Hello my loves,
Gosh, it's been ages since I've written on here. I hope you're all holding up well, or, at least, okay (it's okay to not be well all the time x).
What inspired me to write here today was a long, long journal entry, in which I was reflecting on last night—when I reconnected with a friend I hadn't seen since quarantine tucked us all away. And though the details of the evening will stay traced in my journal and our memories, there are some zoomed-out thoughts I want to share with you guys.
A lot of you guys know that lately I've been just about oggling neighbourhoods that are steeped in nature. My mum—who will send me photos of giant, ancient trees and caption the message with, "I can see you sitting here and writing!"—seems to think this is no surprise at all. (My months in Paris found me working 50% of the time in parks, with the other 50% being on patios of cafés when I needed to plug in.) She always wondered how I live where I currently do, which is nearly smack dab in the concrete jungle of Toronto.
The answer is that I moved here, originally, post-university. And frankly, when you're used to living in a one bedroom apartment with a roommate, a flat like the one I'm in now seems like a sort of earthly paradise. I wasn't aware I should be concerned with the neighbourhood. I was 21.
Well, now, it's been six years. And in six years I've learned a hell of a lot about myself, which I will credit to writing, meditating, and living as an expat for at least 3 of those years. I only got back to Canada in late 2017, and then lived with my parents on and off for 2 years (on and off because I was still traveling for months at a time until September 2019, when I felt the strongest pull to ground and focus on watering my relationships here in Canada—I think that's a natural segue post-building a strong foundation of the self... space opens up in a whole other way for others).
What I've learned over these years could span the length of many blog posts, but essentially it comes down to understanding my values and how these should be honoured in all facets of life. That's why where I am most suited to live has come up lately. Because a big value of mine is connecting with nature, and quarantine, especially when parks and beaches were closed, made it abundantly clear that I'm not honouring that by living here. This dissonance, for me, feels like irritation, and a massive craving to dig my toes into grass and sand.
...which brings me back to last night. I found myself in my friend's neighbourhood, stunned. Though I've lived in Toronto most of my life, I'd never spent time in her neck of the woods—usually, I'd take a car to her door directly (we can thank the long, snowy winters for that one), if not meet her out. But yesterday, I walked some 1.5 hours to hers, and, man, was I glad I did. I didn't know we had neighbourhoods like hers here. That's to say, neighbourhoods with not only so much green space, but so much quiet lake access, too. You can walk into these pockets and get the feeling like you've somehow teleported to an island. It's incredibly beautiful.
I told her how just the other day I was imagining a space like this, which was partially why I was overcome with emotion. Because I got to walk around in what I'd been craving internally and see how it's really a possiblity.
We need this, I believe. We need to have our dreams reflected back to us, even if just in fragments, in order to have their possibility of actualizing in our lives really sink in. It's because of this belief that I do the work I do, host the events I do, and, ultimately, share how I do. Because I know I'm no one special, and that means I'm relatable, and so anything I do with respect to life is possible for others, too.
The other pieces from last night that stuck out to me were the immense value in quality time with real friends and patience. These aren't surprising, I know. Quarantine has likely led everyone to feel this way, at least with respect to quality time.
Patience is an interesting one. We aren't brought up in Western culture to be very patient. We're taught to wake up and charge through our days like we're all a pack of bulls, or something. Tons of people mention, of course, one-liners like, "There's no such thing as an overnight success." Or, you "need grit" to achieve big things, insinuating patience. But when it comes down to it, most of us are fed shiny messaging, which leads to a stringing of hopes and dreams on the frail hooks of motivational quotes. So, to be forced into surrendering, to be forced into patience... it's taken getting used to. A silver lining in this all stretching out over months has been just that though. If this quarantine had ended 8 weeks in, the lessons wouldn't have had a chance yet to sink.
I'll speak for myself, I wouldn't have grown into the sort of person that can wait months to see people that matter to me. Or, to clarify, I could have waited, but all white-knuckled in the process. This period has created an internal shift toward waiting peacefully, releasing the need to control when exactly things will happen, and trusting instead. That is a gift, one that will extend far beyond the walls of this pandemic.
So, the long and short of this all is...
First, listen to the discomfort you may feel in quarantine, or may have felt in months of stricter lockdown, because in that discomfort lie clues as to what needs attention, and possibly altering in your life—whether that be in the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual realm.
The second is that I hope you're cherishing the moments of reconnection, and really etching them into your minds. Time apart tends to heighten our awareness of the value of our people, but as we start to see each other more and more, it can be easy to lose that gratitude for our loved ones that is so poignant right now. Try not to lose it.
Finally, the third is this: kudos. Because this period has made us all grow, whether that be in patience, or in our understanding of effective communication, or what have you. You've grown and I hope you see that all this stretching to your wits end over the past few months has been to bring you here to this point. So, I'll say it again, kudos to you, to all of us. We're making it through.