My apologies to anyone who has asked me how the weekend was and what I “did”. I probably gave you a crappy short answer because to be honest it’s just too hard to summarize in one sentence. What we actually did was head into Manning Park for a weekend of “summer camp” fully set up for us by MEC Outdoor Nation. It was an initiative by Parks BC in conjunction with MEC Outdoor Nation and Chasing Sunrise in celebration of Manning Park’s 75th anniversary. There were games, campfires, s’mores, amazing food for us cooked by Kyle and Laura from Fuel Your Fire (supplied by Whole Foods), we woke up at 2:45 am for a sunrise hike to Cascade Lookout and we lounged around by the lake. I was with 50 total strangers. We all were.
The reason it’s hard for me to explain is because the magic of last weekend for me was discovered in the spaces in between the things. It wasn’t about having my mind blown by some crazy backcountry adventure. It wasn’t because I did something that scared the sh!t out of me. I struggled with a restlessness this past weekend because I was anticipating new physical experiences. The magic was in the moment that I realized that my life is very much about “doing” and not enough about “being”. To be fair, I do build a fair bit of downtime into my life; I know how to sit around and how to rest and recover when I’m tired. But what I realized is that even that time is calculated and probably fits better into the category “doing” rather than just “being”. When I realized that was the case part way into the second day, it shifted my mindset and I was able to “see” more.
I am fascinated by human interactions. Because of the type of community we have at CFSQ I have always paid very close attention to social dynamics. Humans have a fundamental need for connection. When you take 50 strangers and strip them of their social crutches (friends and phones) you see this desire so clearly and it’s quite beautiful. It’s fascinating to observe in others but also in yourself.
My takeaways that I have thought about the most this week… my themes of the weekend if you will:
- This weekend I made some very strong connections with some pretty amazing women. In only 36 hours I learned a lot about them. And I felt like they listened to me in the way my closest friends do. We shared some really personal stories and there was a ton of empathy and understanding. That process can often take months or years. It was interesting how quickly in a group of 50 I was able to find these people. We really do seek familiarity even if we don’t realize it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I’m quite certain those girls will become very good friends.
- This weekend I burst out laughing dozens of times. I laughed to the point of tears at least half a dozen times. No question, that’s just plain organic fun.
I think I would choose those points listed above over a crazy new physical adventure any time. The bonus was waking up at 2:45am and watching the sun rise with them… that fulfilled my traditional notion of adventure 🙂
There were a few other things this weekend that I observed and paid very close attention to. I reflected and challenged my previous ways of thinking about them. Those are my personal things just for me 🙂
The amazing thing about going into the unknown is that we are adaptable. We have a very strong capacity to assess new situations and evolve if we need to. What appeared to be very familiar to me on the surface actually exposed me to some deeper ideas to think about that I would not have experienced had I been with my regular people. There were moments of discomfort for sure when I “saw” myself in certain situations. I would catch myself wondering what other people were thinking of how I was being or what I was saying and then I suddenly realized that I was actually the one judging myself (maybe others were too but learning not to care about that is a whole different conversation). Even with the discomfort (or maybe because of it) I feel a strong sense of fulfillment for having had my eyes so wide open and letting the environment dictate what I saw and learned.
There is more opportunity to fully engage in life than we realize. I think the unknown is the breeding ground for growth. It starts by taking a risk and putting yourself out there and then trusting that you will be okay. A weekend like last weekend is not just an event or a moment but rather a gateway to new thoughts and ideas. Fun right? I hope you can see now why it was hard for me to answer what I did last weekend 😉
I am so impressed by the visionaries at Chasing Sunrise who are incredibly creative do’ers. The world needs more people like them.