Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Im Going Outward Bound Once Again- Well, Sort of

Monday, 9 June 2014

New Beginnings.....

As I stated at the end of my last blog post, I was about to take my camera on my walk and see if I can set some more triggers free.

It was interesting…

I was still on Malcom Island, and there are photographic opportunities all over the island. I was a little nervous as I loaded my camera and myself into the car and embarked on the journey.

I have always loved photography, as far back as I can remember. I remember getting my very own camera for Christmas one year when I was around 6 or 7 years old.  I was amazed and intrigued, and would always tremble with excitement as  my small fingers loaded the 127 film into the camera body, peeling away the yellow sticker to thread the film into the spool that would pull the film across the lens. Possibilities were endless with every fresh roll of film.

 I would hunt around the yard and neighborhood hunting for the next great shot. Having my camera in hand and focusing on something helped me escape the craziness of my life, if only for a little while. When I was in senior high school, I was in the yearbook club and loved taking pictures and developing them. The schools camera was a friendly companion and I would often skip class to go take pictures.

And, once again, when I was doing this I would dissociate and switch, and it was the photographer who was out taking the pictures and developing them, and I would have very little memory of doing any of this.

As an young adult of 21 years old, I got my own camera gear and loved taking pictures of animals, landscape and then I really started to enjoy focusing on the small things, designs and patterns in nature, flowers etc. I was really into this for a few months and then one morning I woke up, and had no memory of the time I spent taking pictures, or that I even had the camera gear.

It was not until 18 months later that I came across them, all covered in dust, at the very back corner of my closet that I realized I had all this gear.

As much as I loved photography, it was also a trigger, and when it became too much, I would totally disconnect and become the "photographer” persona, and not even remember I had done any of it. And then, when even the photographer was triggered, that persona, and the camera gear, would be put away in the back corners and I would have no memory of either.

This past Christmas I asked for a new digital SLR camera, and I got one, is lovely, its new, it takes great pictures, and once again it’s a trigger as I knew it would be.

 Now I could have put the camera away, but I was tired of my past interfering with my present, and this was one of the issues I had been “dragging” around. I also knew I needed to face this part of my past. So, I pulled in my resources, upped my counselling sessions, and visits to my family doctor, and in the end I needed to go into the hospital to be supported while I processed these memories. As you read in my February 22nd blog post, it was hard, painful, but much needed work to move forward in my life.

So, back on Malcom Island, I am sitting crossed leg on a mixed gravel and rocky beach, overlooking the Broughton Strait. It’s a foggy morning, waters are calm and all is quiet, all except for the Kildeer, as it flys in circles 30 feet above my head. 

I sit back, lean against a dry old weathered log that a past storm had brought in and feel the coolness of the fogs moisture on my face and hands.  With the camera on my lap, I take a deep breath, light up the sage bundle I had brought with me and do a smudge. I cleanse the camera, as well as the little kid I was. I feel the contrast of warmth from the tears against my cool face, as they silently flow. I remind myself that I am now in the present that this is my camera, I am in control of this camera and what pictures are to be taken. And I am going to take pictures of beautiful and amazing things.

As I smudge and smell the burning sage, I know this is a new beginning.  I honor my past, all who have helped me on my journey, all of those I now have in my life, and to those who are yet to come.

After the smudge, I hold the still burning sage bundle close to my chest, I can feel the heat from the burning end on my face.  I sit and ponder, watch as the waves gentle arrive on the shore, and reflect. I reflect on where my life was, where I am now, and once again I am in awe when I think about the amazing creativity I had, as a very young child.  To dissociate and create personas to deal with overwhelming circumstances, not only deal with these circumstances, but survive them.

And I am once again reminded that I am not my past!

As the sage burns to the end, I gently lay it on the gravel and allow it to burn itself out, as I thank it for helping me on my journey.

Slowly standing up, I pick up my camera and in a very contemplative mood, listen to my feet crunch the gravel beneath as I walk to the car.

Putting the key in the ignition, I take a deep breath and drive to a part of the island I want to take pictures.

I spent the next hour taking pictures of many different things. Old and new building, old derelict cars, bees in flowers, bicycles with mini gardens made in the front baskets, Salmon berries that are so ripe they are about to fall off, while new still green berries grow on the same  clump, and their blossoms that are still blooming right beside them.

Was I nervous taking the pictures? You bet. My hands were trembling, my heart was beating and every once in a while it would skip a beat and it would  be off rhythm for about 4 beats, but it always got back into the right rhythm. My hands would get sweaty against the body of the camera, and I would be short of breath.

 But, I also knew that this anxiety was from the past, and to honor it and be able to move on, I needed to acknowledge it and allow it to flow through my body, so that it can dissipate, so that I was no longer holding onto that energy.

It was not easy, but it was a needed process and the good news is that I did not dissociate!
 I can remember taking the pictures and how I felt at the time and write about it two weeks later. 

For me, this is a pretty amazing thing. 

 New beginnings can come at any time, some planned some not. Try to be open to them, you will be amazed at what you discover.

I wish you all well and safety in your journeys, discoveries and new beginnings.

Those are my thoughts for today
Until next time, Cheers and be well

Monday, 2 June 2014

Dragging The Past Behind Me……

 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