The Summer of Saying 'Yes'

It’s funny how we can feel like we finally have ‘it’ figured out and then life is like,
“Nah, you got a lot to learn still. Here’s a lesson!”

Below Stella shares a snippet of a story about change and transitions,
which is so f*cking relevant in life right now, feel me? She’s talking about how dance,
movement, art and painting—all forms of expression—can save us in many ways. Heard that!
It’s different for each of us, but we all share the same release and can certainly learn from
one another in our creative expression. And hey, there’s a place for you to share it.
I’ll give you a hint…it’s here.


I was inspired to build my first truck camper during a summer of ‘saying yes’. 

I was full time, self-employed as a landscape gardener—for the better part of a decade—and then, that summer, my body gave me a real good shake and told me to stop. Everything. No more. I wasn’t really sure how to do that. I’m kind of a lone wolf type, always moving, making and doing. Everything I did for a living was so physical; I wasn’t really sure how to rest. I was a self-made workaholic. I had finally bought a truck for my work that year, instead of cramming my tools and yard waste into the back of my old Volvo. The season was off to a busy start. I had an amazing place to live. I thought things were looking up! 

But things changed. Fast. Life had other things in store. I became completely overwhelmed with chronic pain and heavily fatigued. I mean, knocked over with pain. And no help but my own mind, force of will and some basic counselling through the local provided healthcare. All of the sudden my life was reduced to everything that is the essence of me: bare bones. I felt so raw, vulnerable, scared. But I had a lovely life and place to live, so I eventually became calm. Leaned into things. Still, quiet, alone, at peace, surrendering to my pain and allowing it to flow through me. I had no other option. It had to go somewhere. So it came out of my fingertips in the form of beautiful soft pastel landscape paintings. I decided I would dedicate every breath to it. Surrender. Just be. Create. I was in flow. It was a gift. Through that time I created some of my best work. The pain was a catalyst that I will always remain thankful for. 

I was reduced to my core. And at my core I’m simply an Artist. And now was the time to begin tending to her needs. So that was really nice and all—it really was—but I was so broke ass. I chose to surrender to that too. But still, it sucks by times. I began to minimize, fine tune and simplify in order to continue doing what I still enjoyed most. Art and music. Dance. I also began this intuitive carpentry thing where I just started building stuff! No measurements really, just given’er and making awesome things! Shelves, sculptures, campers, showers, whatever I dreamed up. If I could do it with whatever I had, I did. I was so short on paid work that summer though. 

As it went, a dear friend of mine who was working with an electronic music festival, reached out to me to ask if I would like to join the crew that summer as a paid employee. Of course I said yes—it was the summer of ‘saying yes!’ And I had been trying to play grown up for so many years that my childlike, dancer self had been somewhat asleep. So I began to stew on my camp ideas. And boom! Three hours, two bodums of coffee, a butt load of cigarettes, house music pumping, all while in my pyjamas. The morning before I left for the festival I had built my first truck camper in the box of my work truck. I was so pumped! I didn’t know how I would do it all and manage it physically but I was just going for it. 

I set out, had an epic breakdown along the way (another story entirely), arrived a day late after hitchhiking for parts and learning how to replace my fan belt, had the time of my life, found where I belong (I’m a natural circus act), and the very best part, I DIDN’T FEEL ANY PAIN. My ultimate medicine is music, you see. THE primal release for us is motion. Dancing to rhythm heals us on a cellular level. (A whole other spiel!) 

So I realized that I was building myself an get to the festival which was a day of travel, to be set up comfortably enough to go hard and rest well AND to immerse myself into the vibrational healing of electronic music and good love vibes. That summer saved me in so many ways. It showed me exactly how to live through my pain in the form of art and music. Movement. Love. 

The truck camper—well that’s a whole other journey in itself. I’ve since rebuilt it twice, and now have an additional cargo trailer conversion component. I’m still working with the festival, and others too. And after four hard years of digging into the health issues I’ve finally found some answers for my pain. That is also another story; I’m full of them. 

Most of what I’ve learned is that Life just is sometimes. It’s what we do with it that counts. I like the practice of learning to love even the hardest bits. It makes the good bits even tastier.