Figuring Things Out

Week 124 – July 29, 2022 – Informed by Travel

I’ve been travelling around BC over the last week. Last weekend I was with my family (i.e., my dad, sister, and twin bro) and we travelled to our “hometown” of Prince Rupert. My brother and I were born and raised there. My parents and my sister immigrated into Canada from Hong Kong when my sister was 2-years old. We had lots of memories. My dad had some difficulties remembering some things. It must have been another lifetime for him. Some things changed radically (i.e., the pulp mill, the Port, and schools) while other things stayed the same (i.e., our houses, city hall, the public library, and Civic Centre). We were not visiting people, but bumped into a few. It happens when you are in a small town. Many recognized my brother. LOL.

Going to Prince Rupert was an excellent trip. My sister, brother, and dad never thought they would return to Rupert, but happy that they did. It was good closure for my family and what my dad recognized were the changes in community. When we graduated from high school and my parents moved to China then to Burnaby, BC, it was the height of Prince Rupert’s population and livelihood. Natural resources like pulp and paper and the canneries were at its peek and my grad class was the largest. Now the city is about 60% of what it was and new areas like Cow Bay changes the personality and rhythm of the community. My brother noticed that who we are was influenced by our experience in Prince Rupert. People are nice and friendly. My sister loved visiting the public library, her first and favourite job. They were celebrating their Centennial and had posters ups… and my sister was there! Lots of memories.

I loved visiting places like WestEnd Restaurant and having a HUGE chow mein bun. I think things like that are funny and I enjoyed staying at the Crest Hotel. We say three canoes launch (during the fishing derby) with youth and talked to the community. I enjoyed being in community and feeling like “we were at home” (as my sister said) and yet being visitors to this land. On our first day, an Indigenous person approached us as the sunken gardens and pointed out an eagle’s nest to us. Are we tourists? Yes we were. I loved the Northern Pacific Cannery and the Museum of Northern British Columbia. I appreciated the history and the storytelling. I used to work and the museum and enjoyed the gift shop to get souvenirs that would fit into my backpack. It was good to return home and I anticipate, unlike my family, to be back here soon.

Upon my return to Prince George, we did a quick turnaround to drive to the Lower Mainland. I enjoyed being back in Prince George. It’s my new home and I have very little desire to return back to the Sunshine Coast. Much like my family with Prince Rupert, the Sunshine Coast was another lifetime. I’ve turned to a new page and I am happy about where I am (at least enjoying the journey so far). In the Lower Mainland, I wanted to create a little vacation for myself. First of all, my kid is a good driver. Wow. Driving long distances is not my strength. I do prefer the plane. LOL. That said, I am happy to have my vehicle to explore place. I have a different kind of freedom with my car. I booked a couple of motels… one in Burnaby and the other in Harrison Hot Springs. It’s a super hot week and I am appreciating the air conditioning.

The photo above shows an image of a tree in Stanley Park. It was a gorgeous tree. I won this experience via Instagram (and did not realize it was a contest). Serendipity works in mysterious ways. We sat near this tree and in the shade. The experience happened exactly the way it should in terms of people, place, and land. I loved slowing down (even more) to listen to and be informed by the forest and trees. It was a beautiful complement to the Museums I visited in Prince Rupert and the Sacred Journeys exhibit at Science World (I went to the day before). Forest bathing at Stanley Park was amazing. It was exactly what I needed. I learned about stillness, connection, and interconnection. I made deliberate choices and the forest had the answers. There is a level of trust, openness, and vulnerability required to really listen to what your body is saying. I am still reflecting on these messages but super happy I went.

My mini work/play holiday concludes at Harrison Hot Springs. I’m not sure what inspired me to make this trip. A part of me wanted to be by the water and another part of me wanted to return to places in a conscious and purposeful way. I’ve been her a few times, but I was more like a “floating blob” (a term I used at forest bathing) versus a person moving forward, like the roots of a tree, with intention and purpose. I’m here looking at this place with different eyes and I am brought back to this image during forest bathing about the roots of a tree. The first activity at forest bathing was breathing and mediation and one of the images provoked was the roots of a tree. What do the roots do when faced with an obstacle? Damn. It just goes somewhere else and takes a different path or direction. A big aha for me. Why keep trying to move through the rock when you can go around it? Here at the hot springs, I’m feeling the same way. I needed to come this place to realize what I don’t want.

The lessons continued at forest bathing with two more invitations. One was to focus on movement and the second on community. This tree in this picture above taught me so much. I was focused on the motion of the leaves of the tree and its branches; and then the trunk of the tree. What I have realized at that time was how there are different communities and different people within each community. Find your people and know that in this place, every person is doing their own thing and what they are doing does not determine your value or contributions to the community. Do you own thing. Acknowledge it and embrace it. You are the only person to make who you are, but know that you are contributing and have value. Your community has your back. Being at Harrison Hot Springs is nice, but this is not my place. I am thankful to be in Prince George and to be in a place and with people who have my back. I have met some pretty amazing people who all do different things and we are interconnected.

I can see this now. I can see my value and my worth. I can contribute in ways that are aligned to who I am and what’s important to me. ALIGNMENT has been always something that I’ve been looking for and I believe that I am arriving. It’s never perfect and I love positioning myself as a learner (not a knower). I don’t have to be with “the cool kids” (aka. The Cedar Trees at Stanley Park during my forest bathing session) but I can belong to a tree (or community) that I choose and I belong to (for me and we). It’s so interesting that I’ve spent most of my life trying to be someone else or being someone who I perceive other people want me to be. I’m not that person. I am me.