Testing the Waters

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”
~ Jim Morrison

I recall myself “taking notes” since I was four or six years old. Then at 14 I started to write “letters” to John Lennon (knowing he couldn’t possible read them, he was dead) and reflecting on my observations.

For years, I wrote on and off about many things, I created and managed newsletters and other social-media tools, but it wasn’t until last year that I started to do this “seriously”.

The writing process can be compared to our unsustainable lives: we start “writing” about things that scare, outrage or inspire us, but people and society slowly make us shut or change: the mechanisms go from ridiculing to ignoring. If you continue writing, you may do so about arid or dry things such as recipes, practical advice and letters. Some write fiction because they can say things through their characters’ voices. With time, we may become our own jails and no more real gates may be needed from outside.

But writing, when it comes from your heart, can be liberating. Like when reading, you find that others feel mirrored in you.

First, I started writing articles to the Canadian Immigrant magazine. These articles are easier to write because they are somewhat “detached” and more “professional”. I write about topics I know very well and are related to my own job as a career counsellor. With time, they have started to include other topics where I am also passionate, such as Emergency Preparedness and Sustainability or Food Security (a new article will be published next month about this last topic).

This year, I also started a personal blog, partially encouraged by the PIDP courses I’m taking at VCC. Then I started to blog for non-profits such as Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition and Village Surrey and what used to be an occasional pastime has become part of my everyday life.

Today, something new has happened: my first official blog-post for O.U.R. Ecovillage saw its light here

When you write from your heart, you feel at times scared and excited. It is like undressing yourself in front of others and exposing your fears, dreams and flaws for all to see. But it can also be empowering: in some ways, I’m other peoples and creatures’ voices, I’m not alone. And the same as you learn better and deeper when you teach, you also think and decide better and deeper when you write.

Through writing, I realize that my life is changing: I create my own reality by the way I engage with people and activities and stretch further out my comfort zone.

Just looking at the current calendar year, I have many things to be thankful for: new causes, new friends, new connections, new challenges, new learning, new dreams…

And when I look through my window, I recall that 14-year-old girl who dreamed on travelling the world backpacking, talking to peoples and sharing their stories through photographs and writings.

A friend from O.U.R. talked some wisdom while sharing breakfast with us in that warm hobbit kitchen: “Don’t dwell too much testing the waters, jump into the ocean and swim”.

What do you fear, lady?” [Aragorn] asked.
“A cage,” [Éowyn] said. “To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

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