Today is like a beautiful summer day (it’s only May 24). I’m sitting in Victoria Park in my home town of Kitchener. The park is at the core of the city, and like in so many cities the park is full of history and seems to be a hub for people to enjoy a bit of nature on such a nice day. There are dozens of people within sight of me; Kids playing in the water park across the creek, people who seem to be taking a break from the working world, people sitting on benches and enjoying the sun while they read, and two people in love walking hand in hand.
I came here today, as I had an hour before needing to be somewhere, and I figured on such a nice day it’s better than sitting in a coffee shop. I wanted to write this post, and figured I would find inspiration here. The thing is I’ve been here for almost an hour and the inspiration hasn’t come.
For more than a year now writing has come almost fluidly for me. It’s like canoing on a calm lake during a warm summer day. There’s no big hurry, you can paddle without fighting the waves or wind. It’s just such a grounding experience to paddle my canoe on a beautiful day. However, every once in a while you get to the end of the lake and to continue you must put your canoe on your shoulders and portage it to the next lake. Here’s where the problem starts for me …
We love to canoe. More specifically we love to canoe on remote lakes without motor boats, and lots of other people. We just love to reconnect with our world in this quiet way. The problem is, most of these lakes are a portage away from the lake we put our canoe in. If you’re wondering what the problem is, it is that I love riding in and paddling my canoe. Carrying my canoe and gear on my shoulders … not so much. it’s while standing looking at this sculpture in the park it suddenly hit me …
Although it can sometimes be hard work to portage, the effort has always paid off for us. We always find a new adventure, a tranquil space in which to just exist. None of life’s pressures, no hurry to be anywhere, no worry about being anything but ourselves. This is why we love our summer getaways, and the opportunity to disconnect from the world around us.
I used to think of such an experiences as escaping the real world. Now I view it as returning to the real world, leaving behind the trappings of a world we humans have created for ourselves.
Just like portaging a canoe
It’s no secret I’ve been on a journey of self discovery and improvement. This is hard work, and honestly I think I’m just tired at the moment. I’ve been fairly critical on myself for the past several weeks given I haven’t been doing as much writing as it’s just been a chore. I haven’t been able to explain it, but in Victoria Park today I found my answer (it was actually on my T-Shirt) … Portaging sucks.
It’s time to practice what I preach … time to practice a little self compassion and let myself have a little space. This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing as I love sharing in this way. However, just like when I’m portaging my canoe, I will allow myself to put it down briefly to give my shoulders a break. I don’t need to do this portage in one big rush, and it’s OK to slow life down a little and give myself a break. Truth be known, when I put my canoe down it allows me to enjoy a little patch of the world without rushing by it … so why not do that with my writing and life in general?
My writing isn’t the only place in which I’ve been feeling stuck trying to figure things out, but much like my writing I know I need show myself a little self compassion, patience and listen for what my is true for me. As I’ve said … this is hard work and sometimes taking it slow is the right answer.
It’s your choice
Unlike canoing, once you start into a change in your life you cannot turn back. You cannot unlearn the things you’ve learned. So when you become exhasted on your journey you will have a choice to make. You can either sit down and surrender to this being the best you can expect, or you can rest for a moment then pick yourself up and keep going.
What I know with certainty is the reward awaiting you is worth the effort. With each portage I cross, I find something wonderous about myself on the other side. Each new lake I come to is more beautiful than the last one. Sure there’s days it’s rainy and perhaps a little stormy, but my life has changed for the better. I simply cannot go back to where I started.
My wish for everyone in this world is to be on a journey of personal growth. When we do this we’re continually expanding the impact we have on the world, and those around us. It is through this work you do for yourself, you will fulfill the dreams you keep chasing.
Much as in my experience you will find periods of time the journey is tough going. Be gentle with yourself. Show yourself a little compassion, take a break if that helps. Whatever you do though don’t give up. The world is waiting for you! Keep moving forward as there’s something beautiful waiting for you just up the trail.
The truth about canoing and portaging
We love going for a paddle in our canoe. It’s true I don’t enjoy the portages, but at the same time I won’t really complain as I know what’s waiting for us is something beautiful. I really can’t think of a better way to spend time with two beautiful girls!
So in truth … portages don’t really suck for me … too much 😉