Monday, November 15, 2010

mental health monday: advice from a glacier.

This past weekend I took a solo road trip. It seems that every 6 months I need some time away to regroup, clear my head, work through things and be by myself. My last 2 trips away have been down to the Chicago area (my favourite city in America). It’s a manageable drive to do solo and just long enough to let me dismantle and reassemble all of the things bouncing around in my brain. By the time I arrive at my destination I am sufficiently road weary and I check into my hotel, pour myself a glass of wine and a bath and go to bed early.

The time and the space away help bring much needed perspective. I wander aimlessly yet with purpose. There are always a few predetermined destinations like Trader Joes, Target and of course quilting shops. I love how friendly and accepting our neighbours south of the border are – far less reserved than us Canadians. It seems that wherever I go people are happy to make small talk, offer directions and give recommendations. I never feel lonely. I feel at home.

I brought my sewing machine with me, and all my quilting tools. While most people would have been enjoying the Chicago nightlife, I got some takeout for dinner and soaked up the solace of my hotel room. On Saturday night the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness” was on tv, so I watched that while I worked on piecing a Christmas tree skirt. What can I say? I have a soft spot for Will Smith. It got me thinking about moments of true happiness, where everything good comes together and all the bullshit falls away. We live our lives chasing those moments. Some people think they need a lot of money to achieve them. They bust their asses so hard that when they finally get what they thought would make them happy, they are too tired to enjoy it. Or in my case, they have already set their sites on the next supposed thing that will make them happy, so they don’t take the time to enjoy their success, for just one moment.

My mom called me on the drive home, and we talked about finding a way to infuse more joy into the process of life, the journey. Quilting is a great metaphor for the journey. If you don’t enjoy the process as much, if not more than the end goal of producing an actual quilt, you will hate quilting and find it boring and tedious. I need to find a way to enjoy the day to day journey of life more. There are potential moments of happiness in every day. I’m not slowing down enough to take them in.

Perhaps, as one of my good friends recommended, I should take some advice from a glacier:

carve your own path
go slow
channel your strengths
smooth the way for others
keep moving forward
avoid meltdowns
be cool

I’ve got “carve your own path” covered, but “go slow” needs some work, as does the rest of the list.


  1. That's great food for thought... I love the idea of driving solo to a city you like for a little time away from regular life, very smart! :)

  2. Caroline2:19 p.m.

    Oddly, we go other places to "find"what will make us happy, but in truth, we ARE what makes us happy! Finding what makes you happy inside your life and yourself is a trick. Driving in a car is often a good way to get away from the distractions and allow yourself to just be. Just that, be. Happy comes with that.

  3. Anonymous11:23 p.m.

    TPOH is such a great movie. I cry like a baby every time I see it. Thanks for the insight Kat.