the lawn so many times and there is only so much Netflix and computer time that a human can endure.

All of this self-isolation can ultimately lead to 27 unnecessary trips to the fridge each day, mostly due to being bored. But, let’s call “a spade a spade” here. It is completely due to being completely bored out of your skull.

Sometimes, you simply open the door of the fridge to look in and see if there is any new tasty morsel you missed when you were there 43 minutes ago. Other times, you do find that new tasty morsel or three-day-old leftovers and well we all know what happens next.

Thus the pounds have slowly or perhaps quickly been packed on around your mid-drift.

I believe this answers that question or solves the mystery of the suddenly gained extra baggage.

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—  social distancing is an act of love  —

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness -The Simple Life

Today is January 10, 2020, and one question that often gets raised about this time is, “how are the New Year’s resolutions hanging in?” Are we still on-track; off-track a bit or perhaps a slight “crash and burn” scenario.

Realistically, there could literally be thousands of different resolutions made just prior to the start of any new year. Many would revolve around losing weight; eat better; exercise more; take a course and the list goes on.

One that might have popped up for some for 20202 is to “live a simple or simpler life.

In this day and age, is that a resolution that has any hope of survival at all?

Is it possible, given the complexity and speed in which we live, to work and strive towards a “simple life?”

From back in January 2019…

Is it even possible to get to “live a simple life?”

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Is it even possible, given the velocity that life careens through the cosmos these days, to live a simple life? A life that gives you room to breathe and ultimately to live on your own terms.

Not necessarily life as the result of ditching everything and living off-grid in a self-hewed cabin in the wilderness of northern Ontario. But a life regardless of where you are that is in all intense and purposes “simple.”

How many of us are desperately seeking this kind of quiet change? A major hurdle to overcome on this pilgrimage to “simple’” is the concept of “living simpler” is pretty much polar opposite to the world as we know it.

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This comes as no huge shock, but we live a crazily, perhaps insanely busy time.

What defies logic is, although we bemoan and complain about how insane it all is when we flip the coin over we find ourselves glorifying busy and all the insaneness.

We extoll with our friends and colleagues about how many hours we can work. All of which goes hand in hand with how little sleep we need to work all those hours. At the expense of friends, family and relationships in general, we glue our noses to computer screens or our smartphones, using each precious second we can find. We become addicted to the “likes” and “comments” hoping they will inject a level of validation into what can be a somewhat superficial and sad commentary of our affairs.

Like sitting around a poker table, we raise the stakes higher and higher. We take on more commitments. Our jobs demand way more and to produce greater outputs, meaning long hours and even more commitments.

Many of us are driven to work more. Driven to do more and yes, buy more; Many abuse themselves with drugs and/or alcohol in an out of control attempt to get distracted from the insaneness, until they are anesthetized into dreamland and stressed beyond human comprehension.

Okay, that might be a stretch for some, but it certainly is the reality for many.

But, granted it is tough.

Many of us were raised in environments where achievements and the pursuit of wanting more is hard-wired into our DNA. So, there is never enough and there is always more to be had. We push more and more to get further ahead. To be better than last year, striving for a better and more prestigious title at work.

And always lurking out there somewhere, like a northern pike circling the shallow water for his next meal, is the lure of more money. We “believe money and more of it” to be the answer to all our troubles and strife. That more money will buy us the peace, happiness and a simpler life we have so long wished for.

What might happen though, if we decided to take a bit of side-step?

To strategically work at leaving the craziness and insaneness behind, and to go for a life that was much more simpler in its complexity?

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Is it even possible?

Let’s make the assumption that it is. If so, what might less simple existence even look like?

Again, I’m not suggesting or promoting heading off to a northern Ontario wood-lot deep in the boreal forests anywhere north of Manitouwadge and hand whacking a tiny cabin together with nothing more than an axe, grit and determination. Although, if that’s what you think it takes, more power to you!

Like I do, most of us live in the real world have real-world commitments. It is those commitments that require us to live in the real world. The one we see each day when we open the front door to our houses or step out into our apartment building hallway.

How can we be in this world(the crazy and insanely hectic one), but move towards a way to live more simply in it? How to get out of the “race” and to step away from the busyness, whether self-imposed or not. How can I/we slow things down, while fulfilling our purpose, doing great work and living a wonderful life?

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Breathing

Creating and living a much simpler life is all about breathing.

Establishing space through cutting or scaling back gives you space to breathe.

Doing more and having more doesn’t lead to happiness and fulfillment.

In fact, the opposite is true. It’s about finding joy in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savouring the moment.

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A few things to keep in mind though.

We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

All of the stress, the irritations, the dissatisfaction, and disappointments; all the craziness and rushing around; we created all of it. So, whether you like it or not, we are our own worst enemy. Every one of those things we created in our own minds. We made those decisions and we created these with attachments in our heads. By letting go, we can relax and live more simply.

Clutter and Complexity

Get rid of ‘stuff.”

When we can get rid of “stuff” and not be so attached to ‘stuff” two things happen. First, if you can sell some of the “tangible stuff”, you’ll have a bit of cash in your hand. Second, and most significantly getting rid of clutter can result in these benefits:

  • creates a sense of confidence – I have only X amount of space, so what goes and what stays
  • is energizing – relates to the first point. Puts you in the get things done mode
  • anxiety – most of us prefer order in our life as compared to chaos. Decluttering creates order and order reduces anxiety
  • more time – not overwhelmed now with the time that WAS needed to clean and tidy. Creates time for other things or to do nothing

When we can do something like getting rid of the clutter around us, our lives start to become simpler.

Social media

Might as well blurt it out there – social media is the scourge of today. Okay, it might not be “the scourge of today,” but it might rate right up there.

There is no getting around it, we are addicted to those little electronic devices. Our phone, ipads, computers and all that they deliver – we can never get enough. We check our FB feeds; how many likes did that get. We post our dinner on Instagram and then update our life on Twitter. Each time we “just check for a second,” a wee tiny blast of dopamine let’s loose in our brains and we become more and more addicted.

For too many of us, it’s insanely hard to stop.

In search of making our lives simpler, cutting back on social media time is an excellent element in our quest. Checking to see who’s doing what and who said what, we waste time and energy. Sadly, we get stuck in a trap of comparing ourselves with “influencers” and others on social media, which over time can erode our confidence and takes away the power we have within us as individuals.

Less screen time equates to more breathing time and space.

A Few Simple Things

How many feel that their lives and activities need to be complex. In that, complex equates to better. Often, that includes a cycle of “more complex and better” as time moves along. Yesterday’s complex and better doesn’t cut it today.

Striving towards a life that is simpler means looking inside of us, deep inside of us to discover those simple joys and activities in life.

For me, those include writing/blogging, reading and discovering new things; as well as the outdoors; including hiking and walking. Most importantly, spending time with Lynn, while she captures all of this with her photography skills and passion.

When we downsized our home after our daughter left for college, we gave more stuff away than I can remember and took what we couldn’t give away to the dump. And when I mean downsize, I mean down to a 700 square foot two-bedroom home.

When our lives become focused on the simple things you love doing, life suddenly becomes simpler.

Less clutter; less stuff; less worry.

No Is Not A Bad Word

Most of us are not very clear about what we want. How many of us see a post on social media of something really neat or exciting and we become obsessed about doing whatever that was. Next thing you know, we find ourselves heading in a new and totally different direction.

When someone invites us to an event or to take on something, we instantly say, yes. Why? Because we’re “yes people” or another way to see it is we’re “people pleasers.” We simply cannot say no.

Because we can never say no, our lives and schedules get stretched to the breaking point. There’s never enough time left for the things that are most important to us.

It doesn’t matter how you look at it, no is not a bad word.

However, what if we worked really hard and diligently on those things in our existence that held the most and dearest value to us. Saying, “yes” to those things and “no” to the other stuff. If we knew what we wanted to create; the direction we want our lives to head in, we could say yes to these things, and no to everything else.

Saying no to more things would simplify our lives. No is not a bad word.

Do Nothing – Practice It Till You Get REAL GOOD At It.

Have you ever just sat back and did nothing for a day?” Just hung loose and did NOTHING. No need to feel that the day had been wasted if something had not been accomplished.

We all need idle time. Time built in to sit and watch the clouds drift by on a warm summer’s afternoon. A time that is free to do nothing.

Many people feel the need to have every waking moment filled with activities and the need to accomplish so much, each and every day. The reality is we need that “down time” to rejuvenate ourselves…..to meditate; to think; to reflect.

Why? Having that time to do nothing and just “be you” helps to foster and create contentment with life.

Get In Alignment 

When working towards achieving a simpler life, at some point along the way it will become clear to you which things in your life are no longer in alignment with your values, and the direction you’re headed in.

Part of living more simply will help you identify those unnecessary aspects of your daily life. It might be less FB and social media time or it might be areas in your life that need significant review and thought. This could be your job; friendships; where you live; belongings (getting rid of things) or anything else that just doesn’t line up with a simpler existence.

So, is it even possible?

Yes, it is possible and like much of life, it comes down to a decision. We are the only ones who can decide if we want our lives to be less hectic and more simple in existence.

Simpler-Life-1024x1024It doesn’t mean packing up and living in a tiny cabin out in the hinterlands cut off from everything. It’s about making priorities; figuring out what we want our lives to look like and be and then acting on those things to accomplish it.

Something tells me that as time marches on, life will become more and more complex, with greater demands on our time.

Perhaps now is your moment to re-evaluate where we are… where we’re headed. To start now and simplify your life to create something that gives you room to breathe and room to live!

The quote above of Yvon Chouinard, an early rock climbing pioneer and founder of the outdoor equipment and clothing company Patagonia and environmental activist, pretty much says all that needs to be said.

Is striving towards a life that is simpler something you or others see as worthwhile in this day and age?

Or is “a simple life” just a dream that is being chased and that never can be realized?

Thanks for reading and stopping by.

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Our Blog In 2020

2020 is here already. In fact, when writing this we’re 9 days into the new year.

Many of us already have compiled and posted goals for our blogs for the upcoming year.

insightsDr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) in the next installment Blogging Insights #12 – Your Blog in 2020 asks several questions as it relates to our own blogs for 2020.

Her questions are:

Where and how do you see your blog in 2020?

Are you going to make any significant changes?

In your opinion, how relevant or popular, are text-based blogs (as opposed to vlogs) going to be in 2020?

Again, Dr. Tanya supplies us with questions that all bloggers, whether serious at it or not, newbies or veterans should all at least ponder for a moment or two.

Where and how do you see your blog in 2020?

I see or at least hope for much of the sustained growth that occurred last year from 2018 to 2019. There was over a 100 percent increase in both views and visitors, which I found to be humbling and exciting at the same time.

In order to keep the growth going, I’m working hard to post more; write topics that are slightly edgier in nature(which is keeping more in line with my own personality) and as well to post more trip reports of our adventures.

In addition, I’m working at keeping posts slightly smaller in terms of word counts. In and around 500 to 750 words. This I hope will get me to be more concise and to create more posts that I can then schedule.

Are you going to make any significant changes?

I don’t think I will. I like the format and layout of our blog. I suspect that there might be some, but I have no idea what they will be yet. So, stay tuned I guess.

I will try to update the picture portion of the home page on a more frequent basis.

I have toiled with some ideas of changing the blog is some way, as I now write a more “Thoughts From The Wilderness” posts as compared to trip reports. Perhaps separate the two out. But, many people have commented that perhaps just leave things as they are if they appear to be working.

In your opinion, how relevant or popular, are text-based blogs (as opposed to vlogs) going to be in 2020?

This is a tough question for sure.

We as a society as certainly moving towards getting our information from a visual graphic format, perhaps as compared to reading it. But, I think text-based blogs are like that traditional dark blue or black suit of men. Other styles will come and go or even perhaps stay, but that traditional dark blue or black suit for men will always be in style.

Text-based blogs are like that. People still like to read and as far as I know, reading is still a popular activity.

I don’t follow Vlogs or YouTube people. I created a “justabifurther” YouTube channel a couple of years ago, but find not enough time to devote to it.

I guess time will tell. I think the universe in terms of text-based blogs and Vlogs are big enough for both formats.

Again, a big thanks to Dr. Tanya(Salted Caramel) for the opportunity to add to the depth of this discussion.

For those of you out there in the blogosphere where do you fit in with all of this?

  • where is your blog headed in 2020?
  • any changes upcoming – big or small?

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – All Terrain Vehicle

life

Not that anyone out in the blogosphere or any of our dear readers may care much, but Lynn and I are in the midst of getting a new car. Our 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, which is currently balancing life around the 331,000 kilometres or 206,000-mile mark, is reaching or has reached the end of its days.

Nevertheless, this car has been the best ride Lynn and I have had in over 30 years of being together. Since signing on the dotted line back in 2013 for the Cruze, we’ve never had a breakdown or a major repair during that time. In fact, the most expensive repair was having the brakes done two years ago, costing around $600.00.

Alas, our old Cruze needs a new motor fan to blow heat for the climate control system; it also should have new tires unless I plan on sliding off the road given the winter driving conditions here in the frozen colony. We’re needing an oil change, which can run between $75 to $90 dollars as the Cruze uses synthetic oil.

Therefore, not wanting to invest any more money in a car with 331,000 kilometres on it, we’re pretty sure we’re simply rolling the dice with it and “snake eyes”(something major) will occur.

A new car it is then.

But, not an All-Terrain Vehicle, as the title suggests.

What!

Had you fooled! You thought the post was about getting a new car?

Sorry to disappoint you all.

The All-Terrain Vehicle I’m talking about here is the hiking boots that get us to wondrous places in the great outdoors.

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The reality is, we don’t need the fancy and expensive all-terrain vehicle to get out into the wilderness.

All we need is boots and our feet, plus the desire for overall wellness.

More likely than not, whether it is an all-terrain vehicle worth tens of thousands of dollars or simply a hundred dollar pair of hiking boots, we’ll all end up in the same location in the outdoors in the end anyway.

Furthermore, you won’t have made the tremendous the dollar investment; no need to worry about the inevitable expensive breakdown and then the upcoming expensive repair; nor will you be sucking in noxious gas fumes charging around in your ATV>

It goes without saying, that a hike in the woods will do far more for your physical, mental and emotional health and well-being than any four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle ever could accomplish.

Science, medicine and alike have produced a ton of research over the past number of years that document the benefits of the outdoors that go way beyond the physical. A bit more on why the use of the “two-legged all-terrain vehicle” is best – Healthy Parks Healthy People

A few pictures that more than emphasize where our “all-terrain vehicle” has taken us over the past few years.

 

Remember….

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—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Our First – “Real Neat Blog Award”

Dr. Tanya over at Salted Caramel (and a blog you should definitely check out) nominated me for the “Real Neat Blog Award.”

A huge and I mean a huge shout-out here to Dr. Tanya for thinking of and including me for this.

It’s always humbling, while at the same time a great pleasure and honour to know that someone out there in the “blogosphere” thought enough of your blog to say, “Hey, way to go.”

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The rules for the “Real Neat Blog Award” are pretty straight forward.

  • Display the award logo
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog
  • Answer the questions from the blog who nominated you
  • Nominate seven to ten bloggers
  • Ask them seven questions

Dr. Tanya’s Salted Caramel’s Questions:

Is yours a hobby blog or a professional blog? 

“Justabitfurther” is most definitely at this stage of its existence a hobby blog. I often think of it as a cheaper form of mental health counselling. Writing and blogging provide a platform in which I can let out or release at times those emotional and mental wellness issues/topics that may be churning deep within me.

Other times it simply is just plain fun to tackle a topic or complete a trip report on some recent outdoor adventure we’ve been on.

How do you manage to fit blogging in with your other activities?

Being an early riser, I simply blog early and I mean really early on my days off for the most part. Doing that, I have found that it doesn’t interfere much with other things going on in our life. For all of us, blogging needs to fit into our lifestyle. It’s all about balance.

How much time do you spend on WordPress every day (just a guesstimate, of course)?

Over the course of a week, I might spend seven hours or so working on blog pieces, responding to comments and reading other bloggers’ recent posts.

Do you use social media to promote your blog or vice versa?

Just Twitter and Facebook to some extent.

I do have a Pinterest and an Instagram account. Although I tend to not use them as much. I found early in the game that I spent a significant amount of time promoting the blog when I could have been using that time working on and perfecting the “writing craft. “

What is your favourite leisure activity?

Favourite leisure activity is definitely anything that has to do with pursuing outdoor and wilderness activities.

Name three favourite books.

  1. “The Many Deaths of Tom Thomson: Separating Fact From Fiction” – Gregory Klages
  2. “The Complete Sherlock Holmes” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. “Nation Maker – Sir John A MacDonald – His Life, Our Times” – Richard Gwyn

What was the last book you read/movie you watched?

Last Book“Northern Light – The Enduring Mystery of Tom Thomson and The Woman Who Loved Him”

Last Movie – unfortunately, I’m not a big movie watcher. The last thing on TV I watched was an episode on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation(CBC television) – “Still Standing”

So, here are my seven thought-provoking(maybe) questions for you all.

  1. Have you got an interesting story to tell?
  2. What is the most emotional film you ever saw?
  3. What skill do you have that would impress the readers?
  4. What is the best thing your blog can offer to readers?
  5. What’s the next place you would like to visit?
  6. Where do most visits to your blog come from?
  7. What one change will you make to your life in 2020 and why?

My Nominees:

Rather than list 10-15 of the amazing (aka real neat) blogs that I follow and regularly read, I’m throwing this open to all the blogs I follow (and who follow me) to accept this award and join in.

Alternatively, please feel free to join in and answer the questions in the comments section below.

Again, thanks to Dr. Tanya Salted Caramel for the nomination. It was certainly a pleasant shock to have received it, and an honour to have been included and thought of as “Real Neat Blog.”

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Thanks for reading this and have a great day

 

Remember….

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – And The “Vacay” Begins

vacay

It’s taken its sweet freaking time and seems like it simply shuffled along to get here – but my last week of vacation for the year started yesterday when I fired up my car around 4:05 pm and as they say, “Elvis has left the building.”

Okay, so I’m not Elvis. but I did leave the building and as luck would have it, no one was blocking or slowing me down as I left. Had there been, those folks would be spending the weekend scrubbing tire tracks off their left front cheek.

But, I digress.

Although Lynn and I are kind of fluid in our plans for the following ten days or so, we do have some hiking plans in place to one of our favourite locales – Algonquin Park. The fall is one of the best times to visit Algonquin if you can tolerate the crowds and I mean throngs of people who visit to experience the fall colours.

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the-fall-colours

The weekends are worse for sure. But, seeing as the reds and oranges of the maples have just peaked and in addition, we plan to visit during the week. Those two elements combined usually help in “crowd control.” ……..WTF????

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This year, Lynn and I(well….more me) set a goal to hike all the trails within Algonquin Park. At this stage, we’ve completed all except for three of them. Some of the hikes were in the depths of winter and snow-covered trails, while others were a bug-infested; blood-sucking tests of endurance and mental stability.

 

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This week we plan to at least hike two of them and then finish up the last one later in October or early November.

As usual, we’ll likely hit up our continued tackling of the Bruce Trail over in the Beaver Valley or up towards Owen Sound. In addition, a trip north along Highway 400 to Parry Sound for a fall jaunt along the North Shore Rugged Trail may be in the offing as well.

Nevertheless, after a couple of these sweet pints last night, where no planning for the week was accomplished…….

gahan

….let the vacation begin, and ……….

Stay-Tuned-Header

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Three Tips Towards Some Calmness In The Midst Of Chaos

Often life can swirl into a seething cauldron of chaos and mayhem. Many times it all occurs within a split second, it seems.

Realistically though, this “seething cauldron” that we can find ourselves spinning wildly out of control in, is usually a slow build. A slow build in that either we know it is happening and choose to do nothing about it or in retrospect, we realize that it was building up ever so slowly over time.

pause-minute-life-2
Source: Google Images

Regardless of how we end up there, the point is here we are in the vortex of our life’s tornado.

And when we’re in the insane midst of it, it can feel like there is no escape. Much like a bad dream, we have trouble waking up from. Our judgement becomes impaired; we feel this slow slide into the darker side of mental wellness; the walls of living keep pressing closer and closer, choking what little breath we have left out of us. It is not a fun feeling or a pleasant place to dwell in for any length of time.

Living in the midst of chaos for an extended period can take its toll on us and those around us.

It is both physically and mentally exhausting.

The sadness of the entire situation is that chaos and all that it entails can ultimately evolve into becoming our new reality; our new normal. We wake up(thankfully from the bad dream) to discover that this is what our life has become. Never a moment of peace; always putting out fires; always on edge.

Chaos and its minions can often take us to a place where either our mind, our body or both of them together scream NO MORE.

So, how do we create calmness in the midst of chaos? How do we either remove ourselves out of this swirling cauldron we’re spinning in? Or at least lessen the swirling mass from hurricane status to that of a tropical storm?

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Source: Google Images

Like in this picture that Lynn recently snapped when we stopped at the harbour on Georgian Bay in Meaford, ON, how do we get create calmness when chaos surrounds us?

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Three Tips Towards Creating Calmness

  •  Recognize

Often in the centre of the chaos surrounding us, all we can manage to do is simply at times keep our head above the churning seas. However, at the same time, we’re also keenly aware that we wish this period of our life was over and done with. That there would be a season of calmness to float around in.

So, the chaos being over can’t come soon enough.

When our lives are spinning out of control and I mean seriously out of control, if we can recognize that it is happening and be honest with ourselves that we’re not in a good place, it provides a platform at least to manage the “chaos” and “out of controllness” from completely knocking us on our butt.

If we don’t know what is happening to us, there is a good chance that someone does and points out the direction we may be heading. Always prudent to at least pay attention if someone is telling you you are on a collision course.

Regardless of whether we make the connection or someone points us down that path, try to recognize what is happening; be honest and truthful that we need to do something.

  • Be Intentional

Once we recognize and acknowledge the chaos for what it is and what it is doing to our own mental and physical wellness, be intentional with a plan.

It is one thing to say, “I need to get out of this chaos, if only for a day.” It is something altogether different when “we actually do get of the chaos for a day.”

Saying and doing are two entirely different things.

What we conclude to be intentional about implementing to get out of the chaos depends on us and the situation for the most part. It could be a complex and difficult solution and decision. Or on the other hand, it could be as simple as saying, “I’m forgetting everything and leaving for a weekend away.”

Often removing ourselves from the chaos for a day or weekend can have a huge impact and be of great benefit. Getting away for a weekend at a cabin or something similar and spending time in nature can help us to get clarity about what we may need to do. If nothing else, getting away from it it can provide a welcome respite from whatever is blowing around us.

Regardless of major or minor, saying you’re going to do something about it and actually doing something can be as different as night and day.

Be intentional – “don’t say you will…….just do”

  • Unplug

Regardless of whether life right now is in the midst of chaos and feels like Hurricane Dorian is catapulting your lawn furniture down the street or things are sailing along nice and smooth, unplugging from social media never is a bad thing.

As much as social media has its good points, on the other side of the scale it can be equally as bad or even worse.

Getting away from the craziness and chaos that surrounds us for a time, can involve getting away from that sucking downward vortex of Facebook posts and notifications; the constant checking of your Twitter feed and mindlessly scrolling through the latest fabricated images on Instagram. The constant reminders that your life could be better(if you were only like so and so in this image); that the world is only to “hell in a handbasket”; and the never-ending posts of your first cousin’s “perfect children.”  

Often it is too easy to get sucked back into the “mind-numbing and soul-crushing” reality of social media. I get it if you use FB messenger video chat to connect with your grandchildren. But, that’s not what this is about here.

It’s about getting away and out of the battle for a bit. And often unplugging from the fakeness and chaos that can abound on social media can play a huge part in calming the storm.

Creating calmness in the midst of chaos has likely plagued man since the dawn of time.

Solutions to creating calmness are never easy and often can be complex and require us to make major decisions.

On the other end of the spectrum, it can be as simply as a weekend away with your honey.

But, if we can:

  • recognize and be truthful about our situation;
  • be intentional in doing something;
  • unplug and give our mind and soul a break

We may find a solution that slows or stops the chaos. If all we achieve is a chance at peace and solitude to recharge the batteries in order to continue the fight. Perhaps that is a win for us as well.

Question?

What do you do to create calmness in the midst of chaos?

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Source: Google Images

 

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