Unpacking, reminiscing and wondering… I’ve finished…


Sorry it’s blurry!!

Unpacking, reminiscing and wondering…

I’ve finished unpacking all my clothes and bags from Unplugd11 but I’ve only just begun to unpack and make sense of what happened during this magical event now lovingly refered to as #unplugd11.

The week or so leading up to the weekend had me filled with nervous excitement. I rewrote, changed, worried over my draft “Why ____ matters” essay until I was out of time and needed to pack and figure out travel details to get down to Toronto and the start of the event…

Then… I got to Toronto and started to meet some of the other #Unplugd11 participants. Although the nervous excitement didn’t go away, we had begun moving forward and we were finally heading to the wonderful Northern Edge Algonquin and the Unplugd.ca summit.

The walk, train, bike trip north was the start to the focusing of our attention and energy on what we had worked so hard to get to. Slowly as we moved forward we left behind our families, our work and the rest of our lives. We shifted to the space and the place that would provide us with the opportunity to connect, share, collaborate, reflect, refine, laugh, pause and produce our stories and essays on what truly mattered to us.

My essay was originally entitled, “Why getting out of your comfort zone matters” but through sharing my narrative and receiving feedback from my working group we honed the title down to, “Why fear matters”. For me fear can be both immobilizing and a catalyst for change. It’s what we decide to do with our fears or about our fears that matters. My group entitled our chapter “I wonder…” and this sense of wonder has come up time and time again in other groups and essays…

The notion of time during the weekend was surreal, I kept catching myself thinking… was it really only this morning when we were on the train and now we are… Did I really just meet this person and now I’m telling them my story…

Everyone was so immersed in this event that ‘normal’ time, boundaries, filters, etc., didn’t seem to apply. Our routines were suspended and we had the place and the space to immerse ourselves and just be… whatever that was…

For me, the natural setting was important. I spent as much time as I could outside and was so thankful for each and every minute spent outside. Eating, meeting, sharing, swimming, laughing, sitting around a campfire, or watching the stars (they were amazing!!)

I can’t yet talk about the emotions that poured out of me but maybe in another post… feelings of being open, honest, vulnerable, sad, angry, curious, happy, content, amazement and a whole host of others…

Yet, it’s taken me four days to find sufficient words and sufficient time to write this first reflection. While family, work and stuff has taken over, I have taken time to immerse myself in the photos posted on Flickr, read the reflective posts shared by participants, and view the artifacts posted on Posterous to stay connected and enjoy the different moments and memories left with me from the weekend.

I decided to start my unpacking with a photoset of images. I did not take as many pictures as I should have and I wish I had taken pictures of everything but others captured the ‘moments’ and the weekend with their pictures and through the power of sharing I can visit the images and the memories often.

As I move forward I do so knowing I am connected to a powerful and supportive community that I can return to, seek out and connect with whenever I need to “recharge” “replenish” and “nourish” myself. I’m not yet sure of where I’m going or what I am moving forward to but I’m going to try really hard to not let fear get in the way OR maybe fear will help guide the way… I wonder…