I look out my window and see the raindrops gathering on the bows of Western Redcedar tree. The raindrops slowly pool together until they hit the critical point where they become heavy enough and run down its fan like sprays that come off its branches. They seem to hang on momentarily, then drop off, the branch bounces back up, ready for a replay. I get up to put a sweater on.
Yes, there is a change coming.
Fall is here. Even if it’s only been here a few days, you can feel the change.
The rain has become heavier, the air cooler, leaves changing colour and apples are dropping off the trees. Light snow has dusted the surrounding mountains and the smell of decaying leaves and wood smoke great me as I go for a walk.
When the clear blue skies and sun are out, there is crispness in the air. I can see my breath and when I come home from my daily-or almost daily- walk, my cheeks are cool and have a red tinge to them.
Un like most other areas of Canada where there is a definite change of seasons, here on Vancouver Island the seasons slowly merge from one to another, and this fall is no different. I love this time of year.
Some people do not like it . Some see it as a time of death and sadness, as the nights close in, flowers die, trees become dormant etc, but I don’t. I see warmth in the colours, all be it they are not as spectacular as most other areas of Canada. But here, this time of year, the maple leaves change from green, to an amazing array of yellow and gold before they fall off. The light this time of year is warmer and gives off amazingly long shadows. The coats on the local deer have changed from light brown to a spectacular rich, dark reddish brown that looks as if it’s made out of mahogany, it truly is beautiful. And in the next month the first of the Trumpeter swans will show up to winter over and fatten up, to get ready for their spring migration back up north.
For me, there is also internal change coming.
When I first got back off of my Outward Bound Course, life became unexpectedly busy. It has just been in the last week that things have started to settle down and I have had the opportunity to start to process the amazing adventure that I had.
I can say the person who went on that course and the person who came back are not the same. I mean I am the same but different, and it has been a bit of a challenge. This is in a good way.
I have noticed that some of my old life does not feel right, nothing drastic, just little things. Things like where do I really want to put my limited energy? Do I see things the same way? Priorities have changed and I am seeing things with new eyes.
I also recovered a lost, or not really lost, but very distant persona, or aspect of myself. I knew it was always there, but it was like a planet floating on the outer orbit. It would pass close by every once in a while, but never close enough for me to reel her in. Well, I did just that on this course.
It was, and is amazing, and like any new addition to the family, or relative coming to live with you, there is a period of adjustment.
I guess I am in the adjustment period.
I am also calmer, more at peace with myself and my life. I notice I worry less about when my disability pension will be put in the bank and what am I going to do in the future. I am living more in the moment. I have much more gratitude for my life and for those who are in it. I value and respect myself more than ever thought I would.
There have been a few brief moments where the old “worry” would come back, but I noticed and was able to ground myself and stay in the present. I also know, this will take time as I am making new pathways in my brain, and as I have said before, this can be tiring work, but it is so worth it.
Yes, I feel a change coming. Like the change of seasons here, it will not be dramatic, it will be subtle, it will happen bit by bit, day by day, and when it does, I know it will be right for me. I am open to it and I look forward to the new and improved me.
I will keep you all posted on this new and exciting chapter of my life.
Those are my thoughts for today
SuzyPS- Here is a Thank you Letter I sent to Outward bound, to send to the sponsors of the Women of Courage program
An open letter to all Outward Bound Women of Courage sponsors…
My name is Suzy Venuta and I have just finished the Women of Courage Alberta program ten days ago. At the end of each course we are asked to write a thank you letter to our sponsors, to thank them for supporting this amazing program. We did that on the morning of the 14th, before we were picked up to depart. It had been an intense week, I was tired and I felt I did not get to fully express my thanks and what the program has done for me, thus this letter.
The Women of Courage is a program for women who have had violence at some point in their life. Violence, especially if experienced in childhood, can change a person and distort the way they see the world, themselves, and their self-worth. It can isolate and cripple.
I have spent the last ten days thinking about and processing the amazing week I had in the Rookies, I mean, what better classroom to learn. I have been telling people about my adventure, for that’s what it was, but I find it hard to put into words, but I will try.
Women of Courage programs are not about a group of ladies sitting around a cabin having appy’s and getting a pedicure! Mind you at points during the course I wished it was!
On a Saturday afternoon a group of women gathered at a hotel in Canmore, Alberta. This group were all strangers to each other and the only commonality was having violence at some point in our life. A few made small talk, many were quiet. It was with some trepidation that I, and I’m sure the rest, waited for the organizers to show up. We were all strangers, but by the end of the week we were strong, supportive, valued members of this very diverse group. We became an amazing community!
Before my course I wrote the following post on my blog
“… I am taking this course to learn more about myself, who I really am and what I can really do. I am taking this course to meet challenges and put some old ghosts and “cognitive errors” to rest. I am taking this course to celebrate how far I have come and dig down a little deeper to find that authenticity that is me. ….”
Well, I can tell you I found more than that.
This course is one of the toughest things I have ever done, physically, mentally and emotionally. Many times I wondered “what the Hell am I doing here and why did I sign up for this?” There were times I was short of breath, my lungs and legs burned and I could only focus on one step at a time. And there were no shortage of moments when I thought I could not make it, where the weight of the pack and task just seemed too much for me.
There were also great moments of growth, deep down belly laughs, connections, heartfelt moments and many tears of gratitude. There were Epiphany’s, amazing support and joy. There were times of surprise and great discoveries and I learned that I can do more than I had believed. I grew stronger every day and the world as well as my pack became lighter.
It will take a book to write all that I have gained from this program but I wanted to thank all the sponsors and fundraisers for providing support to this wonderful program. I am on a disability pension and funds are tight, but your support allowed me to apply and be granted a bursary to participate. That is a gift that I will be forever grateful.
I also wrote on my blog
“… while on this course I will also be honoring everyone past and present, alive or dead who have helped me to get where I am today. They may have played a big part, or just a very small role. They may have been in my life for years, or it may have been just one chance meeting, or not know me at all…..”
You do not know me and likely will never meet me, but you gift has made an unimaginable positive impact on my life. I will hold it close to my heart always.
With this wonderful group and our supportive instructors I learned it was safe to trust, to ask for help, and to be who I really am. I discovered my strength, my laugh, my resiliency and my authenticity. But most importantly I found my essence; this is something that had been locked away for over 50 years. The next day one of the group members mentioned to me “You are just glowing.”
I have grown from this course and will continue that growth for many years to come.
I am slowly getting back into my life and I will continue to advocate and write about mental health issues, but I will do it with more confidence and conviction. I will have much richer relationships with myself, my family and friends. I will dare to do more than I ever thought possible. I will laugh deeper, cry freely, and I will be more at peace with myself and my life.
I send you my heartfelt thanks and deep gratitude for this amazing life changing opportunity.