1 living well | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

Tag-Archive for » living well «

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.





Enhanced by Zemanta

Mantra of the Monarch


Tree in Wales – Colleen Friesen


It is a vanity and a mistake to imagine ourselves separate from the rest of the beings on this planet.

We choose to forget we are animals and part of an interweaving of all life.  We imagine ourselves as superior to a tree or a fish. Yet we only have to look a little closer to see our remarkable similarities in design.

Look at a diagram of a brain and then examine the branches of a tree or the intricacies of coral.


Read about the composition of the earth’s crust and then check your own element ingredient list.

I learned about the endangered monarch butterflies when reading Barbara Kingsolver’s novel, Flight Behaviour.  Then, last week I went to Science World and watched Flight of the Butterflies; a wonderful film about their incredible migration.

What can I tell you? Those ephemeral butterflies have been fluttering on the fringes of my brain ever since.


Photograph of a female Monarch Butterfly en ( ...

Monarch Butterfly – Wikipedia


These sci-fi creatures undergo brutal transformations, from egg to stripy caterpillar to constricted chrysalis (that involves their back splitting open to reveal the wings), until their final triumphant emergence as a butterfly.

But here’s the strangest thing…

It takes the average monarch butterfly four generations to reach its destiny.

This means, that although a monarch might leave Southern Ontario to begin her migration to Mexcio, she will personally never reach her objective, a goal that I’m quite sure she couldn’t articulate.

What she does know, with her entire being, is that she must head toward Mexico.  Enroute, she will lay eggs and that next generation’s offspring will carry on the pilgrimage south.

But even that generation’s butterfly won’t reach the final objective.

Instead, second-and third-generation of beauties will repeat the scenario, hop-scotching their way south.  Despite impossible conditions, lousy survival rates, no GPS on the dash, and crazy distances of 2500 miles, all those that survive the generational journey will eventually reach the spot on the Sierra Madre mountains that is so necessary for their ongoing, and very threatened, survival as a species.

This fourth-generation ‘super-butterfly’ will go through the same stages of life as her ancestors, but instead of only a two-to-six-week life span, she will live six-to-eight months. Long enough to start the whole four-generational process again.

At any one time most of us are in touch with about four generations; great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, ourselves and perhaps our children or, depending where we are in life, some variation on that theme.

What if I framed my place in the world by using the template of the monarch?

Is it possible that I am at the beginning of the next cycle of four generations?

Or am I somewhere in the middle generation?  Perhaps it’s simply my fate to pave the way for the fourth-generation – whatever that destiny might be.

Then again, maybe I’m at the end of this particular multi-generational round.  Might I be the culmination of my great-great-grandmother’s destiny? A plan that she might never have known or articulated?

I like this idea of living as if any or all of these possibilities could be true. I choose to believe that my life is a key and integral part of this grand beauty. Naturally, I decided on My Monarch Migration Mantra (more commonly known as MMMM).  

Trust the process.

Follow your instincts.

Keep the faith.

Follow your path, no matter how strange it might appear.

Know your life is important.

Realize your beauty.

Feel free to add your own spin on this theme. I’d love to hear your thoughts… 



Enhanced by Zemanta
google-site-verification: google38aa387ad858a2eb.html