Navigating Uncharted Territory

I started well, leaning into the uncharted territory of 2014. Spending a week at a get-away in Radium, British Columbia I pondered, prayed and penned my intentions. Two words came for this year and they brought hope and excitement: POSSIBILITY and SAVOUR!

Now, I gaze toward the window. My focus is blurred and unseeing. I feel shaky. What will today hold? I am hesitant and uncertain. Hope wavers. I stare at the blank page before me. Time to write this blog, yet my mind is empty – crazy when usually there’s many thoughts intersecting. Never stopping. Keeping me awake at night.

What happened between paragraph one and two? A call came from the high school principal “Please come in, Mrs. Matchullis. There has been an incident.” We’re in the midst of navigating unknown territory again … this time it felt like it came out of nowhere – like stepping on a landmine (figure of speech and somewhat dramatic, somewhat not)!

Helping HandUnknown territory. It’s rigorous, because it’s uncharted. Not yet investigated or mapped out. Investigation takes risk and focus. There’s rugged mountains to climb and valleys to survey. Forests are so dense, it may take months to find a way out. There are rivers to forge. Climate can be severe and relentless. Mapping takes experimentation and perseverance. It takes time and energy to rightly mark observations and learnings. Such a metaphor for expatriate life.

Frankly right now I’m exhausted from ongoing investigation and mapping. From spending so much time in the thick forest and trying to dodge land mines. From asking “How much longer does this territory need to be explored and charted?”

Sometimes it’s like that. No matter how intentional we are; how well we navigate, attempt to risk and experiment and fine tune. No matter how much we trust and practice gratitude. We become tired and disillusioned, caught unaware with a sudden landmine. There are things in life so outside our control.

And that takes me back to Radium, part of the magnificent National Parks of Canada. During the early 1800’s, these parks were discovered and mapped out by explorers who gave perilous, meticulous work for what we enjoy today – hot springs, hiking trails, and access to some of the most beautiful lakes and Rocky Mountain vistas in the world. As I read the history, I learnt much about uncharted territory and how explorers paced themselves for their journey.

5 TIPS TO NAVIGATE UNCHARTED TERRITORY:

1. Each season offers its best and worst – Seasons in those early years of exploration often wreaked havoc on well laid plans. Explorers learnt quickly what each season had to offer. Spring brought water run-off from glaciers. Winter had its dangers – avalanches and weather too cold. Easy navigation came with summer, yet one never knew if rain would precipitate. Fall was often a chosen time to forge forward, though storms could suddenly arise.
What season of the soul or life are you presently navigating?
How is it supporting the charting of your territory?
Choose an activity to assist and encourage the season along.

2. Be curious – Early explorers were filled with a sense of adventure, fueled by insatiable curiosity. Fan the flame of inquisitiveness. Notice what’s around you. Notice thoughts and feelings within. Some days this will come naturally. Other days it will be less easy. That’s ok.
What is holding your attention?
PioneersWhat would you like to be curious in?
What is known? What isn’t? How can you find out more?
Where does your help come from?

3. Rest– no explorer went full out all the time. Rest rejuvenates. Time was needed to ponder. To journal and chart. It also allows you to refocus and refuel. To attend to what needs attending to. Step away from exploration for a while if it’s all getting too much.
What rest is calling you – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or relational?
What’s one action step could you take toward this?

4. Look up and out – when the going got tough and tedious on the ground, explorers would focus upward and outward. They’d notice the landscape around them. They’d take out binoculars and peer toward the horizon.
What do you see, hear and gain from looking up?
Where does your hope come from? How can it be fueled?
What values bring fulfilment and perseverance in this leg of uncharted territory?
How does looking up and out inform you of your next step?
And if you hit a landmine…

5. Survive – Explorers went prepared for peril. Much was not in their control. If crisis came, they moved instinctively into protocol that would allow their best chance of survival.
What do you carry that allows you to survive?
What practises can you move into instinctively to see you through?
What lies within you that gives you character and fortitude?
How can you add to your resources to allow for resilience?

I left Radium inspired by the early explorers of Canada. Little did I know the challenges I’d face in these days to follow. My two words, POSSIBILTY and SAVOUR, continue to encourage. All things ARE possible. Nothing is impossible, even when a landmine appears to blow up! I do see possibility – old wounds being forced to open so they can heal from the inside out for my teen, new courage and trust emerging for me, continued resilience for my family. I’m learning to savour salty with the exotic, the bitter with the sweet; it’s in experiencing both that my soul’s taste buds are that much more alive. That’s abundance!

Cheers to the same for you as you explore your uncharted territory. If I can be of assistance, be in touch at: expatresilience@gmail.com.

 Becky Signature 2

 

PS – Abundance is present as Drama Queen and La Di Da Girl signed papers yesterday to purchase their first townhouse together. Celebration and survival happening at the same time! Don’t you just love life?

Comments

  1. Great post, Becky and fascinating as I am just reading the new book The Mobile Life by Diane Lemieux and Anne Parker, who write the whole book referring to the great Antarctic explorer – Ernest Shackleton. Seems you are right on the money!

  2. Expat Family Resilience Coach says:

    Thanks so much for the affirmation, Jo. I haven’t heard of “The Mobile Life” – will check it out.

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