Dear SpokenCoast Friends, Family, & Followers,
Just a quick note to let you know I’m doing swell. I haven’t gotten to the “Viktor Frankl” post yet, but it will happen soon. I promise.
How are things on your side? How are your kids? Your jobs? Your access to the natural environment?
Since coming to Alaska 6 weeks ago, my world has been turned upside down. Today in Unalakleet, I had two more absolutely incredible interviews. One touched on many personal issues I’ve struggled with in my own past, and just completely brought me to tears. The strength & courage of the interviewee to heal was inspiring on so many levels.
I am just SO blessed.
Truly, I am the luckiest person in the world. I get to travel from village to village, town to town, and meet people with incredible stories, and THEN actually document their stories & bring them to you. (The “bringing them to you” part is a little slow, I know. Working on it – thanks for your compassionate patience.) Who wouldn’t want my life?
That being said, the intensity and depth of some of the stories has touched me to the absolute core. Who knew what I would find here? Who knew Alaska has the highest rates of suicide, domestic violence, and sexual abuse? Maybe you knew those things, but I sure didn’t.
Witnessing such amazing courage, not only in the stories themselves, but also in the participants’ act of sharing them with me, has really opened me up. It’s lit a fire under my soul, to truly heal from some old scars that still linger. What I’m now seeing is the grief over my brother is allowing some deeper grief over old childhood stuff. What a gift.
These last few weeks has really brought me closer to God. There. I said it. Yes, I said God. The “G”-word. As I’ve walked my path of spirituality starting in childhood (one of the good things that happened back then), I’ve always known there is some other entity that crafted the cosmos, and me, and the sands of the ocean, and the leaves on a tree. When I’m in nature, I feel this Entity more easily. Alaska has lots of nature.
Alaska also has lots of Christians. They seem to flock to me, not only to help me out with a place to stay or food, but also to share their stories. The folks around here in Unalakleet call it “testimony”. It seems to be a common theme in many Christian churches to share one’s personal story of salvation or how they came to believe in God.
Well, scoff if you like, but some of these stories are really deep, intense, & quite moving. When the journey concept came to me, it was an act of this Bigger Being in my life. And I promised that Being that I would remain open to any & every story of hope that came my way, no matter my own personal bias or judgment.
Most of these Christian folks do not try to convert me. They don’t get into my face about what I ought to be doing or saying to be saved. They simply share their stories. And, it’s been really inspiring.
In my own desire to heal, I’ve been taking some of their advice. Believe it or not, I’ve studied the bible a bit. Yup. I write this sheepishly because it’s simply not the “hip” thing to do. But, you know what? It’s helping me a lot. Whether I believe in the whole Jesus kit & kaboodle or not, the bible is a great read. There’s a lot of stuff in there that speaks about love, forgiveness, and transformation through a spiritual pathway. Many ideas are similar to Buddhism, which seems to be America’s “accepted” spiritual pathway by 40-somethings & under.
The point is, the details don’t matter. I’m hearing great ideas, thoughts about how to heal, and renewing my conscious contact with a Energy flow much, much bigger than my feeble-minded self. I’m reconditioning my crazy mind into a mind of kindness; and the kindness is beginning inside of me. It’s starting with self-love, love that God is helping me to feel, since I’ve been struggling to feel it on my own.
This is all good stuff.
So, “when in Rome”, don’t be too shy or afraid to be un-hip, as to do what the Romans do. I know, in my heart of hearts, that the friends who really love me, my family members who really care, will love me whether I read a few bible passages or not. Even if I decide to join a church (!), they will still love me. Because they think I’m a fantastic person no matter my pathway to spiritual healing, my pathway to love.
Whether it was desperation or overcoming shyness or what, I’m so thankful to myself, and a couple of key pals this last week (you know who you angels are!), who beckoned me to vulnerability, to surrender to what was all around me, which was love. Who knew it would come from the mouths of folks speaking bible verses. Who knew.
Your gypsy with a camera,