Whatever my going is, that is tough for me, may be very different for Michael and vice versa.
Recognizing this is a major first step towards supporting each other.
The Going is Tough – Isolation
Right now my going is tough. Michael and I are spending the winter apart as he is in British Columbia preparing the house to be sold for the spring, so this summer we can start building our dream home here in Nova Scotia.
Because of circumstance, for the winter, along with our two cats and small dog, I’m staying in a small wood cabin in a remote area of Nova Scotia. The isolation is challenging. The amount of work and planning because of the remote location is, at times, exhausting. Think about why people vacation in a remote cabin for a weekend. To get away from it all. I’m so tired of being away from it all! Weekend getaways require planning and supplies to have everything one needs, because if you run out of something – it is no easy task to get it replaced.
Laundry, garbage, groceries, restaurants, corner stores, gas stations – are all a drive away. There’s no food delivery up here in the low mountain! While some locations are closer than others – it is the accumulation of effort that gets to me.
Then there is the weekly drive to work – Monday to Friday – 50 minutes each way. If the weather is stormy, then the road conditions aren’t great and the drive takes longer. Thankfully I’ve a Jeep Wrangler with badass winter tires.
If the weather conditions are stormy, I may lose power. I do not have a generator. I’m on a well. That means no water. I’ve become good at preparing for storms as well as post-storm power outages! I’m now accustomed to climbing into a dark and damp crawl space under the cabin, along a dirt floor, to prime the water pump!
I’m struggling adjusting to working back in public schools after working at an international, private school. It’s the climate within the public education system that is energetically draining. I’ll just leave it at that.
Grit = Work Ethic
Grit is something I first heard of from a teacher I worked with in Qatar. Nick Zarter. He believed in productive struggle for his students, that this skill would help them develop the grit needed to live in society, out from underneath their helicopter parents.
I’d known this grit to be called a work ethic. I have a strong work ethic. My mother taught me this. I’ve been working since I’ve been 16 years old. I’m not afraid of hard work, I will do what it takes to get the job done. And done right the first time.
I’ve got the grit to push through this, but processing the emotions as I do is challenging.
Emotional Exhaustion of Isolation & Loneliness
This new-to-me of living in isolation in a remote rural area and the loneliness of living without my husband is having a shocking effect on me. Along with a strong work ethic, I’m very good at adapting. I’ve restarted my life, many times, from scratch. An example of my work ethic and ability to adapt is the successful life I created for myself during my struggles of adjusting to living in a Muslim country. This was no small change.
Yet, here I am, back in Nova Scotia. Back in familiar. But his time, this adjustment, this adapting to living in a remote rural area is a real struggle.
Everything seems more difficult living in a remote area. More challenging. More work. Draining me of energy. I’ve been very quick to start receiving regular energy treatments from a local healer. I’ve started running in the mornings – 5 days a week. I’m up to 6km now. I’m up and out of bed at 4:00am – Monday – Friday. I make my lunch, take care of the pets, check my emails and blog, then change to run outside – yes, winter running. I’ve also signed up for snowboarding lessons on the weekend – because I live past a ski hill!
But my loneliness is pervasive, spreading through every cell of my being. I’m struggling to adapt. Michael is perfectly happy in Campbell River, in surroundings familiar to him. I’m in this crazy, unfamiliar, isolated stasis of a cabin in the woods. I seem to be fighting my life now, every step of the way, because at times, I hate it so much. There is no surrender to it…just a daily exhale to push through and work to get everything done that needs to be done, with very little reward and then move on to the next day.
I realize that there is much I can be grateful for. That I have many blessings. That other people have struggles far greater than my own. Yet, at times I find it so very difficult to be happy with where I’m at, during this transition time. The isolation is daunting.
That said, there are times when I feel very peaceful here. Relaxed. Everything is okay in my world. I can handle this temporary situation I’m living in. This is a stepping stone towards the start of Michael and I building our dream property together. Then, eventually I will have a studio in our barn, above our horses and I will start a Reiki practice and begin to learn other energy healing modalities.
Known for My Positivity and Laughter
I’m known for my positive outlook and how much I love to laugh. Because of this, I know that my struggles are real because I have a history of finding the rainbow in the darkness. I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m not a victim. I’m not powerless. I’m in a situation at this time that cannot be changed. A situation I am truly struggling with; that I am digging deep, each day to move forward with to get through. Some days I succeed in my outlook, other days I do not.
When I’m down and out, I’m down and out and need a helping hand to bring me up. Family and friends help. But there is an emotional void left because I am apart from my husband, that only he can fill.
Support Each Other
I’m faced with the very scary vulnerability of needing my husband’s emotional support on a daily basis. I feel needy. Defeated in a way, because I seem to be failing at adapting here.
Yet, this is love. Isn’t it? To be able to depend on my husband when I am in need of emotional support. He doesn’t need my support right now because he’s as happy as a clam at high tide in his familiar surroundings.
I feel vulnerable. A bit crazy.
Yet, at every turn…during our wintertime apart, Michael has been there for me, emotionally supporting me. He’s been kind, gentle and compassionate. Funny in his weird way.
While we are not together in person, our phone calls, FaceTime sessions and many, many text messages carry me when some days I struggle to carry myself.
Love is about taking the risk to be vulnerable enough to admit struggle and ask for help.
Marriage is not about being an island. It is about bridging two hearts together, forever.
I love you Michael…
I’m so grateful for you…..
Update – I’m Grieving and Hope is Found!
I realized a few days after writing this blog, that I’m also grieving the easy, financially rewarding and travel-filled life Michael and I had in Qatar. Mix this grieving of what was once a very easy life in Qatar with the isolation now of living alone in a remote area that requires a lot of adjustment and work, I see now that what I was missing is HOPE.
My current living situation isn’t forever. This is a transition towards Michael and I building our dream home and property together! There is a future to be excited about, and that this, THIS living situation is just temporary!!! My work situation – I can handle it. I may not always like it, but I can manage until I transition into owning my own Reiki Practice.
Hope. Dreams. It all seems so clear now. So obvious. My husband Michael has been reminding me of how exciting this next chapter will be, building our dream home and property together. It took me a little bit to catch on, because I just couldn’t see beyond the struggle of living in this isolated, rural area, missing my husband and grieving the life of ease, financial reward and travel in Qatar.
Life is a journey ‘eh!!
Originally published: February 8th, 2020
About me: Stephanie Wells
I’m a Reiki Master Teacher of Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui System of Natural Healing. I was attuned in Levels I, II & IIIA in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. During a 6 week stay in Mararikulam North, Kerala, India I was reattuned in Levels I, II, & IIIA as well as acquiring my Level IIIB Master Teacher attunement.