The path less taken

Last night I saw the Northern lights for the very first time in my life. I tried to get a picture, but none of them turned out. This is exactly what it looked like, streaks running through the sky. It wasn't fuzzy, it was clear, and it would get lighter in some places and then darken up in other places.

Like it was dancing.

It was incredible. Absolutely amazing. Breathtaking. 

I had started to write this last week, on my way home from Valdez. I hadn't decided if or how I should share it, but I feel like it's the right thing to do now. 

I absolutely believe life sets certain paths in front of us. The lessons along the way we may not choose, but we do choose whether or not we learn from them. Just maybe not whether or not we'd like to take them. I know a few life lessons I would have chosen to skip had I been given the option!

However in the paths we choose to follow, I believe we do have a choice. There are always times in all our lives when we are faced with a crossroads, or options on what path to take next. Many things help us decide... money, society, the people around us, and sometimes if we are lucky or strong enough to allow it, our hearts. 

The first part of my life was filled with a lot of sadness and  pain. I learned a lot of the more difficult lessons life has to teach us when I was still very young and when things were still very difficult to comprehend. The next part of my life was filled with more loss, more confusion, more sadness, and a lot of fear. But all these things have brought me to this place I am in my life right now, and have shaped the person I have become.

That's the thing about struggle and loss. It's a challenge. Probably the biggest one life gives us. But it shapes us, both in good ways, and sometimes in bad ways too. But all ways matter. 

I have been very blessed and sometimes it leaves me afraid for what will happen next, when struggle will return to rear it's ugly head as it does in all of our lives. But most times, it leaves me feeling an overwhelming feeling of awe and gratitude. It's my lesson to learn to not be afraid of any struggle in the future and to focus completely on the present. It's important to not live in fear. You must tell yourself, whatever life gives you, you will accept, and you will overcome. 

I am blessed to have a partner who cares deeply about me, and for whom I care deeply for. Amazing friends, a wonderful home, and the absolute best animal family. I write this from Alaska, where my heart has been since I was a little girl. Through the clouds and the mountains the sunshine is peeking through. Norman and Douglas are sound asleep on my lap. My heart is full. 

Life is an amazing thing, in all it's good and even in it's bad. In this moment I feel my family, most of them long passed on with me strongly. I am reminded of how important every lesson in life is and that you always have to be open to life, open to change, open to new and different experiences, and new and different people. Often the best friends come in unexpected packages. Not judging a book by it's cover, it is good advice. It tells you to read the story, before you decide for yourself how you feel about it. 

A lot of people think I'm pretty crazy. I choose to spend most of my time with goats and dogs, or completely alone in the forest. I have an uncommon relationship with Kevin, mostly because of our age difference and a lot of people find that hard to accept. It's taught me that only the people who accept you as you are and for who you are, those are the people that matter. It's left me with a circle of amazing people to call friends. Loosing most everyone who was close to me and meant everything to me as a young girl, and seeing their suffering, has taught me to accept people for who they are, forgive them for their faults, and to love people while you can, because tomorrow is never a guarantee. I'd give anything to have my loved ones for another day, so I could talk to them again. I know anyone who has lost feels exactly the same way.

It's so important to learn to not hold back, be honest, be receptive, be forgiving with the people you love. Enjoy them while you have them, and accept we all have weaknesses. We are all not perfect. Find the beauty in their imperfections. 

Eight years ago when I met Kevin, the path I was on in life changed. And although it was the path less followed by, and possibly a more challenging path in some ways, I opened my heart to it. And because I opened my heart to it, the world opened up to me. 

Don't be afraid to take the path less followed by through the woods of your lives.... and don't be afraid to open your heart to people, and things that challenge you or scare you. 

I think the great Rilke said it well... 

“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke


Nana-Bob said…
What a beautiful heart-felt post Donna. I wish you much happiness today and for the rest of your life. Enjoy your day to the fullest and here is to many happy tomorrows for you and Kevin! xoxo
earthmaan1 said…
Thank you for sharing,,, it was very touching and to say anything more here, well I would need my own blog for that,,, May Today be the BEST day for you BOTH...

I'm reading this on Saturday evening in Ontario - realizing that with the time difference, you might still be having your wedding dinner! I hope your special day is just going perfectly.

Donna - you have a beautiful heart that just shines through in your posts.

All the best to you both as you continue your life together.

(First time you've seen Northern Lights? Really? You are front-row and center up in Alaska!)

Mary Ann said…
What a wonderful post, Donna, another good one, and well thought out. The Northern Lights! Wow!
jaz@octoberfarm said…
you just described my life to a T. loss is so difficult but it gives you such a chance to learn. the future can be scary once you have gone through so much loss but i remind myself that if i survived what i have already lived through, i can handle anything.
Pug people are always a little crazy, at the very least. It's what draws us to pugs. Other than that, who's to say what is crazy and what is normal any more?

Although I don't even claim any inkling of understanding of your anxieties, remember this. You overcame the challenges of your past. You can overcome challenges in the future. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. If you did it before, you can do it again.

I would love to see and hear the Northern Lights, if only they would come south!

I'm glad that you have found peace and happiness on this path.

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