I Was There – Loon Lake 2022

Finally, A PLP trip! Recently our PLP 10 class went on a learning advance to Loon Lake. As fun as this sounds and was, we did do work and learn while we were there. The great part about trips with PLP is the learning we do is not in a classroom, and is more engaging and enjoyable.

Our main focus for learning was setting a goal for our time at Loon lake. My goal was to try and live in the present. This may sound silly as we all live in the present, but what a lot of people don’t realize is how much time they spend on a daily basis thinking or worrying about something that has happened in the past, or is going to happen in the future. Living in the present is something I have been thinking about and trying to work on already, but it has been very difficult, as it is not as easy as it sounds. When we had the opportunity to set a goal to try and accomplish during our time at Loon Lake, I thought this was a great way to practice this skill. I was in an environment where I had less going on, which meant less stress and less worrying about what is going to happen. To help us keep track of our goal and our growth during the trip, we created filled out a journal. The journal had writing and drawing activities, places to add photos, and sections to record audio. 

On the first day the first activity I went to was Canoeing. To be honest I wasn’t to excited about it, I haven’t had the best experiences, it just felt like something I could skip. Now every time I think about the trip canoeing is one of the first things that comes to mind. Towards the end of our time on the water, our instructor got us to do a short activity. We were asked to share something we hear, see, and feel. This small act of sharing these things really helped something click inside my brain. When I was sitting in my canoe thinking about what I’ve seen,  heard and seen, I found I was thinking about all the small positive things that I wouldn’t have paid much attention to. I thought about the way the sun was warm on my back, even though I had been a little cold the rest of canoeing, I chose in that moment to focus on something nice. I realized I was focusing on the positives, and when I thought about it, I found I could think of many. It clicked then that I can do this which everything I do, and instead of coming out of that activity and thinking about how I was slightly cold, I would think about how I enjoyed the sun on my back. 

To me that was a step for living in the present. It was recognizing the good in the moment and not taking it for granted, or focusing on the negative. This was a tool I could use to help with accomplishing my goal. I can even use this exact activity, and I did as well as my own variations of it. 

To me living in the present isn’t just enjoying yourself in the moment. It is using the time you are given and not focusing your time and energy on distractions. This is something I think I struggle at doing. I procrastinate a lot, and I know this is something I need to work on. When I was thinking about my goal I thought this fit in well with living in the present. Using the time I am given to work on what I know needs to get done. It focuses on me recognizing in the moment that I need to do my work and going to do the actual work, rather than going on my phone or seeing people. 

At Loon Lake I got to practice this in a few ways. During one of our days there, we were given free time and I remember thinking to myself that I should do some of the work I was given. Normally I think I would have chosen to hang out with my friends and talk, but as they were asking me what I was going to do I found myself replying with, I’m going to work on my journal. My choice in that moment to use that time we were given to be productive, actually impacted others. All my friends decided they would also work with me and we had a whole study group. I chose to use that time productively rather than spend it doing something I had plenty of other time to do. 

By the end of the trip, I think I got a lot better at recognizing when my thoughts and feelings drifted into the past or future. I think I got a lot better at bringing them into the present and focusing on what I can be doing now. As for accomplishing my goal, I would say I did. I just wanted to practice these skill over the trip and see their benefit. I wanted I to use that as motivation to keep doing it in my regular life. I think for the broader goal, I have a lot more I want to grow on. Even now that I’m home, I know I am not doing as good a job at recognizing and re-centring myself as I did at Loon Lake. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up and am not trying anymore. I am still trying everyday, some days are easier while other days it’s a lot harder. This is a skill that I know I am going to develop over time, but I know starting now is going to beneficial for me. I can already recognize in myself, that when I use my time and get my work done, I feel better and I usually have time to go for walk or exercise. When I have time for that walk or exercise, I feel more productive after, as staying active and moving is something that personally helps me stay in a good mindset. This is a cycle and when I can really get into this cycle, I can be in a place where I can stay positive, enjoy my time and stay on top of things. All of this just starting with the simple goal of living in the present.