Standing Still – Discovering Calm and Inspiration

One of my few fond childhood memories was sitting on the ferry going to Vancouver island. It was always such a neat experience as a kid and always remembered feeling excited because it was like going on a mini vacation by boat.

I’ve been planning this weekend to Ladysmith, BC for about a month and was looking forward to some time alone, away from the city to feel inspired and write. It’s an experience I eagerly looked forward to for quite some time. My ferry wasn’t leaving until 8:30 pm, but I decided to take in the full experience and arrive a couple of hours earlier. The moment I left my apartment, I felt an aura of relaxation and I was already in the zone of feeling rejuvenated.

I parked my car and strolled into the marketplace at the ferry terminal. The evening sun was gently setting, piercing thru the skylight.

My senses came alive the moment I walked in. I noticed aromas of food that I would normally take for granted every time I ventured into a busy marketplace. Without any effort, I picked up the scent of roasted coffee beans, freshly popped popcorn, sweet caramel and cocoa from the chocolate shop and slow roasted Frankfurters at the hot dog stand.

I wandered around and stopped at the coffee shop to pick up a beverage and snack. I parked myself on a stool inside the marketplace and enjoyed my evening treat, while pleasantly observing all the other travelers.

I slowly sunk my teeth into the moist banana loaf, savouring every morsel. Being mindful of every delightful bite and every sip of my Americano out of the hot paper cup.

I watched and smiled at the delight in the faces of the tourists soaking in their meals and laughing and giggling in playful conversations. Shops were winding down for the day as I was only able to get onto one of the last sailings for the day. It was a serene group of travelers in the marketplace, browsing, shopping, eating, conversing, laughing and brimming with joy.

I listened and heard pleasant conversations in the marketplace. Not the sounds of hustling and bustling of shoppers bumping into each other impatiently fighting thru crowds. No. It wasn’t like that at all.

When it was time to board the ferry, I immediately darted to the cafeteria. I remembered as a child, eating at the cafeteria in the ferry was one of the highlights of those trips. So, I decided to relive those fond childhood memories. Even though I was already filled up from my coffee and banana loaf, I decided to order a meal at the cafeteria no matter how full I was! I felt peace, happiness and joy inside of me, bringing me back to a safe and happy place from my childhood.


After the mouth-watering burger, I kicked back and enjoyed the remainder of the two hour ferry ride. Much like in the ferry terminal, I sat back and watched all the smiles and happy faces onboard the ferry. I even felt Louie Armstrong’s song It’s a Wonderful World come to life. Husbands with their arms lovingly around their wives watching the sunset. I overheard a conversation between a young boy around 11 and his mom. He had just bought his mom a present from the gift shop and she showered him with kisses and loving words of gratitude. The boy was so delighted he made his mom smile. Friends playing cards and enjoying their time together. Young couples strolling hand in hand, enjoying each other’s company with smiles so wide, they looked like they were on their very first date. Grandparents and their grandkids having conversations, free from their mobile devices. The two hour ferry ride brought so many people together.

This short trip was an opportunity for me to get off the grid and reset myself and to rediscover the person I once was. No, not the angry, abusive man with no appreciation for anything. I meant the creative person that I always knew inside of me. The one who draws his inspiration from the simpler things in life. Thus, I chose to separate myself from the daily routines at home and from the city that I found myself growing with cynicism.

I felt free. Free of internal judgment, fear and self loathing. I felt my best self come alive vividly during the entire ferry ride and time at the cottage. I allowed myself to smile, relax, and enjoy others around me. I went to the neighborhood pub and talked to strangers and met some friendly locals. I allowed myself space for self compassion and kindness. It was a place I very much needed and wanted to be at and wanted to hold onto it for as long as I could.

I also felt compelled to write. And that’s what I exactly did. I picked up my pen and notebook and began jotting down notes about my thoughts, feelings, sensations and experiences. I wanted to describe my experience in detail. None of it was contrived. It just felt so organic and free to write. Words and thoughts flowed from my mind onto paper like a running faucet and I couldn’t keep up with my words.


And that’s exactly what I did this weekend. I wrote and wrote and wrote in my journal whenever I felt inspiration tickling my brain. Just me and my best creative self. And I found him in a place of peace, calm and serenity.


This is taken from my journal entry and is unedited deliberately to capture my true feelings at the time I wrote this.

Jason Lee, Author of Living with the Dragon. Photo by Kristi MacFarlane Photography.




Published by Jason Lee, Author

There’s something greater to be learned in our journey otherwise life would just be too predictable and I’m not quite willing to accept that!

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