1 The guide to adventure, travel and writing - www.colleenfriesen.com/blog - Part 2

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There’s Something Happening Here


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson

Grand Design - Colleen Friesen


I’ve been known to make the odd joke about my Mennonite heritage; the genetic predisposition to being nearsighted, wearing black and loving anything dough-ball-ish made from flour and lard.

But sometimes this Mennonite thing just isn’t that funny.

Take, for instance, this past week.


I had a plethora of good things happen: unexpected assignments from two major magazines and a large newspaper. Dream trips confirmed. Signing an agreement on a fabulous new art studio to share with two other amazing artists.

This is all great stuff right?

Then, to top it all off, I found out that my last year’s grant application to the Canada Council was approved.  They believe in my book project! Now we’re in the realm of off-the-chart amazing good news.

And you know what my reaction was?


This is where that no-fun religion of my childhood (the one that declared dancing, drinking and anything that remotely looked like fun, as a great big ol’ sin) reared up its black-cloaked self and did most mightily smite me down.

Because here’s the deal… one must never commit the sin of pride.

If it’s all going this great, well…something big and dark and horrible is bound to come and squash me and put me back in my place. Back in the dark, where I belong. Because who exactly do I think I am?

As my wise and kind friend said when I told her about my inability to be happy about all this, “You realize this is dysfunctional wiring, right?”

Yes. Yes I do. This is messed up. I know that. And I don’t really know if this is a religious thing or just a totally whacked genetic predisposition. But I also know that it’s not normal to walk along the Cambie bridge crying to another friend about my good fortune. I look at my reaction, or more correctly, non-reaction and inability to enjoy my success and see that it’s ridiculous.

This knowledge, however, does not change the result.

I am hoping, that by putting this out into the world, I can reduce its hold. I can then see it for what it is and perhaps be okay with letting myself actually enjoy these moments.

I want to own this. I want to celebrate. I don’t want to apologise for it.

So. I am not going to let these squirrelly thoughts hide and loom large in my head.

Look! They’re already reduced to tiny little fonts on a cyberpage. Ha! Take that.

Get thee behind me. You heard me. Get back!


Menno Simons


I wrote those previous sentences yesterday morning.

Since then, I have spent a lot of time meditating, walking, writing, and talking to good friends and to my husband. God bless my patient husband.

I’ve sat with the emotions and named the fears. I rode that crazy-train that says I’m not able or good enough or worthy enough or whatever other bullshite I’m so good at feeding myself.

I’ve tried on those ill-fitting-too-tight-and-very-ugly-what’s-the-worst-case-scenario-outfits and then…finally…this morning, when I was once again walking over the Cambie bridge, I realized I was getting excited about these latest challenges.

I felt a fizzy thing that was strangely akin to happiness.

Lord help us.





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Routines and Other Absurdities


Worlds - Colleen Friesen


I have been hunkered in all winter and have had a pretty nice little routine going on:

Sundays are (mostly) internet-free with either hiking on the agenda or playing tourist-in-our-own-town with recent visits to FlyOver Canada, the Vancouver Aquarium, UBC Museum of Anthropology, art galleries, Granville Island and all the other fabulous Vancouver attractions….We’re game to try anything that gets us out of the winter monsoons.

Mondays are laundry, cleaning the apartment and any errands that didn’t get covered on Saturday’s excursions.

Most of each Wednesday is taken up with a visit to the Menno Home in Abbotsford to see my dad.

The days in-between are spent writing, erratic volunteering at the Writers Exchange, writing my blog, painting and collaging in the studio or meeting new and old friends and/or colleagues for coffee.

All of this has felt necessary and good. I feel like we’ve really made Vancouver our home.

And…it’s all about to get blown out of the water.

I cannot seem to do things in half-measures.  I’m once again going from ‘No Travel’ to ‘Go Travel’.

Starting next month with a two-week trip to Cuba, and ending in November with a hiking trip in Japan, I will basically be gone more than I’m home.  I’m never really sure how these things start piling up, but I seem remarkably consistent in my inability to do anything with any modicum of balance.

Feast or Famine.

On or Off.

Zero to Sixty.

Here or There.

C’est la vie, mon cheri.

I remain yours truly and most-assuredly moss-free.



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