Sometimes one must take a leap of faith and stretch one’s comfort zone by driving across Canada in January, yup it’s crazy, and TOTALLY worth it!
I didn’t drive across Canada because I wanted to see the country in the snow, it wasn’t about the scenery… For me, January is a time of ending and new beginnings and I needed to let some things go. I have gone through many big changes, and as Sharon Ellert reminded me, it’s time to re-set, re-generate, re-focus… re-create myself. This was a journey of letting go, and boy did I ever have to let go!!
My dear friend Marion Dulude had informed me that she was going to drive across Canada to move to Salt Spring, where she is teaching at the Wisdom of the Earth Wilderness School, with dear friends who have a deep practice and understanding of the 8 Shields model with Jon Young and associates. Something inside me decided that it was a perfect adventure to get away, to stretch my comfort zone and practice what I preach… and that is, get out and go on adventures, unplug and breathe in the trees.
I started my journey with a fruitful visit to the Toronto Outdoor Education School (see blog post here). Now that I am graduated my Masters of Adventure, I am on a mission to create more adventures for more children across Central Vancouver Island, and I wanted to find out how the Toronto Outdoor Education School did it. Granted they have a much larger population to pull from, within a smaller region, but what startled me was, we on Vancouver Island have 100 times more green space and wild, natural places to visit than they do, yet we aren’t mandated to take kids outside. I am so curious as to why this is, here in luscious BC.
So, after a night stay at their Outdoor School on Toronto Island, I felt energized to meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts who were really making a difference in young people’s lives. We built shelters in the pouring rain/sleet and cooked bannock on a small fire together, because fire making was likely going to be disappointing with the amount of water that flooded the area.
Thank you to all of the staff at TOES for the adventurous journey, the chance to be a fly on the wall, and to absorb the effect of quality outdoor education programming in Canada. My favorite part of that visit was when the woman facilitating the survival program said to me,
“I tend to just let them figure it out, I actually don’t even give them any help at all, even if they ask.” That’s what I call Guided Discovery Learning… staying out of their way until they reach a point where they could receive a question or a glance that would indicate something beyond their scope of imagination. It is SO fascinating that children these days don’t even know how to set up a tarp, let alone work together to save their souls. But that’s a story for another time.
My quest to build a new relationship with the Toronto Outdoor Education School, staff and director was a success, and now I look forward to bringing more information, knowledge and resources to Vancouver Island and neighboring islands.
Before I jumped into a car for 10 days, I had to go see the Niagara Falls. If you haven’t been there, for me it was THE MOST powerful water falls I have ever seen. So beautiful, breath taking, and deeply moving in many ways.
Now for the trek across Canada. Marion arrived late Monday night with a car jam packed full with her life, excited to move to BC. The whole experience seemed quite surreal. Had I really stepped into the expansive unknown, even with all of the words ringing in my ear of other people’s fears and “What if’s?” Yet again, I checked in with my intuition, “Am I doing the right thing?” And like a child squealing inside, a resounding “YES!” I knew this was what I was supposed to do.
Have you ever prayed? To an entity greater than yourself? We prayed each day for safe passage across the country. We prayed for the animals to stay safe and off the highway, for the roads to be clear and for us to be kept safe. It works, if you trust. This practice is somewhat new for me. I wasn’t raised to pray, but a few years ago I realized that if I believed in something greater than myself, I could let go of a lot of stuff. I could begin to trust not only myself, but that this other entity will take care of me. Many people pray in this world in many different ways for different reasons, and I have found that prayer is such a gift, and I am so grateful for this way of living.
It took a long time to cross Ontario, a LONG time. So we broke it up with some dog sledding at Borealis Sled Dog Adventures.
They were born to pull. The journey was so raw, so real, so moving, it made me cry.
We were blessed to spend 2 nights at his place. I asked Burton, “how do you know when a pup is meant to be the leader?” He says that at an early age he runs with them, rides his quad and starts racing them. At first, he watches as the pup wants to be at the front of the pack, but the real leadership shows, when that pup surpasses the quad and runs ahead of him, then you know that dog is meant to lead.
These Alaskan Huskey’s were loved and full of life’s pull for adventure. This is what I seek for the children of today.
Thank you Burton Penner for the incredible, uplifting pull that has helped me to reach my inner drive, that spark inside that ignites the wild, raw intuitive self.
While on this incredible journey, I ended up coming down with Pneumonia. My lungs filled with fluid and there were times that I was grateful, even to be able to take a breath. Talk about having to let go. I had to let go of this plan of mine to be a supporting role, to drive, to hold space for this journey, to be under the stars, to lie in the woods, to breathe in the trees. I could barely get in and out of the car, let alone breathe in the icy cold air. I was bound inside the car, in an upright position for 8 more days. Was I crazy. Yup. But it was raw and it was real, and I wouldn’t have changed it, because I believe that this was what was intended for me. It was what it was. I had to let go of everything.
I am so grateful for Marion and her way of holding space and taking care of everything. I am grateful for the new perspective of how important it is to take care of my body. I am grateful for the closure of the past through a great adventure into the unknown to brush away the cobwebs in my mind, detach from my computer and just… be. Thank you to all the beings who walked with us on that journey.
We found the end of the Earth… a few times.
First at the falls, then when the sun would set across the plains, an endless sunset that took over the whole sky, and to be driving into that view was remarkable. Like we were driven to find the end of the Earth. It was in those moments that we talked about how we face the hardships and issues that are happening in the world, as we drove by numbers of oil pumps.
How does one detach from the knowledge of what is happening to the Earth every moment? I struggled with this for years during my masters, and I still haven’t found an answer… but I realized that if I spend my time complaining, feeling bad or sad about what I see, what is that going to solve. It’s almost like what they say about forgiveness… they aren’t the ones who need to be forgiven, I need to forgive myself. Forgive myself for thinking that I should be doing something different. Here we are driving across Canada with the fuel from those pumps. I would feel like a hypocrite if I didn’t acknowledge that it is all energy, it is all resources, we are all made up of that same source. So why spend any of my moments in anger, blame, disgust, when I could be propelling my energy forward in positive ways to help children fall in love with Nature, so that they too will take care of it.
This is my choice. This is my mission. I focus energy on a pro-active approach every day, for our Nature, for the Earth… and in-turn for us human beans to thrive.
Why? Because I know too much. I know about what it looks like when a child has a spark of wonder in their eyes in that first moment of witnessing a natural phenomenon for the first time. I know about what happens to youth when that sense of wonder is stripped away from them, and they are left without faith, without trust, without love. I know that there is a lot of pain in the world today, and for me, the answer is not by putting our thoughts into Hope… because I believe that hope is something that humans made up, that fills a void of emptiness and can easily fail. For me, I choose to trust and have faith. It may be blind, but in that blindness, I can get out of the way, let go and let the pull of the Earth guide me and my inner dinosaur. I choose to trust and live from a place of knowing that there is something greater than me, pulling me to a greater place, and that it will all work out as it should.
It was on this journey that I truly began to believe in myself, in my intuition, in my capacity to trust and love unconditionally.
I have so much love for all things. I practice it now, with this new teaching of the Thanksgiving Address by the Haudenosaunee people. I don’t profess to be First Nations, or to teach First Nations way, but I choose to be grateful, and this is THE MOST wholesome way I have found to practice being grateful for all things.
Thank you to Alaina & Arnaud at Wild & Alive from Thriving Roots for bringing this into my sphere of consciousness.
As you can imagine, 10 days on the road and staying in Motels is hard on the body, yet uplifting to the spirit. Even in sickness, this journey was worth it. I have a new sense of life and purpose, and I know that it is my role to be a voice for the Earth. Stay tuned for what comes next at Wild Craft Play ‘sCool, because we will be telling the stories of the mountains, the sunsets and just WHY the dinosaur is eating the sun.