Pick A Lane Buddy

Sometime last night, we changed back over from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time.

In Canada, it is a well-researched fact that no one can explain the genesis behind why the time change in the first place. I think we adopted Daylight Saving Time in years gone by to get an extra hour of daylight through the growing season so that farmers would have more light to get more things done. Not convinced that was fair.

On the other hand, perhaps it was for patio goers at waterfront pubs throughout the country would have more daylight into the evening in the summer months. I suspect it’s this.

Regardless, the change last night gives everyone an extra hour of sleep today. Unfortunately now, the sun starts very early, like at 5:00pm. today for example. Yes, the long dark winter is slowly creeping up upon us. like a freezing dank fog inching across an English moor.

This post isn’t about that.

It would be a massive understatement to state my lack of writing and overall creativity has been at a motivational low point over the past year or so. It’s been way lower than that.

Now, having said that, not all avenues of creativity have been trampled by my overall and continued empty motivation tank farm. I will be the first to admit though, I am nowhere near being a pencil sketch/watercolor artist that could convince or pressure anyone into forking over cold hard cash to pick up a piece to hang on their wall.

But, I do find great comfort and a sense of “zen”(not sure that’s the word I want..but it will work for the time being) in drawing and painting. And not to reach around and pat myself on the back in case I pull something, I will confess I have gotten much better over the past 15 months or so.

Where are you going with this then?

Again, a great question.

The picture above is of Lynn, just as we were starting a hike along the Bruce Trail on the west side of the Beaver Valley about a week ago. A lovely, albeit wet and muddy cut grass path along the yop of the old Talisman Ski Resort.

The keyword that keeps popping out in that last sentence is “path.”

Without going into a ton of over-examination and counseling office analysis, it feels like I’m not on a path of any sort. If by some strange coincidence I am on some random path, I can confidently say, it is definitely a path I don’t want to be on.

Not sure, we’ve made it to the point of this yet. Perhaps, there isn’t even a point to the entire post.

But, assuming that there should be a point or direction….let’s make it this.

I’m pushing myself to find a path. What the path is or looks like I have no concrete concept or idea of. All I know is it needs to be a path. My path.

When you’re lost in the woods, finding a path can be a godsend. It means that others have been here before. In fact, people may have been on the path just a few minutes ago or it may have been weeks ago for that matter. Nevertheless, it does now provide you with some sense that there is a direction to follow.

So, there you have it. I’m trying to “pick a lane” on which to travel. A lane that I feel my life needs to be on, at least in this moment of time.

Might there be a need to change lanes in the future? I suspect so. In fact, I would assume so.

But for now, the hard work is simply “picking a lane.”

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Mental Wellness – Let’s Chat

The graphic alone says enough – it is a cold morning outside. Perhaps not the coldest we’ve had this year, nor in the past, but a chilly one nonetheless.

It is also, Thursday, January 28, which means in Canada it is Bell Let’s Talk Day.

Mental health or our own mental wellness as I like to refer to it as, is something we all deal with.

Yes….ALL OF US deal with mental wellness issues to some extent or another.

The problem is that most of us don’t want like the idea of talking about; thinking about or dealing with our own concerns and issues, let alone the mental wellness issues and concerns that others have.

And all of this happens in what we might have called in the past “normal times” or certainly pre-COVID. Where we are in history right this very moment, makes it perhaps the best time to start our own mental wellness conversation.

Here’s a link to some Canada related COVID mental wellness resources.

So, this isn’t another post like I’ve done in the past years on dealing with anxiety or ways to cope mentally while navigating through the COVID_19 pandemic. Been there; done that; will likely post on these issues again.

With every use of #BellLetsTalk, Bell will donate 5 cents towards mental health initiatives in Canada. That’s basically how it goes today.

If you’re living in Canada and reading this….just participate today in Bell Let’s Talk if you can. Chances are you are on some other type of social media. Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram to name a few. Click here to get the details.

Seems pretty simple to me.

— as always; with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

The Fickleness of Feelings

Feelings can be a bit of a “fickle mistress.” They can also be at times our own worst enemy.

Feelings tend to get categorized as either good or bad, which can be slightly misguided, given specific situations. How many of us label feelings such as fear, anger and sadness as bad or negative ones, while labelling others, like joy and excitement as good or positive. But for example, isn’t a feeling of fear that tells us to “get the hell out of there” a good thing in that case? We’ve labelled or categorized the feeling of fear as bad when it was actually a good thing.

Feelings can be that weird fickle mistress.

The reality is that feelings are neither good nor bad; feelings just are.

Emotions are part of your life and to deny them is to deny a part of ourselves.

Let’s continue.

pointer boat

This would be just about the last place to find an abandoned fishing skiff and buoys.

Now, not having extensive experience in abandoned boat finding, I would assume old boats would be more than likely found around a fishing harbour, a marina, some local boat works place, or out in the back forty of a favourite Uncle’s farm. You know, behind the utility shed where Auntie Mae isn’t likely to look.

Nope, this little darling was found in a laneway just off Highway 311 in Prince Edward Island. We were on our way to hike Boughton Island; got lost(not lost in as much as misdirected by technology) and needed to turn around… and there it was.

Lynn felt that this little-abandoned beauty needed to be included as part of our trip, so she jumped out of the car and snapped a couple of quick pictures. And that was it.

Abandoned, but now preserved on film. Well, at least digitally.

Nevertheless, what is the story or history this little fishing boat could tell if it could talk? What adventures did it have over its lifetime plying the waters surrounding Prince Edward Island? Was it handed down from grandfather to father and finally to son? How many rough days on the ocean did it have, trusting it would deliver the day’s catch and its owners back to the harbour and their family safely?

Who knows?

Much like this tiny fishing skiff, there are those days we may feel abandoned, discarded and worn out from life. And for sure, life can wear you out – if you let it.

I’m beginning to wonder if the problem here is feeling abandoned.

Feelings can be a fickle part of living. I wrote recently that sometimes feelings can take us to places that aren’t at times rooted in a strong sense of reality. Feelings are wonderful things, whether they be good or bad and are part of what makes us who we are.

But sometimes they are just that – feelings.

So, maybe we’re not really abandoned, but we feel that way or some reason.

enemyI am and perhaps many of you are as well, our own worse enemy at times.

We feel sorry for ourselves when there is no need too. We work harder than ever expending buckets of energy to have the world revolve around us, forgetting that it also revolves around others as well. We start comparing our accomplishments to those of others with some arbitrary measuring stick, feeling that we’re not good enough and the list goes on and on.

Then there is that day or those days when we wake up feeling like the world has abandoned us. Just like our little fishing boat, abandoned at the end of a laneway in rural Prince Edward Island. The problem is, though the world is still doing what it does – perhaps on those mornings, the real problem is us. We just wake up feeling that way.

And do you know what the funny thing is? How do we really know that little boat is has been abandoned? We feel it’s been abandoned by the story the picture provides. I only said it was on a laneway that we drove into to get turned around. This could have been a long driveway to a very expensive home with manicured lawns and gardens. Perhaps our little fishing boat is a piece of very expensive art commissioned as an entry piece to the property.

Maybe it isn’t or has never been abandoned by anyone.

Perhaps it only feels abandoned(assuming fishing boats have feelings). Maybe it’s been comparing itself to those big fishing trawlers and lobster boats when in reality our little fishing boat was the one thing that gave a father the means to provide for his family. Maybe over its career, our little boat helped that family to send a child off to college or university. Perhaps our little boat is the only bit of history that remains that ties a family together.

feelings1Feelings are part of what makes us who we are. But, they can be just that – a feeling that may not be rooted in reality and that can take us somewhere we don’t want or need to be.

How we feel and why we feel in a particular way, especially when the feeling is negative can be difficult to get a handle on. Feelings are woven into and a complex part of the tight weave of living and life that we are at any particular point in time.

But that feeling maybe just that a feeling and not representative of where we really are at. Even not giving it much of a try, we can find plenty of people to hold us down and keep us back from being all we were created to be. You and I don’t need to be one of them.

Given that, today might be the day to stop being our own worst enemy.

How do you deal with feelings that may take you to a place which is not the reality you’re in?

Something to think about!

Thanks for reading

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Seeking Solitude In The Midst Of Mayhem

To say that for many of us, life is at times lived and experienced at dizzying and often breakneck speeds might be the understatement of the year.

For others, the speed of life might not be breakneck or out of control, but the mind-numbing and soul-crushing monotony of our day to day and week to week routine, calls out for us in either instance to perhaps stop, think and re-group.

Most of us would at least agree that looking after our physical needs, takes a top spot in terms of overall priority when it comes to our health. In theory, we should choose healthy eating habits, get the right amount of exercise, check in with our Doctor on a somewhat regular basis and try not to need to the head off into the extremes of things very often.

But, what about our mental wellness needs?

If we go back and read the first two paragraphs, it would suggest that some reasonable and attainable answer to either “light speed out of control” or “numb beyond comprehension”, both of which represent a level of mayhem, is required.

Seeking solitude may be just the remedy and prescription for both conditions.

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Although seeking solitude is a good mental and physical pursuit at any time of the year, but seeing as we’re heading into the holiday season or the “season of excess” as I call it, seeking moments of solitude may be the one thing that takes a person from “having a meltdown of epic proportions” to “made it through this.”

Seeking Solitude In The Midst of Mayhem

The above picture is one I took of Lynn, while she was sitting on the empty sands at the west end of the beach in the Greenwich portion of Prince Edward Island National Park.

It’s the strongest example, in my mind of what exemplifies “seeking solitude in the midst of mayhem” looks like.

Why Solitude?

Great question!

Nonetheless, a better question might be, “why not?”

We live in a world that personifies a “me, me, me” culture. A topic that deserves a separate post or two all on its own. Nevertheless, in our case, having a focus on “me and my needs” is the prescription of the day.

As such, why is finding or even better “taking” solitude in the midst of mayhem often a necessity?

The reality is, each of us will have our own personal reasons why taking or seeking time in solitude is a well-needed part of our overall mental wellness strategy.

They might be:

  • simply a time of peace and quiet
  • time allow our soul to be refilled or regenerate
  • to collect our thoughts and or reflect on life
  • to keep us from “punching our spouse in the head”

The benefits of doing so are far-reaching.:

  • helps to build mental strength
  • begin to you know yourself better
  • solitude sparks creativity
  • not “punching our spouse in the head”

How Then?

More often than not, putting into practice what we need to do and to coin an old phrase, “it is often easier said than done.”

You’re sitting in your favourite chair right now with a wide-eyed stare thinking, “there is no way I can do this; take time for me – nope!!” 

I suspect your brain is spewing out – “I have too many commitments; I have no freaking time; deadlines, deadlines and more deadlines; and only I can do all the stuff – delegation of tasks is not in my vernacular.” 

I’m sure there are other excuses you could come up with as well, but nevertheless, whatever they might be, each one is all the more reason to take a moment or two or three of solitude.

How?

Grow some “nards”; pull your “big person underwear” out of the bottom dresser drawer and put them on.

Then simply do it. Be proactive!

A great way to start is to tell yourself over and over that this is “your time.” You are doing for yourself; for your own wellness and most importantly remember that you are worth it. Better to take a day away from the madness, than to continue trying to survive in it. This practice may ultimately lead you to far worse consequences.

Forget what others may think. They will more than likely be wishing they could do the same.

If you’ve been barking and yapping at your spouse and kids for the last while, I can almost guarantee they’ll more than support you taking an afternoon for yourself. Hell, they may even chip in some coin towards doing what you want to do!!

Try blocking out a day or afternoon to be by yourself. If you have a favourite place or spot, such as your “soul place”…then go it. This is a post on  “Soul Places” that I wrote back in January of this year.

It is unfortunate, but more often than not, one of the most difficult words people grapple with in the English language and the culture we live in, is the word – “NO.”

Remember that NO is not a bad word. Don’t say “yes” to everything that comes up or everything that gets asked of you.

When someone says, “can you be here; do this; take on this?” Remember, it’s perfectly fine to reply, “No thanks. I have plans for me that day.”

Seeking solitude in the midst of mayhem. It may be one of the most important investments in our mental wellness and survival that one can make. It’s an investment that can be made at any time of the year. Honestly, it can become a critical investment during the next six weeks of the “season of excess.”

On a side note, I heard on the radio yesterday the holidays referred to as, “the season of gifting.” WTF!!!

Nevertheless, why not make that investment of “seeking solitude” right now!

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Remember…

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Reality and Dreams – The Cosmic Collision

Back, so many years ago when I was a young lad in elementary school, I had a dream of being a scientist.

Not that I was particularly enthralled with science in Grade 6 or in any grade for that matter. I remember, however, a cover picture on a book of an exceedingly well-groomed person in a white lab coat in some science laboratory with a host of test-tubes and fancy and nicely organized science equipment and thought, “I want to be a scientist when I grow up.”

crushed dreams

We all have dreams like that as youngsters. How many those childhood dreams come to fruition for us though?

Well, for some of us – yes, I expect, however for most of us – no.

Forgetting our childhood for the moment and dreams of becoming a fairy princess. What about as we get older? Can we make our dreams come true? Is there a process to make them come true?

Or are dreams we may have as an adult simply – a delusion or fantasy that floats around in our consciousness someplace, similar to dangling a carrot in front of a donkey in order to get it moving. Something that the unfortunate donkey desires and chases after, but can never obtain.

dreams 2
Source: Google Images

Doomy and gloomy?

Likely.

I certainly won’t get any guest post opportunities from the “name it and claim it” society or the “your wildest dreams come true Instagram pages.”

Why?

Often from where I sit, the “name it and claim it” or those who extol the virtues of books, seminars and such on the “ten steps to fulfill your dreams” are an industry within themselves that drives the locomotive and train-cars loaded with those who are “dream-chasing.” 

People on a railway journey chasing “a dream”, but never actually grabbing the carrot they were lusting after.

So, with that rant over – what is the problem?

Or simply is there a problem at all?

The problem from my perspective is the seismic collision between “reality and the dream.”

collision
Source: Google Images

“Old reality” has a way of messing up even the “dreamiest of dreams.”

This isn’t necessarily my dream or goal, but I’m sure we’ve all heard or even uttered more than once, “I want to retire at age 55.” That is a great dream if I’ve ever heard one.

The big problem or the “big reality is” where does all this money to retire at age 55 come from. Can you actually acquire enough money by the age of 55 to retire and live the “lifestyle” that would be in everyone’s mind for those who retire at age 55?

Chances are you’re going to hang on for another thirty years(give or take). Got enough coin to last that long?

Do people retire at 55 and live a great retirement?

Sure some do. But most of us can’t.

I often equate this whole discussion as similar to kids in Ontario who start playing hockey at a young age(as most do) and those who make it to the National Hockey League and play the minimum 400 games to qualify for the NHL pension. That percentage is 0.02.

Some make it; most don’t.

And that is the seismic collision between “reality and the dream.”

Some of us make it; most of us don’t.

I’m sure that most of you are thinking, ” my, my….seems like someone has a bad case of sour grapes.” And the funny thing is I don’t really. I know that there are some who have these far-out dreams and through hard work, sacrifice and luck, they make them come true.

The thing is though, these people might be considered outliers.

outlier
Source: Google Images

Notwithstanding that, what about the rest of us.

The middle of the roaders who have families, mortgages, careers, and other commitments that form the “reality” component of the seismic collision.

I suppose that much of this discussion depends on what your dream is.

So, after saying all of this are having those dreams a good or positive thing in our lives?

Perhaps it all depends on what your dream is.

Right along with that, the next question that pops immediately to mind is, “if the dream isn’t big enough is it even a dream then?”

Honestly, I’m not really sure where any of this is going.

I do think dreams are necessary.

dreams
Source: Google Images

In fact, I would venture a guess and suggest that dreams need to be an integral part of our day-to-day and the often mundane cycle of life we complete 52 weeks a year; and year after year.

If nothing else the dream in our mind dangles the carrot in front of us, that we lust after and in some small way, keeps us from ending up in a mental ward in our local hospital.

Whether our dreams meet up with reality is some seismic collision comparable to “the big bang”, who knows for sure?

The stark truth is, nothing happens toward making the dreams a reality unless we do something to shift or tilt the cosmos in that particular direction.

One small and seemingly insignificant step that we may take could the catalyst the ignites the fuel that propels us along the path to that dream coming to fruition.

dreams 2
Source: Google Images

For most of us, reality and the dream are on a collision course of epic proportions.

Perhaps that is not such a bad thing after all.

Seeing or observing that two worlds are going collide “big time” may be enough of an incentive to cause us to step back, re-evaluate and then take corrective action to minimize the carnage.

Enough of my rant and rage this morning.

What do you think?

Do the dreams we have, explode when “reality and the dream collide?”

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —

 

 

 

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Poetry – “I Thought Of Her Today”

The pain of losing someone can be overwhelming. For many it is a pain that never leaves, even though it may subside slightly over time. They say time heals all wounds. Perhaps it does or perhaps it doesn’t.

I thought of her today

I cried

Memories slowly fading

Like pictures

Too long in the sunlight

Her memory knocks at the door

To come in

To the emptiness of my existence

My soul is a wound that never heals

Slowly leaking the life that is within me

I awaken expecting her

Reality startles me

She is not there

Her memory returns like a rushing wind

Swiftly filling the void

In the recesses of my heart

Time does not heal the pain

What is time but merely seconds ticking by

It heals nothing

Only stretches out the pain and hurt

I thought of her today

I cried

 

tears

Thoughts From The Wilderness Poetry – Darkness

A poem on the weight of anxiety and depression as it snares the day to day existence of those dealing with it.

Darkness

 

darkness descends ever so slowly

inching, creeping downward

like the slowly fading light of a summer’s eve

imperceptible at first

 

the bleakness has weight to it

a heavy burden

weighted bags of sorrow, fear, anxiety pulling

drowning in blackness

 

it is cold and non-discriminating

attacking at will

morning or night it steals like a thief

ransacking the soul

 

hopelessness and reality blended together

despair, cheerlessness, suffering

do the words really matter when nothing changes

no dawn yet

 

darkness descends ever so slowly

inching, creeping downward

the gravity of life overwhelms the present

it is black

Thoughts From The Wilderness – Why I Ventured Into Poetry(or have I lost my mind?)

One alternative working title for this piece, was “Have I Completely Lost My Mind?” Another one, which I think in hindsight is far better was “How Poetry and Insanity Collided and The Resulting Train Wreck.”

Notwithstanding, the choice of title, the question still remains, “why venture into poetry?”

Over my many decades roaming the Earth, I’ve evolved into a state of bliss in my waning years of “you’ve done the difficult routes….now choose an easy route now.”

A good approach, that I find for the most part is serving me quite well.

So, not having read or wrote poetry since some time I’m sure in grade 9 or 10, heading down the “poetry rabbit hole” doesn’t seem to fit at all in my “relative state of blissful existence.” In fact, it appears to be a huge contradiction to my normal way of skipping along.

As many would agree, writing in any form can be a challenge at best. Adding poetry into the mix for someone who doesn’t know squat about poetry makes no sense at all.

The reality is though, as “blissful as I think this existence” might be, we all need to “spice things up” every once and a while. Perhaps not so much as “spice things up”, but a challenge in some area of life to push the edges of the envelope out just a little further than they were the day before.

One thing that I’ve come to observe and certainly is a mantra of mine is that, we are never just in neutral. We are either pushing forward in life through searching out and accepting new challenges and experiences or we are moving backwards.

So, challenge accepted.

With a few ideas in mind, I simply started hitting the keys on the computer and didn’t stop until I had something out that expressed what I wanted to say.

Do I have a style? – no, not really.

I write until it’s done.

Most, if not all of my writing swells up from within my soul and can be very heavily emotionally and experience-based. Poetry for me is exactly the same way.

I that at least at this stage of the process, I find I need to be in the “right frame of mind” to begin crafting a poem. Trying to force a poem out, when my mind and emotions aren’t in the right spot for the most part results in an exercise in futility.

Poetry is the hardest style of writing I’ve ever done, but at the same time, it has been some of the most rewarding.

poetry3

It forces me to go deep within myself and examine subjects and emotions which often are found in dark and forgotten recesses of my soul. But, that’s all right. All of those emotions and experiences need to get out into the light. Writing and expressing myself through poetry for me is a tiny light that shines through in my darkness.

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A tiny light shining in the darkest of places can make a world of difference.

 

 

—  get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself  —