Boundary Waters Solo Adventure Day 3

Last night was rough, I woke up wanting to go home, like right now. During the late-night, I had a tummy ache and needed to climb the hill with a flashlight, not once but three times! Ugh! I was doing my best to be brave while making a lot of noise at 1 am in a dark forest alone.

Listen I like to rough it, I don’t mind getting dirty, fighting dangerous waves, caring heavy loads or even sitting out a thunderstorm in a tent. Turns out that this girl draws the line at tummy tribulations in the Boundary Waters! I know I am not alone here.

I was feeling better when I got up at 6 am with the dawn, even though the skies were clear the sun did not peek over the treetops until around 8:00. As I sat drinking coffee, soaking in the scenery and contemplating if I was going to stay the one more day as intended or pack it all up. It was hard to decide.

The weather was warming up, and the sunshine was trying to talk me into staying. I wanted to stay, and I wanted to go home too. The weather was not going to be warm enough to swim for very long. Which was a bummer because that’s one of the reasons I go up the Boundary Waters to get some very needed hydrotherapy.

About an hour later, while I was cooking breakfast two canoes full of a family with mom and dad and three children family paddled by. They inquired if I was leaving today and I told them I was thinking about it. The other campers at the campsite they passed to get to me told them they were going later as well.

I felt terrible that they didn’t have a campsite free, and I think they were also bummed to have to paddle all the way to the other end of the lake to see if possibly the last of the three campsites on the lake would be open. If not, they would have to wait it out while we packed up.

As they paddled by me again, I felt the urge to tell them I would be packed up by noon. Giving the family at least some hope of getting settled soon if they could not find another open site. Had they not paddled by would I have stayed? I don’t know. Maybe I used their search as an excuse as I convinced myself I was being kind by making sure that family had a place to sleep tonight. Or perhaps I really had been there for long enough?

I certainly proved to myself what I knew I was capable of all along. What else did I need to prove? Going into the Boundary Waters alone was something I did for me. I needed to push myself in a way that was not connected to others needs. I needed to level up my courage and confidence for my personal development to prove to me that I can do the same in other aspects of my life.

The Boundary Waters is a holy place, you may think you come for the beauty of it and to get away from it all. What you don’t anticipate is how it changes you so profoundly in just the short time you are there. Having the time to be alone with only your thoughts and allowing the tranquility to seep into your soul that enables you to listen to your own inner knowing is powerful stuff.

The solo excursion I embarked on this year is no different. I knew inside that it was okay to leave because I had gotten what I came for. I had reconnected with myself and allowed the spirit of nature to reconnect with me. That morning I realized I could stay, but I wanted to go home.

As an only child of a single mother, I have always been fond of my alone time. I get cranky without it. Yet while out in the wilderness, I did not feel afraid or lonely, I did think that something was missing. I missed my husband and my dog, and this just confirmed that even though I don’t mind being alone, my life is much more enjoyable sharing it with those that I love. I learned that I must work at bettering myself without help, but it sure is nice to have support on the sidelines of life.

As the family paddled away to leave me to pack up in peace, I did just that. I did not rush myself. I did my best to enjoy the end of my journey. Even taking the time to put my swimsuit on and get into the lake one last time. The water was warmer than the air temp, so it was steaming as it was chilly only 59 degrees.

I did not allow the weather to detour me from getting the swim in I needed. I am Minnesota tough dontchyaknow and did not flinch as I made my way down into the water via the boulder shore. Where I could fully submerge allowing the healing stillness of the big water to wash away all that I did not need to bring back home with me. That last swim felt great and gave me the emotional boost I needed to get going.

After all, my gear was packed and loaded into the canoe. I sent a prayer of gratitude up once again. “Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!” This experience had all the emotions and tests that I needed and came for. The Boundary Waters Wilderness never lets me down and always centers me to a much calmer space deep within. I am beyond grateful and blessed for this experience once again.

The wind was picking up, but this time the waves on Slim Lake carried me back to the bay. I took my time enjoying one last paddle soaking in all the scenery and the musical harmony of nature I could possibly absorb. As I pulled into the entry point, I was a little melancholy not wanting this healing time to end, yet also happy to be on my way to home sweet home.

Thank you, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Thank you for all the lesson’s past, present and future you continue to bless me with. Until next time my friend, you still hold a part of me.

Sending joy and blessings to you,

Love, Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

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EmyMinzel.com

EmyMinzel.AdventureSister@gmail.com

@EmyMinzel

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

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Brave enough to be vulnerable –

“There is no greater measure of courage than vulnerability.” Brene’ Brown, PhD

There are people who can mask their emotions under even the most stressful of situations. I call this ability a poker face and we all have worn it from time to time.  We wear this unreadable expression when we want to keep our cards close to our chest and don’t want others to know our true feelings. We mask those emotions with a very neutral facial expression.

We cover our vulnerability. As humans we have become good at reading facial expressions, it’s a survival skill. A twitch of an eye, a tear or maniacal smirk can give us a warning when the situation is about to go in a negative direction. Just the opposite is true also; laughter and smiles can let us know it’s okay for us to be at ease.

Although humans share this planet and we all should be on the same team, we know this isn’t true, for everyone seems to separate themselves by their beliefs. Still others will use your vulnerability to manipulate you or use it against you. There are even some situations in which having a poker face is necessary for success; as a lawyer, a business person making deals, or even a politician.

Yet, even with all that, there are those who wear their hearts on their sleeves and everything they are thinking is as plain as the nose on their face. What I don’t understand is why showing our emotions is considered weak. As a woman, I swim in my emotions every minute of every day. I find them very useful actually. These emotions grow my strength.

If a sunrise makes my eyes tear up with gratitude for another day or if a Kleenex commercial makes me cry with sentiment, why is this considered fragile? If I am vulnerable enough to feel all these emotions, I am also strong enough to process them and use them to my benefit. Doesn’t feeling our emotions and willing to share them, make us stronger than those who chose to keep sentiment under lock and key? Emotions get things done; they make us act, move proverbial mountains and even change the world.

Being emotionally invested in an outcome, helps us to see alternate routes and options for solutions. Being passionately invested in the results makes me very creative in finding solutions. I don’t buy into the two choice only options always given to us as a society. False choices of having to choose between the right or the left, masculine/feminine, right/wrong, environmental preservation or economic growth… just doesn’t always fit the need.

Who decided it is the emotionless, poker faces of the world that get to choose what is right and wrong? I’m calling BS on how ‘strength’ is depicted. The way I see it, emotions, covered up by a neutral mask, only means you are not brave enough to show the world your real face.

It is our beliefs that separate us and make us give others the choice of my way or your way… when really, our world is full of options and solutions and hardly ever is there only two choices.

As American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge.”

I believe we are currently in a “times of challenge” part of our history. There are still so many people who think that maybe women are not ‘strong enough’ to lead because we are emotional beings. I disagree. To choose to wear your heart on your sleeve or your emotions all over your face, is brave and profoundly human. To show your vulnerability is to show your courage and what you stand for. It is those with the poker faces you should be wary of.

Emotion like this can even be seen in the little details of life. Like the strength of a mother who brings her 6-week-old newborn into the clinic for vaccinations. Knowing she is about to subjecting her infant to the pain of the injection. She too cries with her baby, as the shot is administered. Holding in her arms the embodiment of unconditional love. She knows this act is for a greater good and protection… There is the emotion of love streaming down her face. There is strength.

Strength has a face and it is not what Hollywood tells us. It is not a poker face or an angry face. It is in the emotion and courage to be brave no matter what. If society is going to heal, we need to change the way we view strength. Because if anyone knows how to heal, nurture and grow; it is a woman with the courage to be brave enough to show her strong emotions to all.

It’s our time to show up and be our true selves. Know it is okay to be vulnerable and that being true to ourselves is the greatest measure of courage.

“There is no greater measure of courage than vulnerability.” Brene’ Brown, Ph.D. from her book Rising Strong. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it!

*Picture take on the Mississippi River, my daughters first canoe ride. (She was scared but brave. I am so proud of her!)

Wishing you love and blessings,

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

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