all of our so-called struggles are actually solutions in disguise

Iceland, photo by Jennifer picard photography

a year in review, on my year number fourty-two.

a year ago today i put my home up for sale in the city. it was a scary move, surreal in fact. it didn't quite seem like it was actually happening, yet i watched it all unfold before me, a process so surprisingly simple that all it took was picking up the phone and placing a single call. all it took was a moment of intention, and momentum was made that would shape the rest of my days.

with that one call, i put an entirely new life for myself into motion. most things are like that though, aren't they? most things are far easier than we could ever imagine. thinking about making big life changes is always more difficult than what it ever actually ends up being.

so twelve months later, here i am. all settled into a cozy new home with the beautiful, talented and supportive girl i love, surrounded by four funny and cute, little furry personalities, all of us tucked away together in a small, remote coastal town, living on the side of a forrested hill.

living here has changed me.

i’ve discovered a beauty in simplicity here, something which i've forever longed, yet i never knew. the change of pace has inspired me to ease into a calmer state of mind. i no longer feel cornered by all of the burdens i shouldered and was trying to maintain. i'm no longer trapped by the walls that were constructed solely within the constructs of my mind.

living in this remote place and being more connected to the wilds that surround me has enriched my perspective. it's allowed me to see the nature of things more clearly. it's allowed me to turn my attention inward, to be undistracted by needless drama, restlessness, or worry.

sure, life still has its stresses and anxieties of course. after all, they're an implicit part of our being. they're something we'll never be completely free from, no matter the level of zen we're able to achieve. but in this past year it’s become much easier to see how silly and mundane all of my problems are. it’s become simpler to just let my worries go and drop them, rather than grasping and clinging to them so tightly.

i’ve come to realize that all of my so-called struggles are actually solutions in disguise.

i’ve learned that peace is found in confronting and surrendering to all the things i resist, in letting go of the fight, in putting an end to the need to always defend, defend, defend.

i’ve learned to listen, without feeling the need to always reply.

when we listen we open ourselves up to the wisdom of others. when we defend, we distract ourselves from the truth, with the messiness of our ego. we close ourselves off. we constrict into an unforgiving little ball of contempt.

this year i broke the mold i felt i was forced to live within.

despite the breakthroughs, despite the unaparalled happiness i've never before had, i’ve also struggled with indecision and procrastination. i’ve also languished in creative paralysis, and i’ve suffered from fear of pursuing the unknown. but i’ve also learned to be bolder with my life, to not just sit idly by and wait for life to happen, but rather to chase it, to catch it, grab it by it’s tail, and to laugh while it tried to squirm away and flee from my grip.

i plunged into the wonders that exist within nature and have connected with them in a way i’ve never before felt. the bliss of the outdoors has sent ripples through the fibre of my entire being; the earth, the sea, the stars, the wind; the mushrooms and slugs, the seals, otters and humpback whales; the eagles and herrons, the white-tailed deer and our local black bear; the oceans, trees, mountains and rivers; they were all intuitive sparks that allowed me to finally find the true essence of what wellbeing truly means.

solitude has awakened a primal spirit in me. it's a vibrant energy that secretly exists, that emmanates from the land, that's carried by the wind and that whispers to anyone willing to listen.

this year i’ve been enriched by love in ways i’ve never before experienced, but i’ve also been challenged by it. love has forced me to look deeper into myself and to confront all of the ugliness i've seen. it’s nourished me and has enabled me to continue growing into the man i want to be, but who i still strive to become.

i still struggle with being selfish, with being overly stubborn and focussed and set in my ways, but i know better now, and i trust that my awareness of these old, sticky behaviours are the start of significant, profound changes, ones that will echo through the rest of my days.

so yeah, i still struggle. pretty much every day in fact. but i have compassion for myself now. i no longer beat myself up as much. i trust in the process and the cycle of things. i know that all of our emotions are ephemeral, that all things of the mind are transitory and will soon fade, as long as we don't hang onto them.

but the stillness of my surroundings has encouraged me to embrace calm and patience into my life, and as fleeting and elusive as they both seem to be, a practice of mindfulness has kept me from falling from their grace.

this year i’ve pursued personal and creative authenticity with gusto and have followed my passions more than ever before. i've not wasted any time feigning over what no longer resonated with me. i've strived to live my personal truth, and to reveal the bliss of what its always pointed to.

this year i became rapt with writing, photography, adventure and travel, things i’ve yearned to do for most of my life, yet was never able to find the time. but now i know that time can never be found by looking elsewhere, or waiting for another day, it only ever exists right here, right now, and in the palm of my oustretched hand. i just have to extend it.

excuses matter not; only experiences.

so as i step into year fourty-three, i'll strive to smile more and complain less. i’ll love more and try to not place judgement or blame. i’ll pursue the wonder and awe that exists in every moment, and to find them in all the small and simple things that go unnoticed. i’ll awaken each day with a goal to only live in the moment, to love in the moment, and to be grateful for whatever it may bring, so that i can truly be free.

brian thompson