I have found through living in this vast state that if I allow myself to lose myself, I end up actually finding my true self. Alaska, with its wide vistas; tall mountains; ample beaches and oceanfront landscapes; diverse wildlife; smoking volcanoes; long summer days and dark winter nights; the auroras; spirited folks with a mind for community and generosity; the slower pace. They all add up to incredible and plentiful opportunities for reflection and meditation, if only we let ourselves.
And I do.
When the stress of everyday life creeps in, I only have to step off my front porch and go for a walk. The quiet and solitude surround and engulf me. Consume me. I release my worries and cares and let peace flow in to my soul once again.
At the beach, I listen to the waves – sometimes gently, sometimes violently – crash on to the land. Over and over. Loudly. Softly. The longer I listen, the doubts and what-ifs in my head are overwhelmed by the sounds of the wind, the gulls and eagles, the sand and gravel rolling across one another like a soothing balm. Scouring out the ick inside my head and replacing with calm. Even if only for a time.
Across my land, I look out in the foreground. I see trees and bushes and grasses on out to the river valley on further to the surrounding hills and further still to the mountains across the bay. Turning slowly, I take in the volcanoes and mountains across the inlet. Blades of grass and fireweed sway in the ever-present winds. The clouds come and go. The sun rises and sets. The moon waxes and wanes. The auroras dance and still. The stars glitter and creep across the night sky. Silence reigns.
Every day the view is the same. Every day the view is different.
The busyness of life slows. The so-called important things dim. My worries don’t seem so big. Creation around me demands attention; demands a response. My roving eyes lust for more. More light. More dark. More of the wind moving through the trees and more of the tides pushing and pulling the ocean waters. The longer I stare out across the land, the longer I want to. The harder it is to pull myself away.
I feel my self, my identity, draining away. I’m losing myself. And yet….the more I relax my grip on my self, the more I seem to find out who I really am. The me I want to be rises to the surface, even for just a moment. The things, the checklists, the attitudes, the responsibilities; they aren’t so important right now. In this moment, it’s just me and this great expanse of land.
I’m so thankful. So incredibly grateful, that I get to be here. Living off-the-grid in rural Alaska is helping me lose myself and find myself all over again. I am able to breathe deep without anxiety and re-evaluate who I truly am once again.