Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blow out the Candle and Light a Fire!

I am sure for many of you a typical day looks something like ours:

We wake up at 6am to make lunches, get ready and run out the door by 7:25. Work a long day, race to daycare to pick up our son (unless I am working until 8:30, in which case my husband gets our son). Then it is off to swimming, skating, or dance, home for a quick supper, bath, book and bed for the little one, and back to work for me to do paperwork, phone calls, laundry, and prep for the next day. (Or maybe write another article!) I can maybe get in a fitness video, or make some protein bars before the end of the night, then flop into bed by 10:00, only to start all over again!

But is doesn’t stop there now does it! Enter the weekend, when you run around to yet more activities, get groceries, mow the lawn, garden, clean the house, and the list goes on.

Sometimes it can feel like the weeks just roll into each other, and a month or two can go by while you are trying to get off the hamster wheel.

You can only burn the candle at both ends like this for so long before something starts to falter – you get grumpy with family, frustrated with work, feel tired all the time, and start wondering if there is more to life.

This summer we decided to blow out the candle. We packed some clothes, toys and food, and took off to a little tiny campsite in the middle of nowhere. There were no amenities other than an outhouse. We had no internet, no phone service, no television, no timetable, no agenda.

On our drive in we saw three black bear – more than some people see in a lifetime. When we saw them we knew this was going to be a special weekend.

We camped right on a big river, where fishermen were catching fish right off the shore. We spent our days hiking the river trails, swimming in the shallows, and relaxing by the campfire.

We played road hockey, soccer, read books, snuggled and chatted, played cards and reconnected. We had nothing to do but be together as a family and enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. I was amazed at how fast life’s “necessities” slipped into obscurity.

It is too easy in this crazy world to get caught up in routines and materialism, and forget to appreciate the simple things like the people you love, the sound of a waterfall, the thrill of bathing in a river, the beauty of the sun sparkling off the water, the intricate dance of the campfire flames.

We jumped out of the fast lane and for three days embraced the peace and tranquility of pure simplicity.
We have carried this feeling back into our daily lives. For example, I am truly viewing my emails in a different light – it just isn’t as important to me anymore to check it three times a day. I would rather take a walk through my garden. Nothing on television is as entertaining than watching your child run free in the outdoors, where there are no limits to their imaginations.

So I challenge you to blow out your candle and just be for a while, even if only for an hour. Pack a lunch and hike to a beautiful spot with someone you love. Take in the smells, sights and sounds, and don’t forget to shut off the cell phone – you can always check messages later.