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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Venuta

Present, Past,Future

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

This is a bit of a long post- so make yourself a tea or coffee, put you feet up and enjoy <3

For about the last 5 years or so, I have been going down to one of my local beaches on Winter Solstice to watch the sunrise. I like to go down before its light- when it’s still dark, but I can see where I’m walking- and wait, for that moment when as the poet John O’Donohue writes in his book “Anam Cara” “ The first fingers of light appear on the horizon, and ever so deftly and gradually, they pull the mantle of darkness away from the world. Quietly before you is the mystery of a new dawn, the new day. “

There is something about standing there in the stillness, being still, watching the sun slowly start its assent into the sky- seeing that because of the curvature of the earth the sunlight hits the snow-covered mountains behind me, before breaking through the horizon of the ocean and finally reaching me. As the sun rises the local Bald Eagles start their morning chattering, then the other birds start their morning song. It is lovely and much needed fuel for the soul.

As I stand there, I think of my ancestors doing the very same thing thousands of years ago, and like them- for me this is a significant time, the time where the sun seems to stand still, before it starts to once again bring more light into the world.

Like my ancestors I have watched the sun move across the horizon during the year, to its highest point of Summer Solstice, then gradually come back to where it rests for Winter Solstice.

However, this year I did not see the sun on either Summer or Winter solstice. During the Summer Solstice I was backpacking with friends in Cape Scott Park and it rained the entire time.

I was hoping to see the sun on the Winter Solstice- but it was not meant to be.

I did go down the day before Winter Solstice - and it was a lovely sunrise. Once again, the sun hit the snow-covered mountains before reaching me. I looked behind me and saw a breath-taking view. Behind the snow-covered Comox Glacier were white puffy clouds, and when the sunlight hit it, the entire mountain side and clouds glowed this amazing soft pink. It was stunning. As if that wasn’t enough, 20 feet from me, there were 4, mature Bald Eagles flying across the water. They were flying about 4 feet off the water and the water being smooth as glass, reflected their every movement and detail, it was stunning. I just stood there in awe.

I then went and stood by the beach and recorded the upcoming sunrise, it was lovely.

The next day being Winter Solstice, I planned on once again going down to the beach- but it was a typical Wet West Coast Windy Wet Winter day. A rain and wind storm came for a visit and it was miserable, it seemed to be dark all day, like the only light available was from a 40 watt bulb. And, of course the following day was nice, so I went back down to the beach and saw another lovely sunrise.

This got me to thinking how mother nature shows us that there is light before and after a storm. This was perfect timing for me, and I kept thinking about this metaphor.

Back on the 22nd of October, I had a speaking event in Sidney- I wrote about it in the last blog post. I got home the next night- which was a Friday and on that Saturday morning I was registered to attend a zoom meeting to learn about the TEDx Bear Creek Park event. I was tired and thought.” maybe I should just skip it” but my conscious and guts told me not to. So, I pulled my tired body out of bed, grabbed a shower and made a pot of tea and sat down and listened to the curators of that event.

I didn’t know what to expect, but they were all very friendly, informative, encouraging etc. After that meeting I went for a walk and thought about it. I continued to think about it for the next couple of days and I decided to fill out an application- I mean I had nothing to lose.

I filled out the application and emailed it along with my required 1200-word script- mine was like 1155 words or something like that. I sent it in well before the deadline as I thought I couldn’t really add much more to it and hoped for the best.

All I could do now was wait. I did learn a lot through the process and from that zoom meeting. I learned how better to stay with the one idea- which for a natural story teller can be a bit of a challenge, I learned how to sort my idea and thoughts etc. I also learned when I get a writer’s block or am stuck for an idea, if I go for a walk and don’t think about it- things are working away in the background and the answer or idea will come to the forefront. I also learned that I need to be my authentic and true self.

On November 21st I got notification that I had been shortlsited and was one of the finalists. I don’t think anyone was more surprised then me. I still had an audition to do, but I was elated. This showed that I chose right, being true to myself, and that my writing does make a statement.

This is huge…I pretty much flunked every English class I took. When I was in grade 3, I wrote a story that the teacher typed up- it was over 500 words and she asked me to read it to the class. I did and was amazed and so excited because I was no good at anything. I remember running home, so excited and told my mom and her reply was something along the line as "its no big dea" and "what makes me think I was so special". So needless to say, it would be another 4 decades before I would even think about writing again.

So that fact that I made the finals, on my very first TEDx application- I was pretty happy. There was then a chance to have a zoom meeting with the curator of the Personal Development and Growth category- which I gratefully accepted and we talked about how I could improve my speech and could re submit if I wanted- of course I did.

Then it was a frantic week or so of me trying to figure out how to get a better picture and lighting…I am so not into the tech stuff- so that was another huge learning curve. Thank goodness I had my son James helping me- it was a learning curve for us both and yes, we are still talking 😊

And somewhere in that time, my past came to visit. It would pop in now and then, show up in a flash or fraction of a memory, but no real full picture. I knew what it was around, a time when I was small and cameras were not a good thing. Now this isn’t new to me, I have worked in therapy on it etc and have pretty much dealt with it, and every once in awhile there will be a reminder of those times.

When I was working on my speech for The Connection Project, my friend Rob and his daughter Jana, volunteered to do a zoom meeting with me as I went through my speech- and it was weird as I could not look at them-it was a trigger with the camera, and I had to actually close my eyes as I went through my speech. But I did fine on the night of the event on stage, I nailed it and had a great time.

So, here I am working on the lighting etc…and something from my past is coming through, but I was doing ok with it.

The night of the zoom audition comes and I read my speech, answer questions etc and then once again it’s a waiting game.

About 10 days after I get notification that I didn’t get chosen to be one of the speakers. Of course, I was disappointed, but also felt pretty good I made it that far, and pretty sure that I will apply again next year.

That night I get a phone call from the Licensee and Curator of the event as he wanted to check in with me to see how I was doing after the news I got that morning. You could have knocked me over with a feather! He told me the weak point in my audition, - it was the issue and trigger with the camera and I didn’t have much eye contact etc- and strongly urged I apply again next year. He also told me that their coach, was offering me a complimentary 1-hour coaching session if I was interested- of course you know what my answer was- why wouldn’t I take them up on it.

For the next night and following day, I thought about that phone call and I wondered after all the work I have done around this trigger and issue- why was this still happening- what was I missing. I sent my friend Rob an email to let him know why I didn’t get picked and about the coaching session they have offered me. He has been one of my biggest fans with regards to speaking. Rob sent a short email back and as soon I read the line “And yes- we are always on show apparently” and as soon as I read that, a word, then a sentence popped in mind, and then that part of my past all came forward. As hard as this was, I knew that I could finally work through it so that it would no longer be an issue.

In the meantime, I have made connection with the TEDx Bear Creek Park coach, and we set up a time for our session. Our session would be on the 22nd of December. I didn’t know what to expect, but she was lovely, understood why I do what I do, and at times it was like she could read my mind. She gave me some great suggestions for the script- and there was a ton of positive stuff she told me about what I had submitted. We also talked about where I fell through on the audition. It appears I was somewhat disconnected, and gave off an angry vibe and she said there was no emotional connection as I read the words. I was somewhat fascinated by this as I know that what she saw was totally trigger defence behaviour. She asked me what was going on. I told her what had happened and that it took me 2 days to figure out what it was and she said “It only took you two days; you have done your work” yep I have. We chatted some more and she told me all the positive stuff about the script and also strongly encouraged me to apply again next year. I told her with a smile “Try and stop me”

Needless to say, it has been an interesting couple of weeks. While I am disappointed that I never got chosen for this upcoming TEDx event, I have learned lots and as I told the coach. “ "I would rather learn about what the issue is now and work on it- so that I can come back better, stronger and a more sure and powerful speaker next year, then have made the cut and have it come up 3 years from now when more might be at stake."

Being the holidays can have its challenges for me, and this year is no different- it’s been a tough couple of weeks, during a very challenging year. But I keep going back to Mother nature and her sunrises, that show me there is light before and after the storms.

As this year comes to a close, we will likely think back to how hard, weird, bizarre and challenging this past year has been. But as hard as it has been for me, I have had huge growth in my healing journey- I often joke and say to folks “ who would have thought a pandemic would give me a chance to heal at an even deeper level” As the dawns of this year come to a close, and the sunrises of the new year approaches, I gently suggest you also look back on this year with curiosity – think back to those moments of connection, gentleness and hope shown to you, the beauty the nature shows us, and look to see the beauty of yourself that resides in you. Be good to yourself and others, be gentle, be safe and I will see you on the flip side.

Cheers and be well


And as John O'Donohue wrote "The first fingers of light appear on the horizon, and ever so deftly and gradually, they pull the mantle of darkness away from the world. Quietly before you is the mystery of a new dawn, the new day. “ And for those of you who need a sunrise- here is the one I recorderd on the beach that day.

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