Promise?

Today, I thought about commitment. About the space between choice and decision, and what sets uncertainty apart from indecision. And which out of the two is harder. I lean towards uncertainty as the greater evil, seeing as indecision denotes options and a point of crossroads. And what if 50 different paths cross one another? Who stops and who passes? What paths do I leave to sow forests over dead leaves?

I want to show you what I mean.

Between the single-digit hours of 9 and 5, so much of everyday life is encompassed. Joys, insecurities, fears, ambitions and hopes. When you go home, you don’t always leave those things behind – especially if you’re lucky enough to be doing something that consumes you. There are so many people who go decades loving and doing the same thing, renewing the promise every Monday and almost-Friday when they don’t feel like getting out of bed.

All the while, I am wrestling my tongue to give a promise. Each word is binding, yet I myself am still unbound, uncommitted, ungiving.

It’s the patience to let go of what isn’t a necessity that I am missing. That is how I will give what I promise to put in of me.

I don’t know how I got here. Most days, I am unforgiving to myself; I am unrelenting. These days, the coolness boils me over and I seep. Over everyone. Over everything. Promises are harder to keep. Commitments are harder to be. The space between choice and decision is slim, and then slimmer. How do I stay myself all while moving forward and reinventing? I am a person and I can only be repurposed and recommitted so many times. There is a threshold and I am at her gates often these days.

Commitment is compassion, towards the self or the other. There has to be more to life than repurposing. I haven’t maxed myself out, especially not at 20. Commitment is not boring, and neither is pace. A slow simmer gives a steady boil, and sometimes, predictability isn’t the worst thing in the world. Steady I go, I tell myself. Live densely, be earnest and throw yourself into your endeavours wholly. Most importantly, do it for yourself. Make a home out of yourself.

In this, you will find private avenues of fulfilment, if only the beauty of discretion is not lost on you as it has been on me. In its truest sense, it means living a life in which my actions and character are my mouthpiece instead.

As much as I would like to, I can’t trust it – I can’t trust me.

Everyday, I am learning to honour my place. It’s the only honest way to get ahead. To build a kind character and to abandon pride and pick up integrity in its place. To cross waters instead of burning forests and to take the road less traveled by if it means a clearer conscience. The art of committing is a lost one, made up mostly by a life-long balancing act. I owe it to the people who bled for me, who taunted me and who loved. We all do. Commit to yourself if you can help it. Commit to building over burning, and crossing over reaching. I’m inclined to believe so much of you will be changed for it.

Life After the Polar Prince

It has been two days since I’ve gotten back to my life in Ottawa, ON. The reflection below was written after I had finished packing up on June 10th, 2017.  


 

Today marks the close of the first leg of the Canada C3 expedition on the Polar Prince. There is so much that is unfinished. Thoughts and learning unfinished. I am leaving more confused than before. They say that the more you know, the less you know. And still, when you know better, you do better. So, where do you start?

Canada is best known for its utmost politeness and its size. Lesser known is our history of mistreating indigenous peoples, the diversity of our natural spaces, as well as the disagreement in what the future holds for Canada. We are, as Geoff Green likes to put it, an ocean nation. We are a coast-to-coast-to-coast nation. We are rich in diversity, be it in landscapes, perspectives or peoples, and we are just now learning how to harness that as a strength for all Canadians.

You’d think a nation by default would be by the people, for the people. But when Canada was first conceived, it was not made for all the people, and for that reason, not by all the people. How do you reconcile with that reality? How do you build on shifting waters? I don’t have these answers. I couldn’t possibly have them. I think we build these answers with time and consistent effort. Roundtables and grassroots initiatives are great, but political overhaul is of the essence. If our parliament was really keen on moving forward with reconciliation, there would be an entire reform of the Indian Act, and a nation-wide campaign on treaty education for settlers, who are also treaty people. I think we are moving forward, though.

During this leg of the expedition, I learned that I love being out on the water. I learned so much about freshwater systems, like how the largest freshwater system in the world is found in Canada. I learned that people from Akwesasne First Nation have to pass through international customs on their own traditional territories. I listened to the fascinating insights of my co-participants and got a feel for how many cool people there are out there trying to create positive change for this generation and those to come.

It truly was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the Canada C3 expedition. I have made friends from every corner of the country, and even a friend from Germany. I met a newcomer family living in Wellington, Prince Edward County. I had maple butter. I interviewed a chef on his work. I helped plant two little saplings on Gordon Island. I saw the most beautiful sunset of my life. I met a handful of kindred spirits. I read a book. I wrote plenty and sketched a bit. I embraced being quiet. I fasted. I even sang with Aaron Pritchett (I will never live that down). I had Korean BBQ for the first time. Became friends with a zodiac driver from France named Julien.

I had fun. And I am so grateful to have a voice in changing the narrative of what Canada really is and what we have the potential of becoming. I can’t say this experience was particularly life-changing, because most things leave me changed. What I can say is that my life has been dented, bitten into and gladly made richer for all that I’ve lived and learned.