I embarked on a month long journey down the Fraser River that re-connected me with nature – where I come from. This connection is more than staring out at the scenery and feeling the beauty of it, but instead feeling beautiful and powerful knowing you are a part of it and it is an integral part of you.
The Sustainable Living Leadership Program is a lot more than an educational trip, it’s a spiritual journey that brings you to a natural state of mind. There are three connections that I experienced throughout my adventure:
Connection with Others
Connection with The Earth
Connection with Myself
At the beginning you’re in a camp full of complete strangers that you hope must be like you. They believe – possibly – in the same things as you because they are all sitting around the wooden table with gleaming eyes: hope and excitement spilling out of their irises. A group forms as names and stories are shared. Quirks begin to show, personalities bump and slide against one another, feeling it out. Lines are drawn between some or lines bind two spirits. It wasn’t difficult to face that these people would become family, no matter what challenges were faced on the trip and outside of it, the connections would stay alive even if only in our hearts. I shared my true self with ease when connecting with others, not just my travel companions. Each individual you meet along the way brings out a piece of you to share with others.
Unless you’re living in the wild it becomes effortless to forget the power our earth holds. Throughout the entire journey we were surrounded by gorgeous BC landscapes. Huge trees swayed above us giving in to the wind, or they sat still along the river valley, looming on untouched mountains. Not to forget the seemingly small things that have a huge impact. Little bugs smaller than a letter on this post, all part of an eco-system, playing their role to keep it alive. The intricate systems of life forms always connect to one another. In the middle of the trip while in the Fraser Canyon, my team mates went off in separate directions to immerse ourselves in nature for 5 hours. I had never felt so alive as I did during that day. I stood on top of a jutting rock, letting wild blow through my hair and across my naked skin, heeding my instincts. When it was time to visit the river, I went. I bathed in the water and rubbed wet sand on my burning skin. It was 5 hours of complete serenity, the energy of the earth took my swarming thoughts from the clouds, sent them into the breeze and re-grounded my mind and soul.
That moment stayed with me for the entirety of the trip. I had joined the program to meet individuals who were passionate about the same issues as me but the person I connected with the most was myself. Attributes that had been buried inside began to shine through me. My awareness of others’ energies and my own around me improved dramatically. I felt the strongest I had in a long, long time. Most importantly, I felt happy. In every moment, I was happy to be in that moment. I didn’t wish for anything else. I knew myself better than ever and had developed an understanding of what others saw and felt when they looked into my eyes. Even now, more than a month later I’m trying to keep the lessons I learned from slipping through my fingers.
Travelling down the Fraser River has changed the way I view my life – the life of human beings on this planet. There is so much more to this life than most of us acknowledge on a day to day basis. You can feel what is missing when you submerse yourself in the wild.
“Learn to let go of the last chapter in your life, and to embrace the new one. You cannot fully embrace the new if you’re holding on to the old.” – Orion Radies
Thank you to Simon Zukowski, Oliver Berger and David Tracey for some of the photos here and thank you again to the Rivershed Society of BC for making it possible to go on this life changing journey.
To see the original blog post visit Low Tides.