Your 17 million acres of green imperfection swallowed my complacency whole. For seven days in June, it was just you and me — anyone else on our 25-passenger boat was there just as a floating passerby in their own silent catharses.
For days we watched your inhabitant whales’ blows, fins and tales play with the surface of your silky smooth water.
It was during the choppier times that we saw them for the first time truly dance, breaching in full-hearted devotion to the symphony of waves and wind that constitutes you.
Tree by tree, breath by breath, our world’s largest temperate rainforest (intact), Tongass, you’re the biggest love we have left.
I realize there’s a whole system of life here within me.
A moment with my own self is actually an amazing thing. It’s incredible. A blessing. A miracle.
Anytime I may feel alone, I remember this epiphany I had, and immediately, I no longer feel alone. I just feel grateful to have this moment with myself, in this life.
If you think about the impermanence of life, and change, and all the good, and the challenges, and all the in-between most likely coming your way, you look at this aloneness as something to be cherished.
That’s what we do as people who are in charge of our own futures, as people who are responsible for and dedicated to going after what we want for our lives: we respect the way our bodies feel, we respect the other obligations we have, but we walk the line of challenging ourselves to go when it looks like the weather might change.
Then you trust that your efforts will be received by the universe. And if they are not - if your attempts take time to get there and then you still don’t feel like they are received, then you find another way around, a new route, a new relationship, a new method of applying for jobs. You try different things and you keep going.
Because no thing is more important than you staying with yourself. No matter what, you stay focused on yourself and what you want for your life.
Putting it out there You feel so fragile But you have to risk it And go after what you want, right You feel all this judgement You re-write things a million times You think about it When all you really have to do is get it out Get it off Off your chest Put it out into the world Give it a chance Birth it To give it a chance to live or die And if it dies You know you let it out at least Don’t feel embarrassed or scared Well, don’t let those feelings get the best of you
2016 is over. 2017 has just begun. The change of year compelled me to write a credo, a manifesto, for this new beginning. The concepts in my credo aren’t anything new - however, that’s not to say I hear them much or quite like this.
Not always have I been able to embody them perfectly - sometimes not at all. But they remain my backbone and they have guided me through time, love, happiness, fear and the loss of my dear sister, Jessica.
These are my intentions. I always come back to them.
I wanted to put my credo out into the world so it can serve as yours too, if it resonates with you and you want it. I hope it helps you further your path, and expands deeper meaning, authenticity and presence in your life.
I was so proud of Sam, so taken back by her comfort. I was sobered by her ability - when it really comes down to the pain of things - to really be there for someone. To lay right down there with them and go through the thick of it with them.
I think of grief. The grief of my own loss, or of watching a loved one go through it, or of not necessarily losing someone but indirectly hurting someone who loves me. I think of all the heavy and light miscommunication in this world.
Grief is something you carry. It’s not quite something you move through. You learn where it fits, where it’s recurved the structure of your body. What parts of your skin ache when seated a certain way now. And respecting that. You find a new normal.
Make space for the sadness, the grief, the loss and make space for the relief and the hope.
Sit down with these feelings and invite them into your home, into your mind. Let them be something else for you now.
Renounce whatever preconceptions you’ve had of them before, no longer believe there is something wrong with them. Make them something else. Allow them to be something else. It’s a simple as that. It’s almost too simple. Just play with the idea of giving them an alternate reality.
It’s hard because you go somewhere with it all. You go somewhere else with it. You take these feelings and you transform them into something else, you give them another identity. Meaning you’re not right where it is.
It's almost like some old feeling - some old teaching - is holding us back from it.
Maybe you can let yourself go to the happiness but then just minutes later you worry about the next thing. Maybe thoughts ring in your head: "You can be doing so much more with your time." "Did you have a productive day?" "What else can you be doing?" "That's not good enough."
Why don't we let ourselves have it?
Why are we not present for it?
Because we're so used to stressing and filling our every waking moment, our every break in thought.
So then how do we reverse this, how do we become present in our days? Present in our happiness?
I think there are moments in each of our lives where there's an opening to begin going a different way, if we’d like to.
There are these moments where even if we didn’t have the luck of biology - or we’re raised to be overly sensitive, or scared, or superficial - we finally have the opportunity and the actual ability to choose differently for ourselves.
Have you felt one of these moments?
These small, seemingly infinitesimal yet potentially game-changing moments are so easy to pass up, so easy to disregard assuming we can access them again at our leisure. But these moments don’t come around all of the time.
In battles it’s important to build momentum. Physical practice is momentum for a marathon or a boxing fight. In the case of this mental battle, your mental momentum is gratitude for what you have done. Acknowledgement of your progress.
So we need to takea step back and give ourselves a pat on the back. Be grateful for everything we have come through. And everything we won’t stop fighting for. Everything we won’t stop fighting to become. Yes, maybe slowly. Maybe not grandly. Maybe not perfectly or clearly. Yes, maybe more quietly.
Right now it’s simply the little voice that says keep going. Yes, let’s be grateful for that.
This week’s supermoon is said to be the brightest moon us Earthlings have seen in about 70 years. Naturally, this occurrence has stirred our species’ long-standing questions about our connection to the moon: does it affect our moods, sleep cycles, menstrual cycles, reproductive patterns?
The moon has always been a major subject - permeating all races, species and time. Think about the age-old folklore of wolves howling at the moon, the English word "lunatic" (derived from Latin "luna" which means "moonstruck"), or Shakespeare’s Othello: "It is the very error of the moon, she comes more nearer the earth… and makes men mad..."
There’s a Danish concept named “hygge.” Pronounced “hoo-ga,” hygge is one of those special foreign words that describes a feeling we have no words for in English.
Essentially, hygge is the sense of wellbeing one feels from being settled in his home. It’s about coziness; think, candles that are actually lit, Pandora’s Acoustic Coffeehouse station, string lighting and good aromas. Hygge has a strong yet intimate interpersonal element to it as well.
A hygge home would host comfortable get-togethers with hot chocolate or appetizers, just because.
How do you start again? How do you make another attempt to do something that you didn’t follow through with the first time?
How do you fight that battle in your mind that you didn’t finish it the first time? Well, let’s start there: let’s take a good look at “finishing.” What exactly does that mean to you; where is the finish line?
Is there one, concrete moment of this goal’s accomplishment that is finite and then ends, or is your goal a less-tangible upkeep of a particular way of life. It’s important to take a good look - right now - at exactly what you want.