WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

WHEN THE WRONG ONES WILL DO

WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

MAKES ME HAPPY

GROWING AND MAKING STUFF

AWARENESS...

STAYING AWAKE TO THE REMARKABLE IN THE ROUTINE

AWARENESS...

Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

two dogs sitting on a rock

I received an email from the Gunflint Lodge, advertising a three day workshop called “Finding Your Voice: Stories & Song” with Kevin Kling & Simone Perrin. (Watch videos at bottom for samples of their work.)

Perhaps it was the “Finding Your Voice” part that grabbed me. I had no idea who Kevin Kling & Simone Perrin were but I didn’t care. I would pay whatever it cost and move whatever I had to move on my calendar if they could help me find my voice.

I’m not sure it even clicked with me that this was a “storytelling” workshop, as in standing up and telling a story, out loud, in front of people. All I knew was that I felt so cut off from self-expression and so invisible that I would do anything to be able to speak and have someone hear what I had to say.

Gunflint Lake

I don’t know whether this feeling of becoming ghostlike and without value comes from getting older and watching all the shiny young things do what you used to be asked to do. I mean, I’ve always felt a bit like an aberration* with family and in social situations, but having it topped off by a feeling of becoming obsolete and useless is new.

*Aberration:
Something or someone regarded as atypical and therefore able to be ignored or discounted.

Staying at the Gunflint Lodge has the added benefit that they allow dogs to stay in their cabins, and they are located in the beautiful Boundary Waters area on Gunflint Lake. If you look across the lake, you can see Canada. If the ice had been thicker, I would have gone for it.

Gunflint Lake

After two days of the storytelling workshop, topped off by a performance by Kevin and Simone, I feel truly blessed that I had this opportunity. Kevin and Simone created such a fun and supportive atmosphere and the workshop participants were a great group of people, with whom I quickly felt comfortable.

The following are a few things I learned at the workshop:

  • Storytelling is about transferring experience instead of just knowledge.
  • Story can be a tool to stitch things together, heal, and move out of shame.
  • Story is a bridge between the storyteller and the listener.
  • In storytelling, people need to trust you. They need to have portions of the story show them who you are.

And this absolute gem, which can be applied to much more than storytelling:

  • Don’t write someone else’s story. If someone suggests that you make a change to your story and that suggestion isn’t congruent with the message you want to convey or with the main idea behind the story, don’t listen.

“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer.” ~ Ira Glass

Dog walking Boundary Waters

I left the workshop feeling warmed and inspired by Kevin, Simone and the other participants. I also left with ideas about how my material and style (my voice) might best be used to tell my stories.

I don’t know how to adequately say this without sounding trite. but at the workshop and in the Boundary Waters area in general, I felt like myself and I liked that person.

Two dogs on trail

I want to have that experience more often, of being myself, even in places where my brand of being is not welcome.

I think it’s more damaging for people to rein themselves in, to squelch their unique voice and personality, than it is to take  the risk of not fitting in.

You never know, someone who is exposed to your self-expression. to your thoughts and ideas, may find the courage to buck the system and be more themselves too.

Gunflint Lake

 

For the last month or so, I’ve been caught up with questions about my life.  Maybe this comes from recent health issues or thoughts about retirement, but the flood of questions goes something like this:

  • Where have I been putting my energy? Does that really reflect what I value or enjoy?
  • What parts of my life feel suffocating and what parts are energizing?
  • What has changed for me at this point in my life?
  • In what ways are my actions carried out without thinking about whether or not they have any meaning for me any longer?
  • Am I just doing these things because that’s what I’ve always done or what I think I “should” do?

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woman looking outside

On my drives back and forth from work to home,  I find myself listening to a lot of outdoorsy and travel podcasts. Many of the women being interviewed are taking on some extreme challenges, but not all. The interviewers and interviewees are usually in their 20’s or 30’s and as I listen, I’m jealous of the technology they have grown up with that has exposed them to so much more of the world than I knew at their age.

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