This year for my birthday, I focused on some radical self-care. I treated myself to a trip out west. I spent a week sleeping on a couch (best sleep I’ve had in the last four years might I add!), writing on a couch, reading cards on a couch, drinking 8 glasses of water a day on that couch, reading poems on that couch, listening to music on that couch, crying on that couch, talking on that couch. A lot of healing happened that week, on that couch. I would say some radical self-care occurred.
For one week, I had my life back, for me and me alone. I wasn’t a mother, I wasn’t a business owner, I wasn’t an employee. The only two people in my life, were on the same journey as me, and we were all open to the flow of a spontaneous adventure. How liberating to travel with people without a schedule! Without expectations (well we did expect to go to the Rocky Mountains, the rest was optional).
To say this trip was amazing is an understatement. It was life-altering. I was FLOORED by the immensity of the Rockies. They are truly majestic, no photo or postcard can ever get close to expressing their power.
Driving into Jasper, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sacredness… like we were driving through the birth canal of the Mother Earth, and I literally felt I was shedding an old life, and being born into a new one. In a way, as we drove and I cried in the back seat, I felt like I was grieving, but in a healing way.
Observing these ancient land masses really puts your life in perspective. These mountains that have been here for millions of years, more or less unshaken, who could be here for millions more… our life is the blink of an eye in comparison. *Almost* makes us meaningless. And although that may sound negative to some- for me it was extremely humbling and liberating. I let go of a lot of fear during that drive. I let go of a lot of self-judgement, I let go of the judgement I’d been carrying towards others, and with that came immense relief and peace.
What a blessing to have had this powerful experience. Since I was 16 and learned about the art of Emily Carr and Haida Gwaii, and then Lauren Harris and his paintings of the mountains, I have wanted to go west. Twice before I have been to British Columbia, but never did I see Mountains or land like I did in Jasper. In fact, I had been a bit disappointed by my past travels. THIS experience was truly what I have been waiting for. For 20 years my life built up to it, and I was not disappointed.
WHAT DID I LEARN?
My biggest lesson from this trip, is the vital life-line of self-care. As powerful as the Rocky Mountains were, for me having that couch as my sacred space for a week was just as powerful. I gave myself permission to just BE. There was hours of stillness, of reflection, of bonding with people who help me “refill my cup”- it wasn’t about me giving to them, or them even giving to me, it was about all of us there supporting each other in self-care for one week.
We ate good food, we did yoga, we rested, we walked and enjoyed the fresh air. We shopped and explored the art gallery. We only did things we wanted to do, when it felt right. This in my opinion is self-care at it’s best.
This trip put my whole life back in perspective- how I have put others before me for so long. How as a mother, I had morphed into this alter-ego of who I really was. I was drained, completely depleted, yet always pushing ahead. I was struggling more then I realized because I hadn’t really STOPPED to assess where I was, where I was going, or even what I wanted. I was driving blindly ahead, striving simply to maintain stability. But excess? To have more then I need? To be overflowing in vitality? To even be inspired? What’s that? I had forgotten.
“The road of excess, leads to the palace of wisdom.” – William Blake
That is a quote I read a million times, and finally understand. For me, this trip to Jasper was my experience of “excess.” Could I really afford that trip? Not really. Was it worth it? Totally. It was a much needed gift to myself; and at 36 it has directed the second half of my life.
My new priorities are yoga (work), children (my son), art (painting/creating and a solo show is in the works), and TRAVEL.
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