Prep

As usual, thanks to Nicky for the photo. She says I’m beginning to enjoy boulder fields. I say pshaw!

Maybe I am learning to tolerate them. But in the big picture, I still see boulder fields as nature’s way of keeping me humble – of reminding me that not EVERYTHING she does is about bliss. In other words, don’t get too uppity, babe – and watch your step! (literally)

Last night lightning struck the top of Alwyn – the very high peak behind our house. It’s not directly behind – Alwyn rises up in ridges and the summit is a bit of a ways back – but still.

So of course, there was a fire. Helicopters dropped a couple of buckets and then moved up the road to Roseberry where another fire was more threatening to homes. Simon drove around, observed, stopped a patrolman and made sure the reports were in. He activated the Red Mountain fire tree – went back out, saw it growing and coming down toward Red Mountain Road.

He was determined to stay up all night to keep us safe. I was even more determined he should get some sleep. I had the strong sense we were going to be safe.

And then, shortly before 6 a.m., we heard the most beautiful sound: rain! Not a drizzle: real rain pounding down on our roof. Even when it let up a bit, it still kept falling and is only now, late afternoon, beginning to taper off. And rain was not in the forecast!

We are so blessed.

So today, I have felt myself as a small piece of this great universe and all the miraculous things it does. I walked with the dogs briefly on the Galena Trail and I swear I heard the trees sighing with relief, opening up their arms to the rain. I believe their roots were dancing under the earth.

Prep time: shopping is done; my backpack is mostly prepared. Silver Cup Ridge!

Oh boy!

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Gwillim Lakes

Today: a day of being in my bliss. It’s simple. When I am hiking in these mountains, I am blissful. I am at peace. I am in a state of wonder. I am in the childlike place of discovery and endless possibility. There is a beauty and a wonder in this world that words fail to describe.

There is immense joy in sharing this miracle with someone who “gets it.”

Nicky gets it.

Simon gets it.

How lucky am I that I have two people to experience this with.

I live a charmed life. I am in a state of gratitude. My aim is to bring this with me into my life every day – this gratitude and this happiness. It’s a process. But as long as I am here and as long as I am embracing what is here now – this is as good a start as any.

Fortunate me!

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Cocoon/butterfly

This appeared on my Facebook feed this morning.

The universe does provide.

The journey is never over – just as we are never “over.” We change, we evolve; the journey reaches forks in the road and we choose one – and, if we are wise, we don’t look back but embrace our new direction.

It occurred to me today that life – at least my particular life – is full of new beginnings. These are not simply changes of direction or course corrections. There have been and continue to be significant events where I begin again – not just my actions, thoughts or behaviours, but my very self. And each time this occurs, I am like a butterfly. I feel myself emerging with new wings and I am oh so fragile.

Right now – today and perhaps for days, weeks and months to come, I feel myself fluttering, trying out the new wings, not sure about flying yet. Awkward. Tentative. But fly I shall.

And all these new directions and fresh beginnings lead me to home – inevitably. There are no straight lines in this universe made up of stars, galaxies, souls and love – everything is a circle. And, in the end, all the newness comes back to the place we started. But I believe that when we come back to that place – this time – we will recognize it with wonder. We will see it with new eyes. And we will finally know that this is where we belonged all along.

Oh the beautiful, convoluted paths we take to gather the learning we need.

Tomorrow the path leads to Gwillim Lakes. Once again, and always, the mountains are calling.

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Mindfulness

An exercise in mindfulness – this today on Slocan Lake – “Smoke on the Water.” It has its own ephemeral beauty.

There is beauty everywhere if I can see it – if I can practice mindfulness. If I can practice beginner’s mind. If I can quiet my chattering brain and see with clear eyes.

As I walked the dogs today on the Awesome Trail, I thought of many things – and even had precious moments of “not thinking.” I thought about my purpose here on earth – my calling – To inspire social and environmental activism by telling powerful stories that touch people’s hearts.”

This was my calling for many years. But I saw clearly today that, like everything, it changes. Nothing is forever fixed. Who we are – and who we become. We are constantly growing, evolving, maturing (or immaturing, I hope). And I saw the changes I have been experiencing in the last two years. They aren’t gentle or subtle changes. No – quite dramatic really. And when I look at them I can see why I had such challenges when I moved here. My world had not only been turned on end – I had to change – and very rapidly.

Yes, the core of me is the same – always will be – a tiny speck of stardust that is nothing but pure love and connection. But I have incarnated into this body and this personality and I have been molding it, building it, tearing it down, rebuilding it, shaping it – all my life.

Excitingly, this is yet another new place in my life and it is only now that I am beginning to put finishing touches on this new shape; I can see how it has shifted and grown. I realized, in one beautiful dump of information, right into my heart, how my calling is now a new one. The phrasing is borrowed. It is not original. And yet, it is mine and I own it:

I am called to the mountains. And I must go.

Simple.

And here I am. I can look back and see my resistance. And yet, through that, I must have had an inkling. Even when we first bought this property, I could have said “no.” I wanted to say no. My logic and common sense said no. And I told myself, in part, that I couldn’t say no because Simon loved it so much. But there was something else too. I can’t put a name to it, except that sometimes you have to step through fear and follow the heart, even when the mind yells no.

This does not mean for one second that I am completely through this new fucking growth experience (will they ever leave me alone?) – it only means that I am seeing it, recognizing it and finally embracing it. I am falling in love with my new home.

Am I still afraid of winter this year?

Of course.

But not quite as much. I have something I didn’t have last year: I have a bit of experience under my belt. I have a sure knowledge of the beauty of the winter season and the magic of the snowy mountains. I have a man who I can trust, love and believe in one hundred percent. I have friends – at least one of whom I don’t just like a lot, but love.

And I am in the mountains. They called. I listened.

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Unfucking the Self

This is the message in the meme that my very dear friend, Annette, posted today:

Unfuck yourself.

Be who you were before all that stuff happened that dimmed your fucking shine.

It started a beautiful, powerful and thought-provoking discussion. That discussion will continue with a group in California. Here – it is merely playing in my mind and soul.

Unfuck yourself. How do I do this? Annette wondered. My first thought was that you have to know what makes you bliss out – and then do that. Do it over and over and over again. Find your bliss and be in that space/place/time/activity as much as you possibly can. That is your shine and that shine will linger longer and longer when you return to the “real” world.

And then I wondered. How do we get fucked-up in the first place? It starts pretty early. The bliss of childhood seems to be taken away from us earlier and earlier in our lives: learn to read, to achieve, to play the piano, dance, get a black belt, excel at a sport – and on and on. What happened to unstructured play? what happened to “let’s pretend?”

Getting away from adults was one of our first lines of defense against fuck-upedness.

But we all got fucked-up anyway – by the system: education and just plain old capitalism that wants obedient workers that follow orders. If we all remembered our shine and sent out our beams every day, the system would collapse.

But it’s never too late to reclaim our shine. Each of us is a star. We glow at our unique frequency. We are special. Unique. Our shine does not depend on someone else. We do not need to be polished. We are perfect exactly as we are. Our only problem is that we are who we are not.

Countless systems have been developed that are supposed to give us back our shine. I tend to be skeptical of most of them. I’m not sure that “analyzing” anything or anyone is a good way to get at what defies analysis and logic. We are stardust, connected to a universe we don’t truly understand. We are a part of the magic – we are linked to everything from a supernova to a bee gathering pollen in a field of lupins and anemones.

For now, I will go back to my first instinct. Find your bliss and do everything in your power not to lose it or move away from it. Embrace it. Be in that place.

Never lose your connection nature. The disconnect from all that majesty, beauty and life is  a sure way to lose your shine.

My shine? I’m not sure I will ever stop working on it. Every year of my life brings me just a tiny bit closer. There have been times when I was completely lost – totally fucked. Bit by bit I unfucked myself. I am still not unfucked. But day by day and year by year, I am getting there. I don’t know how close I’ll get in the end – but I’m aiming to get closer.

Consciously or not, I’ve managed to get myself to a place where I am in bliss much of the time. My home is the mountains. “Home” was one of the words I chose for 2017. Home is not this house, much as I have come to feel good here – and settled. Home is the mountains – and these mountains in particular are speaking to me.

Home is with the man I love and what we are building together. And while my bliss is in the alpine, my solid contentment is with my love. (not to mention giddy laughter and utter silliness)

Most of all, home is inside me – in my connection to the Mother – to all life – to the beauty around me. I am a speck in all of this – this universe of magic is my home.

My other word for 2017 is “fierce.” And by that, I mean intensity and commitment to self. As I embrace home, I sense the fierceness of it. Somehow, this is all connected. Somehow, everything is beginning to fall into place.

My shine. Unfucking myself. That seems like a very good project right now.

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Texas

Nicky and I had another beautiful day. It seems to me, looking back, that every day I have spent hiking with Nicky has been a thing of beauty. How many other people who I know (not many, I promise you) truly understand how we are connected to the Mother – how we are part of her and all her living beings? How many other people do I know who bliss out in the alpine?

Not many

I am blessed.

And so, despite the smoke and heat, we set off for Texas, taking a wrong fork on the road, correcting and finally getting on the trail (road) at 9.45 a.m. Up we went, getting on to Hollywood Ridge and then free-lancing (read “slogging”) our way up to the grassy knoll before the first Texan. This was the place we knew we would come back to for lunch – a magnificent spread of flower-filled alpine meadow, rolling down and out of sight with smoke-hazy peaks all around.

Beautiful!

Off we went on a fine ridge-walk to the summit block of the first Texan. We had an interesting but fine scramble to the top. From there we surveyed the ridge and scramble to the main Texan – and decided against it. It looked gnarly, it was hot and we’d planned a return via Reco Ridge. That would be plenty for one day.

After the obligatory summit shots we headed back, Nicky the way we came up and me choosing to bum slide down the mountain bike trail. Never has a person’s bum been so dust-covered. I mean – never!

And so off and back to the beautiful meadow. And yes, we could have stayed there for hours. But we still had a lot of ground to cover. So – up and up to Reco Ridge. I’m sure the heat on that final slope went up to 40 degrees. It was an oven. We slugged back electrolytes and carried on – then we had a truly fine and blissful ridge walk and a good amble down the road to the truck. Total time hiked: 6.5 hours and distance – 19K. We estimate that with the ups and downs we probably did 1300M elevation.

Pure joy all the way. This joy extended to getting into the shower and watching 10 or so pounds of dust and dirt swirl down the drain. Cleanliness may or may not be next to godliness but man – it sure felt pretty holy today!

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Mush-brain

First – thanks to Nicky for the photo – wheee! Me in my element!

Next – mush-brain indeed. Nothing, but absolutely nothing coherent is going to result from the meeting of these fingers with the keyboard today. Let me explain. Ever since coming back from Robson, I’ve had shoulder aches. Simon has been doing stellar massage work – and it has been getting better but still there. Then, this morning, for the ten millionth time in my life (tiny exaggeration?) my lower back went out.

Over the decades, the things that throw out my back have varied from picking up an empty laundry basket to stretching to picking up a grocery bag. This morning it was twisting while stepping out of the tub. It’s what it is.

And so the pain was intense enough that I suffered from some awful nausea right after getting out of the shower. But I pulled it together and got on with my day. Then Simon went into town for milk and came back with a brochure from our local chiropractor – who was actually working on a holiday Monday – and suggested I go. Truth is, I have had remarkable results from chiropractors in the past so I made the appointment.

After a one-hour visit, I am mush. I haven’t felt this relaxed in years. My body is limp. My brain – ditto. And everything already feels better. I’ll see him for a series of treatments. As Simon said, with all the backpacking and hiking I’m doing this summer, this is a good investment. And I like him a lot! Holistic guy – and a mountain guy: what’s not to like?

In other news – Simon is putting together his music cave – yay!!!

In other other news, the smoke is the worst it has been. I am questioning Mount Brennan tomorrow – and not because I think the smoke will affect my hiking but because one of the reasons for getting to the top is the view. We won’t be able to see a thing. I am actually considering a trip to Mount Revelstoke.

Mulling it over.

And taking the rest of the day off from anything at all. I was going to write profound thoughts, but that was before my brain turned to mush – so mush it shall be.

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