Samhain : Reflection, Rest and Rejuvenation

On top of Mont St. Hilaire with my mom, her hometown mountain and love.

Well Hello!

It is so nice to reach out to you again!  I hope your Autumn has been lovely and not so windy and rainy as it has been in the Maritime provinces.  I feel as though it has been an age since I last wrote, since I took the time to sit at a computer and reflect.   Heading into winter, I am drawn to do just this.

October, October…. October was spent fully immersed in the present (or at least, that was the intention). I deliberately stepped away from my phone, from apps and the internet for a number of reasons.  I travelled to  Ontario seeing family in Toronto and Hamilton.  In Quebec, sitting in Cafes in Old Montreal with my sister.   Attended a lively family Thanksgiving dinner in my Mom’s childhood home in Mont St. Hilaire.  In a car, driving 2000 Km across 5 provinces.    I caught a very rocky ferry to stay in a cabin in Cape Breton Island.  Nursing multiple vicious colds.  Reading and brainstorming.  Wearing rubber boots, climbing hills, drinking tea, listening to the heavy pitter patter of rain to fall asleep.  Upon reflection, it was a fulfilling and beautiful lunar cycle.  It was a whirlwind, but a meaningful one.

An intriguing building in Old Montreal – Lisa and I splurged and took a carriage ride around the beautiful old stone Montreal

Here today, I just chose a couple of photographs from my travels to share with you.  I took very few photos since I was deliberately avoiding my phone.  You may wonder why?  Well… I have the unfortunate tendency to check social media, news websites, reddit, multiple times a day.  Why is this a problem?  Social media on one hand presents superficial facades of people’s lives (and well news stirs a wildly negative perspective of the world and reddit… well everytime i want to check reddit, I should just look at my own cat, dog or garden).  Our psychology is flawed in that we strive for a kind of perfection and approval (dare I say, narcissism?) which is exploited by these app developers.  I think when I became aware of the impact it was having on my life – how it was changing the way I think and simply occupying not only my time when I was on it, but also when I wasn’t on it (thinking ooohh how can I present this, etc?)  I wanted to change how I used it.  I have been working on it for years now, but to be completely honest, the most effective way is to just log out ( I also have websites blocked completely on there).  This of course is not a realistic option for me because I do want to share my creative world.  It’s insanely necessary and useful if you are an artist of any kind.  And so, I am just working on how to more or less detach myself while still using it.  How to embrace my imperfection and feel okay with sharing that with 50 K people (As flabbergasted and honoured as this makes me feel, I think is a large part of my anxiety >.< ).

Prior to finding instagram – I only shared my art or knitting with family and close friends because I honestly felt like no one cared at all, and that didn’t really bother me either – it was my private world.  It was through sharing on instagram that I found confidence to continue to share my creativity and create, which was awesome!  A place where I can finally express and share who I am – a place where people don’t say “you’re weird” or “you’re different…”.  I do want to continue using it, but I just feel like we should have more conversations about how it actually impacts our thought patterns.  Do you ever feel anxious or depressed when scrolling or posting?  I can say with certainty, that I do.   Sometimes, I am scrolling so mindlessly, so incredibly detached – I wonder what I am doing at all?   This might sound odd, but my biggest concern was that purchasing a smart phone back in 2015 corresponded with a significant decline in reading books.  Books and literature, one of my main loves on this earth!

And so… detached from the internet, I spent quality time with family and friends.  I read  Gone with the Wind – finishing the book in a wooden cabin in Cape Breton Island.  I was… enthralled, captivated!  It reminded me that… reading a very good book,  in a pleasing atmosphere ( maybe just cozy blankets, a hot drink, candles or a woodstove) is one of the absolute most wonderful things.  I am still thinking about Rhett and Scarlett… ho hum. And taking ANY book suggestions!

In the cutest cafe with my sister Lisa, isn’t she cute wearing a fisherman’s knit?
A magical Christmas themed store
Sugar Shacks in Quebec
Brother in Law in my grandparents house – the house my mom grew up in – feels as though it’s from another time!  The Mountain is just in the back and it’s a very special place.
To escape for a little bit, down this road…

Obviously, everyone is different.  I am certain that not everyone wants to run away to a cabin without the internet so they can find some peace and clarity in this clouded world.  I know for a fact that, well, I’m a little different.  I might go to extremes and I’m idealistic.  I dream of a world that is…. full of meaningful working interactions, with trees allowing to grow to ripe old age, to growing food and reading books and wearing handmade clothes.   I know that not everyone feels anxious about social media, about just having the internet in your pocket.  I grew up in a time where we had time limits on the internet – 30 minutes a day.  I spent most of my time playing outside (I use to love running more than anything) and reading books and I look back with overwhelming nostalgia to a time of reading under apple trees (and then ask myself, nothing is stopping me from doing the same now, so what really is the problem here?).

And SO!  Discipline, friends, this is what I need to instil into my life.  A little bit of app use a day (maybe 15 minutes?).  I want to continue to share and although I am not a writer, I love writing and sharing on my blog.  I feel as though the relationships I’ve formed on here have been meaningful and so positive.  You guys have lifted me up so much, made me feel that I have something worth sharing, something worth saying and making.  Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart and soul.

To my dream cabin for a little bit ❤ No Internet, just the gray jays, squirrels, Henry and myself

As you can see, I am a dichotomy but I want to start expressing myself in a more honest way.   I want to start to really come to terms with how social media makes me feel so I can better use it without it taking over my thoughts and time.  Without beating myself up over who I should be or look, etc. It’s difficult when sometimes you receive very nasty messages (I once received an e-mail telling me they hope I never have children because I am a horrible person for deleting a picture : /)

Finishing GWTW in the cabin with Henry! I now have such good reading memories of this book 😀

Tomorrow, I will post another blog about my time in the cabin in Cape Breton Island.  About the children book ideas that I have (and maybe some suggestions from you guys?), about my knitting which I have lots to share.

I have to work today in town until the evening (and everyday this week).  However, going to make everyday and try to utilise that 15 minutes of app time to connect with you (or okay, maybe it will turn into 20 because I have my art account as well), my faye friends.  Thank you so much for understanding! And Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking part in this journey with me – I’m always trying to find a balance and the encouragement I receive from you friends, well it guides me to stay on this path!  The path of being creative and living more harmoniously with our Planet. I hope you understand about my sometimes prolonged absences and I am trying to strike that balance.

*see* you tomorrow and be well!

Home – the leaves have all fallen now, but for a brief time in October, the maples are blazing red

 

 

A favourite Canadian…. take a listen!

 

24 thoughts on “Samhain : Reflection, Rest and Rejuvenation

  1. You take the most beautiful pictures Julia! 😍😍
    I completely understand and respect your decision to distance yourself from the internet and social media. I fully enjoy reading and seeing your posts but I agree everyone should try and not get so caught up with being online and just enjoy life. I currently live in the city and enjoy it so much when I’m able to leave and get rid of all the noise. Escaping to the country side with a nice fire and a good book sounds perfect. Thank you for sharing, hope your workdays go by quick!!

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    1. Thank you very much Kaitlin! I felt a little shy sharing these pictures because they are just taken with my phone, I left my good quality camera at home, darn!

      I hope you get to go out into the country soon! Perhaps a winter retreat, with a fire and a very good book? Living in the city though has it’s major advantages, like living within a community and public transportation! I often miss the lively atmosphere, although I am a country mouse through and through!

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  2. Great vacation! Great photos! Yes, I tend to spend too much time on computer and what I accomplish suffers. Thanks for the inspiration to set it down. Best bet knitting….

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    1. Thank you! It was a whirlwind of a vacation and it was definitely life giving being away however, I am so ready to be at home and start working on the shop and blogging again, just with a mindful disposition!

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  3. What a lovely post. I can totally relate to wanting and needing to spend less time online. I also need to spend less time with with the tv on, too. This is the time of year I crave the most – not feeling guilty about spending time indoors with a book, my knitting and my cats! Have you read the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness? Three fairly thick books but engaging. I look forward to your posts, they’re little stories with pictures I love being online for. Happy Samhain.

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    1. The great thing about the TV is that you can knit 😀 But yes, I know what you mean, I’ve lately taken to podcasts and audiobooks which is a lot of fun accompaniment while knitting or drawing, etc.

      I haven’t read anything by Deborah Harkness, but I do see her books at the library. I believe she is the Discovery of Witches author? I should check it out, sounds like good winter reading 😀 Thank you!

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  4. Very well said, Julia. Every word you wrote resonates deeply within me. I too had deleted apps and even accounts and taken a hiatus, then realized I still needed to connect in some disciplined way. Finding that ‘harmony’ place, the right balance is not easy – using sm as it is intended to be used to connect with others and share one’s gifts of peace and love, without falling into its mental, emotional and psychological traps. Let us (ALL of us) encourage each other on this journey, holding ourselves accountable to our True Selves and purpose for being here on this planet 🌎. I am so glad you nourished and renewed your spirit in this time away, digging deep into your soul with awareness to find clarity. Such a precious gift you gave yourself. You are an inspiration to us all.

    So, without any intention of placing pressure or guilt on you, I look forward to your upcoming lovely posts. Oh and by the way, you ARE a WRITER, my dear! I might need the name of that delightful cabin you squirreled away to! A number of years ago I spent 2 weeks deep in the Cascade mountains 🏔 of the Pacific Northwest off grid, no phone or internet. What Bliss!!!

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    1. Hello bonnie! Well hello :D! I hope you have been well!

      The harmony is what we need to find, but oh goodness, as soon as I post a picture, I start looking at my phone and I just need to put it out of sight. I need a good system because whoever designed these knows A LOT about the human brain and our weaknesses 😦

      Encouraging eachother is vital I think and being open with how we feel Thank YOU so much for your encouragement, I feel as though maybe I do have something to share ❤

      I can send you the airbnb and website when you are interested! I would love to go to the PNW, someday someday

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  5. Julia, I am so happy for you. Time with your family and time for personal reflection. I am sure your creativity will blossom because of this.
    Although I don’t spend an abundance of time online , I have felt that it does interfere with my creativity and productivity.
    Blessed be your knitting needles. ❤

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    1. Hi Debra,

      Absolutely love your blessing, thank you! It is hard to find a balance, especially because my family does not live on this island so I spend a lot of time alone with the shiny embrace of social media. Since I am alone a lot, it actually is really positive in keeping me company so to speak, but… then their is the waning of creativity, etc.

      But I am so excited to create more!!

      Happy waning November! We are having quite the wintery day here ❤

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  6. Dear Julia,
    I’m so happy you are back, I truly missed your lovely spirit on this blog of yours and on Instagram. Having said that, I salute you for pulling the plug for a good long month and for taking the time to be in the Autumn – in life.
    You are definitely not alone with how you feel about social media. I see so many people desperately trying to find that balance of living in the real world and the time social media seems to crave from us. I have a love/hate relationship with social media myself: I have found it- as you mentioned- easier to “meet” likeminded people online, yet the demand of posting more, more often, more beauty, more meaningful text and the trap of trying to hold on to or have more followers is exhausting and unhealthy ( too stressful).
    When I have had enough and start deleting apps etc I am reminded that without social media, I would never have “met” you and many other very sweet and interesting people.
    I also agree with your other reader about you being a writer, you truly are. You have so much to give and share and I’m very thankful for every post and every picture.
    Lastly, you sound like a beautiful soul and you would make a terrific mother. 😉

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    1. Elizabeth,

      Thank you so much for your comment, it really, really touched me.

      I agree with you completely – that demand to post more, have more beautiful pictures just more, more, more when what so many of us are trying to do is live a simpler life. It is too much… it is not what our spirits want. But on the flip-side, we see that we are not alone in the world, especially if we grew up in an environment where well.. maybe we were a bit of a misfit. We gain courage to live closer to our “dream” life because, look how many people are following what they truly want out of life!

      Anyway, I have another shift at the library so I will sign off now!

      Blessings ❤

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  7. Julia! ❤

    It is too good to read your wise words. I agree with you so much about social media, and I look up to you for being able to take control like that. There are so many good things about social media, but it does change how one thinks. I have noticed it too, and I do not like it.

    October sounds like such a delight. I love to get lost in a good book. Were you alone with Henry in the cabin? Aren't you afraid of the dark…? Haha. I am! But Henry must be comforting to have around I imagine. 🙂 She is so sweet.

    Love Camilla

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    1. Hey Camilla!

      I honestly think that if you recognize that it changes the way you think, that is the first step to making a more healthy relationship with it, if that makes any sense. I know it’s really easy to become totally obsessed but well.. I kind of think of it as a drug with highs and lows. But, we can start a discussion!!

      Yes, I was alone with Henry! Lol and no, I’m not afraid of the dark! Well… I might get a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling sometimes because of all the possibilities of mysteries ghosts that may be lingering there but I am certain I didn;t feel any ghosts there, haha! Sometimes, I would imagine someone outside my window but I knew Henry would be barking like crazy if that was the case (they know so so much).

      Perhaps you will have your own Henry soon :D!!!

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  8. Well, you already know I totally agree with you about social media and how it can take over our lives and perspective on our own reality. On the other hand, I have made some wonderful friends here whom I really care about and want to keep up with ( including you) which is part of what makes it so hard to limit time spent on screens. Good for you for taking some time away for reading and reflection, family and quiet. I think your idea of a time restriction is a great one, especially because you need to maintain some presence online for your artwork and knitting businesses. Always delighted to ‘see’ you here, whenever it feels right for you to post.
    Valerie xo

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    1. Thank you so much Valerie, both for your words of support and insight into the matter. I hope you know that (not only me but my sister Meaghan as well) we really admire you and I am really happy you think of us as a friend! It’s not often you meet other people who love medievalism, books knitting and nature! All things that, growing up, I felt like I had kind of hidden away because they were not really the cool things with other young folk (haha).

      Do you ever plan on posting again? Perhaps when you’re youngest is in university? I think it’s incredibly admirable that you are taking a break while she is in her last year of school with you ❤ ❤

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  9. Hi Julia,
    Thank you for writing this post and sharing those beautiful photographs. I really agree with you about social media, I’ve recently stopped using instagram (spending the time playing the cello and running in my local park instead) and I haven’t missed it at all! The feeling of endless scrolling…and not achieving any goals because I was caught up in the web. I’m glad you’re still blogging because I can still enjoy your work this way, and feel like in can stop reading and come back to it at any point. At some point I’ll return to IG to try to promote my music, like you say, discipline is needed. BOOKS: Daphne du Maurier, Frenchman’s Creek. Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies. Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last.
    Anushka xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anushka,

      Thank you very much for your comment 🙂 I am always really happy to hear that others are ditching the artificial life for a more fulfilling life (although, here I am posting again on insta… I have a rule of putting my phone away so I can’t see it afterwards because the urge to be a mindless scroller is very real!) Playing the Cello and running sounds.. like a very enriching life! Full of rewards and challenges 😀

      Okay and we have the same taste in books – I LOVE Daphne du Maurier – Frenchman’s Creek, Jamaica Inn, Rebecca – love all of it. I have read so much Margaret Atwood but I admit, I don’t know “Sea of Poppies” so will check it out!

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  10. Hi Julia,

    I am new here on your blog, I discovered you on Instagram and I believe you have a beautiful and healthy vision about life and all the things around us. I feel that I am very much alike you, I love knitting (I recently discovered this 🙂 ), I love reading but I don’t have enough time for it and I love leaving in the most simple way as possible… I try to do so… I believe the human being doesn’t need much to be happy, so depends on us if we choose to be happy and make good things in life…

    I like very much the photos you took, and I love your work. Honestly, I felt your absence from Instagram, although I am not a person who spends time on internet or media :)… your articles are probably the only ones I read now on internet 🙂

    So keep on, because you are doing a great job! And, the most important thing, continue listening to yourself and do things that makes you to be happy with you, your family and your friends…

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    1. Hi Ana,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your lovely thoughts with me. I always feel honoured 🙂

      We do sound like we have a lot in common! It is so sad to not have enough time to read.. I sometimes feel the same.. reading has really become the thing that I love that has been sacrificed by having little time as well 😦

      I totally agree as well about humans not needing much to be happy. Just today, I asked Jamie if he mind if we begin to live as though we have no money. He actually said “practice poverty” said the stoics… and well, I want to do this to an extent. When we have money, we begin to buy things and buy things as a means to be happy …. to feel accomplished and it’s ultimately digging a deep void in oneself.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am so grateful ❤

      Be well and I hope you have a nice week ❤

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  11. Hi Julia!

    I completely understand! I have also been feeling like social media in excess is more draining than it is constructive.

    That being said, I absolutely adore what you share about your artwork and knitting. It’s so refreshing to hear about a lifestyle celebrates moving slowly and taking time to appreciate the beauty of nature and the world around us.

    Best of luck with the new resolution!

    Book recommendations: ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel or ‘Sense & Sensibility’ by Jane Austen (every time I read it I find something new to love).

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    1. Valentine ❤

      Thank you! I always feel happy to hear that others are beginning to feel that drain that social media has on us.

      I honestly share so much of my life online because… I felt so alone in my way of life for so long and it dawned on me that if I start sharing my life, others who may feel like misfits because they want something similar or have similar hobbies and interests can feel like they are not alone. I felt that way for too long.

      I have read Sense & Sensibility, it is my FAVOURITE Jane Austen… maybe I can read it again! I have yet to read Wold Hall!!

      Thank you!!!

      Like

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