What I've Been Up To (or, A Summer Gratitude List)

I've been summerin' and it's been good. I am grateful for a lot of things, grab a drink and settle in...

Our new-to-us pop-up camper (ADVENTURE, POSSIBILITY)

I am grateful for our little cottage on wheels, Daphnie. She offers comfort, simplicity and possibility. This is our first full summer with her and we love her. Sometimes we pop her up right in the driveway just to hang out.

  Daphnie at Fitzroy Provincial Park last September. This scene makes me all warm & fuzzy inside.

Daphnie at Fitzroy Provincial Park last September. This scene makes me all warm & fuzzy inside.

.:.

Thought-provoking prose (DISCOVERY, INTROSPECTION, INSPIRATION)

I am grateful for finding books that expose me to different viewpoints, that make me think and question. Books that explore how it feels to be a Black American through common lenses like home, nature and birding. Books that follow the author as she sits with the staunch Right - in some cases, folks who happen to be my Acadian "cousins" in Louisiana, in which I learn about their fears, their dreams, there grievances with life and the Left.  Books that make me open just a little bit deeper. These books push me to reach and stretch outside of my known and norm in a way that is gentle yet eye-opening. Yes, I am grateful for that.

  My current library stash, some read, some not yet.

My current library stash, some read, some not yet.

.:.

Beach reads (ESCAPE, REST)

Then there are seaside cottages and lakeside dream houses, independent women and seemingly stuck-up men who come out of their hard shell to fall in love, or maybe a story about an artist finding her wings in Paris during the roaring twenties. Mmm, yup. Easy and light, beach reads are a welcome counterbalance to the intensity of thought-provoking prose. I am grateful for that too.

.:.

A last-minute camping trip to Bonnechere Provincial Park (SPONTANEITY, REST, TRUST)

I am grateful for a wee last-minute adventure that packed a healing punch. We booked a campsite one Friday morning for that weekend at new-to-us Bonnechere Provincial Park with no advance planning whatsoever. After a half-day at the office we loaded up the truck, hitched the camper and went with the flow. Expectations were released. Best. Decision. Ever. We slept, we swam, we sat in the shade and did nothing. That weekend I felt more relaxed that I'd felt in months. There was an active bear in the campground. I DIDN'T EVEN CARE. We ran out of battery power in the camper after two hours when we thought we'd have some for two days. Didn't faze me ONE BIT. Chance of a thunderstorm? Whatevs, I had ear plugs. THAT's how relaxed I was. Spontaneity, rest and trust for the win!

  The beach at Bonnechere was pretty sweet that weekend, the water warm and welcoming.

The beach at Bonnechere was pretty sweet that weekend, the water warm and welcoming.

.:.

A whirlwind road trip to Southern Ontario and back via the Bruce Peninsula (ADVENTURE, DISCOVERY, ESCAPE)

I am grateful for road trips and new places: six days and 1660km (about 1030 miles) in this case. This included a visit with my aunt and uncle, a wedding on D.'s side, two new-to-us great lakes, two new-to-us small towns, three new-to-us provincial parks and one national park, two amazing hikes, a boat ride to an island, all the while enjoying superb, welcoming spaces as our home base. It was soul-filling. There may be a future dedicated post on this one, I can't do it justice in one paragraph.

   The Reeve Bed and Breakfast , Dunnville, Ontario. Luxury, warmth, comfort - and amazing breakfasts!

The Reeve Bed and Breakfast, Dunnville, Ontario. Luxury, warmth, comfort - and amazing breakfasts!

   Bruce Peninsula National Park , Tobermory, Ontario. The water, the views, the trails... GAH! Gorgeous.

Bruce Peninsula National Park, Tobermory, Ontario. The water, the views, the trails... GAH! Gorgeous.

.:.

The Waltons (ESCAPE, INSPIRATION)

I am grateful for my DVD box set of The Waltons. I'm in the middle of season 3,  John-Boy Walton is my hero. He writes, he ponders, he has a good head on his shoulders and owns up to things when he screws up. He values family, respect, and does the right thing. I want to be like John-Boy.

.:.

Camping trips to come (ADVENTURE, DISCOVERY, REST)

I am grateful for three more camping weekends in the works between now and October: three nights at Bonnechere Provincial Park (we loved it so much during our spontaneous weekend that we booked a second one on the spot), one weekend at new-to-us Lake St. Peter Provincial Park and one weekend at Fitzroy Provincial Park, which is the park we visited on our first two camping trips with Daphnie last September. By having these plans laid out I feel like I've extended the summer by two months. I like that.

.:.

Adventure, discovery or escape, anyone? Throw in some r&r, usually by the water or surrounded by trees, and well, so far the summer has been pretty gosh darn good.

What are YOU grateful for this summer? Tell me. I want to know.

Stephanie

Q&A Session With Resistance (or, Who are we to...?)

PatioLanterns

Back in February I stumbled upon a passage in Julia Cameron's book, The Sound of Paper, that posed the question:

"If I found myself and my thoughts interesting, what might I try?"

One of the answers I ventured was penning the framework for creative living that's been surfacing over and over in my journal for the past seven years, for creating a life of intention and choice and alignment and joy.

The call to structure and capture this framework is coming in loud and clear these days. Of course this means that resistance, in its quest to protect me, is coming in loud and clear too:

"Do you really have it in you to do this? It takes time and energy. You're tired. It's probably easier not to start."

"Don't do it, there are trolls and mean people out there. If you publish your thoughts they will say mean things and it will break your heart. Do you really want your heart broken? Keep it to yourself. It's safer."

And the classic:

"Who are you to write a framework about creative living? You have no authority on the subject.”

About that last one...

Yesterday I was sifting through some old files and found the draft for a February post where I first wrote about Ms Cameron's question and admitted my desire to capture my framework for creative living. Apparently I'd originally written a second part to my reflection – a second, powerful part that didn't get published on the blog:

"Who do I think I am to do this [pen a framework for creative living]?"

Turns out I had several answers:

I am a person who truly believes in the power of choice and that we can create a life of alignment.

I am a person whose journalling practice has been producing and outlining a particular framework for the past seven years.

I am a person who practices the framework – albeit not always consciously, lives it and discovers its challenges, joys and nuances as she goes along.

I am a person who dislikes self-help clichés yet knows that sometimes things become cliché because they hold a kernel of truth.

I am a person who believes we have our own answers within, sometimes we just need a little prompting to ask ourselves the questions.

I am a person who has nothing to lose in penning this framework except her own time and effort, but has a lot to gain in clarity.

BAM!

Stephanie, 1. Resistance, 0.

Onward, I say.

.:.


Who are YOU to...?

Following Ms Cameron's prompt, the next time your resistance asks you who you are to do something, try answering it.

"I am a person who..."

Write down your answers. It's pretty powerful.

In spirit of discovery,

Stephanie