I am currently en route after having spent the last 3 ½ weeks at my cabin in northern Canada. Yesterday, I locked up the summer home that has been my refuge for the last 40 years and drove 880km down to my parents’ home just outside of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where I will be flying home to Ireland from in a few days.
It’s always a bittersweet moment to leave. On one hand, it has been nearly 4 weeks since we have been away and my children and I are starting to miss our friends, our own beds and connection or WIFI! However, we are also leaving the lake, friends and family and the attachment to a country that we all feel deeply in our hearts.
During what I call this ‘great migration’, I am always acutely aware of transitions. There is usually a transition between settled cabin life to starting to mentally prepare to leave, the physical preparation to leave, the drive down to ‘the city’, the time in the city and finally the leaving. As you can see, there are many stages to this process and many opportunities to get caught up simply in the leaving and in turn missing all of the subtle transitions.
This year was no different. About a week before leaving the cabin, I started to get a bit sad and melancholic. It could be a year or longer before I return to this land that holds so much that is dear to me. I started to notice a heaviness in my heart and my body. I was also spending extended moments of just being in the forest: watching the trees, the ravens and feeling the forest floor beneath my feet.
Then, I started doing all of the laundry, and putting away all of the summer toys (boats and kayaks) for the winter. A subtle shift of mind-state was occurring. Excitement started brewing after the melancholy lifted- my Irish friends started texting and asking when it was exactly that I would be landing. Suitcases were being pulled out. I could feel a near excitement in my body and the need and desire to connect in with lake pals as a way of saying goodbye.
Next, the big drive down produces an energy of movement and adventure. We make our playlists of songs to listen to, pack a cooler lunch and watch the changing landscape as we move from north woods to prairie. It’s a big province with a diverse topography. The kids and I often voice what we are noticing out the window- the change from a mostly coniferous forest to a deciduous one and then finally the flat plains of the prairie.
Now, I am writing from my childhood bedroom in my parents’ home. A mental shift has occurred and I am looking forward to spending the day with one of my oldest and dearest friends from High School. Kids are connected to WIFI and their pals once again and we are all in anticipation of being in Ireland once more.
What I am saying is that there is lots to notice- changes in mood, thoughts, body and environment!! And this noticing is a good reminder of all of the subtle nuances and changes that I miss when I am making transitions throughout my routined life of non-holiday mode. We are constantly transitioning. Whether it be from waking, to commuting, to working, to lunch, to working, to commuting, to downtime, to sleep or if it is waking, to chores, to exercising, to showering… etc… There are shifts occurring all of the time.
This week’s challenge is to notice the transitions or the shifts and changes in mood, thought, body and environment as we move about our day. We might like to notice how we respond to transition. Maybe there are some transitions that feel easier than others. If so, what are they? Are there some transitions that we feel resistance to? What are they? How do these subtleties present in our moment to moment experience of life? Can we identify transition in the body? A shift in mood or thought processing? How does this coincide with our changing environments?
At present, as I sit here and type, I can feel a comfort in my body of being with my parents, the familiarity of their house and the memories that it holds. I am excited to see my girlfriend and her family while also savouring the heart-warming experience of watching our kids reconnect after a year apart. My thoughts are starting to move towards planning the day and making sure we that are organized to fly on Saturday.
However, there will be another shift tomorrow as I move into the next transition: my final day of my summer holiday in my homeland. I plan to bring my curiosity and my noticing (as well as some acceptance) to all that I face in these days of transitions. I hope you do too.
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