“A young girl sits in a classroom, staring out at the river. The river gleams, twists, coursing past the boxed-in schools, the boxed-in minds. Trapped in her classroom, she sits, and stares, and pours all her isolation, all her resentment, into the river below her. Years later, the girl is Hayley Talbot, mother of two, and she is ready to meet the river again…”
[Lucy Stone for Travel Play Live Magazine, see the full article here]
I’m so passionate about challenging perceptions, especially in young minds (that tend to create their realities and accept them as gospel). We construct our truths with habits, values, and beliefs and one way or another, if we couple this with the auto-programming of society, we find ourselves trapped by our convictions. I was SO strong minded as a young teenager. Nothing could have crow-barred me out of the mental chains I shackled myself in, out of sheer will and contrarianism. But I’ve always loved a challenge. And if someone had have challenged my perceptions by causing me to see and think of things a different way, by doing something a little differently, by going at the same set of circumstances from a different angle, I’m sure it would have caused me to reassess my own views and my own comprehension of my capabilities. I hope that it would have caused me to try new things. To question. To seek my purpose. And to gain the confidence from accomplishing the things I set my mind to. To grow beyond those things and to try new ones. Bigger ones. This is what drives me now. Because on this river that I hated as a teenager, this stretch of water that I found so undulatingly boring, I had the adventure of a lifetime. And it was under my nose all along. This same body of water that remained manifestly unchanged taught me that perception is everything.
If you change the lens, you change your life.
Fear often gives way to a heightened sense of awareness or intuition in the moment. Just like nervousness can have the same symptoms as excitement. If we re-frame thoughts and feelings early, before they take off like wildfire to a place we can’t control, its possible to keep superfluous energies in check, or to re-channel them positively to be useful for the task at hand. I remember being a young singer sometimes nervous before going on stage. I would feel the feelings then smile and slightly bounce as I re-framed them as excitement to get on stage with my band and do the thing I love. If these monkey minds we have are going to take a stimulus and auto-produce a negative, we may as well consciously intercept and frame a positive.
Exploration transforms the soul. The water and the wilds are where I go to be spoken to. That’s where I’m told what to do. That’s where I listen. It’s where all my questions go to be resolved and is the birthplace of all the new ones that provoke me to grow beyond myself. Answers are merely the result of questions. Questions define everything.
In a world that daily diffuses our concept of value and holds our focus hostage if we’re not vigilant, I’m passionate about the truth of the wild and the remedial effects it has on our souls and the respite it offers our overloaded minds. Surviving in nature cannot be faked. We cannot live off the identities we create for ourselves. We’re not at the top of any man-made, civilised food chain rolling around in a safety net of certainty and comfort. We’re part of an intricately designed eco-circle, an ancient land, holy waters, rich with power, history and culture, frontiers of potential and unknowns. I love that. We all ache for truth on some level, and many of us lose ourselves searching for it in the wrong places. It’s hard not to fall in love with our planet when we’re immersed in its splendours, and if we want it to last for generations, it’s going to take A LOT of love.
I want to pique the interest of my teenage friends, our precious youth, some of whom are doing it pretty tough, not so they look at me, but so they might pause their troubles and dream about their own “river”. I want to lead by example for my sons. I want to offer a perspective for women, particularly for mothers. Having children is challenging, but dreams don’t die when a mother is born, they’re only just beginning- because we understand having a reason to fight and no time to waste. One thing I firmly believe is that we can’t possibly teach if we stop learning. And one of my greatest teachers of all continues to be my Mother : Nature.