Here I sit, with a view, looking at the fog and ocean, and I am dragging my past behind me…
I am in the village of Sointula, on Malcolm Island. Malcolm Island is one of the northern Gulf Islands, off of Vancouver Island. It’s about a 3 ½ hour drive north from where I live, and then a 25 minute ferry ride.
Earlier this year while in my stained glass class, I mentioned that I was looking at renting a cottage for a week up here in August, to get away and do some writing. My neighbor is also in the class and she mentioned to me that her mom still owns a house up here, so she talked to her brothers and in the end, I get to use this lovely house, with an amazing view to come up and relax and write.
My son and I arrived here on Friday afternoon. It was sunny and cool and beautiful. We unpacked, settled in, and looked forward to our adventure and R&R, and of course writing. Last time we were here 3 years in August, we were camping and it was cold, and wet. Luckily the thrift store was open so that we could buy some sweaters and mitts and toques. This time round there are no tents, we have a lovely house with an amazing view instead.
Yesterday morning at 5:20AM I was woken up by the good morning song of the Robin, and the sunshine. I did get back to sleep and eventually got up and did some writing, had a bite to eat, and then got dressed. My son- who is 29- and I then went down to the local bakery and had some coffee and their to die for crème cheese and smoked salmon croissant. Oh my, what an amazing combination, not overpowering, but subtle and lovely and the croissants are so light and crispy in just the right spot, and they melt in your mouth. We had another coffee as we lollygagged and my son tried out the cinnamon rolls, and said they were lovely.
We then went to the resource center to access the internet, to let my husband and friends know we arrived safely, and to get a tide guide. There is a lighthouse I want to go look at, it’s a 10 minute walk from the start of the path and then walk along the beach. Last time we were here we went there, but the tide was coming in, so I had to cut the visit a bit short, I didn't want a wet walk back to the path. The tide guide gives me an idea when the tides will be out and when it’s coming back in again. Yesterday would have been a perfect day for that walk..but it never happened.
Shortly after that I started to feel anxious, irritated and not myself. I do get this for the first couple of days when we are camping, but we are not camping this time round. It took most of the day of noticing and acknowledging, but it was during a drive last night that the dots started to connect and I understood why I was feeling like that. And, yes, I did get frustrated because here I was, on a lovely island, looking forward to some relaxing and writing, and after all the work I have done in therapy, I am still dragging my past behind me, and its firmly attached! With that, I went to bed with feelings of sadness.
This morning I was once again woken by the Robins morning song, and the screech of Bald Eagles, but no sunshine. It is a foggy day and I can hardly see the outline of Vancouver Island. I got up, made some tea and started to write. While I was writing, I thought, and wrote more about what happened yesterday, what the triggers were, where they are coming from, and why I am having them. Through this process, I can understand more, and understand myself better, and reminded myself, that when I first started therapy, there was no way I could look at an issue like this while I was away from home, let alone on a small Gulf Island with very little cell phone coverage or internet. I would have needed the support of my therapist and work one on one through this.
Does having that realization take away my feeling of frustration? Somewhat, but I still get frustrated that my past is still affecting my present, as I am still dragging my past behind me, but then I had this visual.
I think back to the beginning of therapy, when I had what I call my “crash and burn.” Because I had not dealt with any of my issues, I was doing the best I could but I was at a point where I really needed to do some work on it, I could no longer run from it. Yes, I was dragging my past behind me, everywhere I went, and it was hard to drag because it was huge. I visualize this giant sized burlap bag, that is heavy, and awkward, and laden down with my life and all that happened to me. This burlap bag was so big and heavy I could not pull it through doorways, or anywhere else. I was stuck. But through lots of hard work, that bag became smaller and lighter.
I still have that bag, but it’s no longer this huge, heavy, cumbersome burlap bag. I now visualize it as a lovely 4x6 inch, beautifully and lovingly hand-woven silken bag, kind of like a small book bag. I carry it close to me where ever I go and I honor its contents and stories. And every once in a while it will poke and prod at me, and its then that I need to stop, have a look, spend time, rearrange its contents, sometimes take something out and set it free, and then close it back up and carry on.
I have spent the last 16 hours re arranging some of the contents, and maybe in time, I will set it free also.
I know I am not my story, meaning, I am not what happened to me, I am not my past. As a friend said to me the other day “Your past is not you identity.” Its part of who I am, but it is not the whole me.
With that note, it is time for me to clean up, get dressed and go for a walk. I am going to take my camara with me, and see, if I can set some more triggers free.
I will let you know how it goes.
Until next time, these are my thoughts for this foggy morning and I wish you all well in your journeys.
Cheers and be well
Cheers and be well