November 7, 2018
It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted an entry. Writing is very personal and intimate, especially when sharing deep thoughts. A chill runs up and down my spine to imagine someone else reading my innermost thoughts. Writing is a revelation and often I clutch protectively to what I hold sacred knowing that when it is released–just by pressing a key on my keyboard–I release a breath into the world. After reading my journal entry below I feel safe after holding on to it for over 24 years. I have matured spiritually and grown to realize that it is important to share your life lessons with others. So it is with special blessings that I share an intimate morning in my cabin as I lived in the quietness on a mountainside without tv, running water, and just an electric typewriter and my books to entertain me indoors. Outside the wintry landscape was winter wonderland that only the Alaskan wilderness could behold. Enjoy.
February 26 1994 – 11:35 AM
All is calm. All is white. All is quiet on the mountainside. I can even hear my breath and feel it’s warm departure from my body.
I have a compulsion to write the passions of my heart—to write of my path to triumphant victories and the valleys I trudged through along the way,
At age 46 one realizes that life is just now beginning to blossom. For me it is an emergence from half a life of learning to a time of building—or rebuilding—influencing, teaching. I view my time in Glennallen, AK as examination time. Making sense—or better sense of past experiences and directing present and future actions.
I used to think that my physical health was most important. Then I thought, nay, the spiritual is definitely more important since it keeps one in touch with Who really counts. Immersed in academic study, I was easily convinced that intellect rules.
Ah, but as long as one is trapped in fleshy garb, one soon realizes that above all, time rules—in this physical realm, anyway.
I grew up learning that the “four sticks” of life consist of the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual realms. Mastering these four realms is the quest of life. We choose our own playing fields, and somehow, through some unknown formula (fate?), conscious or unconscious actions, we partake in the chosen game…as though knocking on doors for answers or simply to practice that golf swing, so to speak.
But the four sticks are really to be viewed holistically, each realm receiving distinction and definition from the other three. Too often, easily influenced by the physical realm, I have permitted behaviors—mine and others—to establish and determine rules for appropriate behavior that resulted in certain lifestyles. I tend to agree with Toqueville who described Americans as living by “Habits of the Heart.” I believe I have lived 46 years of my life that way. Habits of culturally appropriate physical behaviors, even though spiritually, morally, and intellectually I warred internally. Behaviors in the physical realm are reflections of our belief system governed by the three other realms. In other words our behaviors reflect our beliefs and values. The very laws of the land, however, can only guess or come very close to defining “intentions” of one’s actions.
But what else is there? We do not agree on what is moral or whether or not there is even a spiritual realm at all. We do not even agree on reality. Is there hope for peace among earthlings who hold vastly different definitions of the four sticks?
The bottom-line is that we all share earth as home, and our actions and behaviors effect everyone else. We cannot avoid interaction. In intercultural circles we call this method of learning, living or doing research as “immersion.” It constitutes living within a society to study its culture. The set-back to this method, as you can imagine, is that one also effects that culture by living within it, I do not mean to suggest that we live on experimental earth. (I actually cannot be sure.)
To state it more clearly, we have limited space on this earth that we must share. And while we may share different realities at the same time our actions and behaviors reflecting those respective realities lend a hand in changing our perspective of ourselves and the world.
My task at hand is the define my square footage of space…one that is owned by time, left behind at death, and somehow relate that measured time and space to the real “me.” That which belongs only to “me” is ever being revealed and refined. Time has no claim on “me.” The process, however, is both internal and external, and for completion, I need the help of the “other.”
I need “you” to love/accept me. You need me to love/accept you. We must communicate this message successfully to each other. The most effective way is through direct interaction. When you receive my message and I receive yours, we share in the ultimate celebration of self-love. It’s the old “I’m O.K. You’re O.K.” theory.
The whole process really begins with inward journey to clarify one’s needs, options, desires, addictions. After having discovered the basic human needs of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-esteem, then one is equipped for celebrating the outward journey of experiencing others through the ability of relating honestly, authentically and openly. The result is truly a celebration of two people communing in the mental/physical realm while being sensitively attuned to the presence and interplay of the moral/spiritual realm.
Anytime one relates to another, there is a risk. A risk of being rejected, misunderstood, betrayed.
I struggle with my desire to isolate and insulate myself from a world whose values are very different from mine. Ah, values—a loaded noun.
Let me rephrase it by saying that I once cared too much about what other people thought of my behaviors and actions. I still care, but I am owning my life like never before. I have given myself permission to live according to what I determine is right and good for me. This, however, is not without concern for others. I need others. I respect others. I am, however, more articulate about what my intentions are and why. Perhaps the clearer I am at this task, the less conflict will develop during an interaction. Not that conflict can ever be eliminated, but at least I know what my bottom line is.
I do not know exactly where this monologue is taking me….
It seems I am searching for the end (or the beginning) of a rope; or the end of the ball of yarn that is somehow deeply entwined in the center of the ball. Perhaps if I keep pulling at it I will find the end (or the beginning) but not without tangles.
Some deep internal passions I have experienced that shout for fulfillment include the complete absorption of the colorful, majestic sunrises and sunsets I have recently witnessed. Can a person drink up the sunset? On my walk I gazed down a narrow snow trail lined on both sides by tall evergreens lightly dusted with new snow. At the distant end of the disappearing trail Mt. Drum stood in radiant purples and pinks, adorned with a glowing golden tint for a crown and an array of blues for a throne. Over its left shoulder the moon was waxing full, rising to brilliance. I stood for a moment. Awed by beauty, challenged to remember every detail to “keep” it. Humbled by un-manmade perfection—a skill and creation beyond humankind. My heart overflowed with a passion to know its Creator; to look over the Artist’s shoulder onto the palette of colors; to fly over and beyond the mountain, yea, even to the moon to behold an equally majestic earthrise. The cold arctic wind quickly reminded me at once of both flesh and gravity, and turning, I continued my walk, passion unfulfilled, until reality undressed herself and I became a part of all that I saw…an integral part of it all…that I, too, am part of the majesty of all that is. That somewhere at the other end of the rainbow there stood an observer with like passion who beheld the majesty of my presence. After all, I am a child of a king.
Another deep passion I have is to understand the Ahtna people. I look for ways, using my personal, academic, and professional background to bridge gaps between cultures. I want to learn their history, and all the great things their people represent. They have so much to give and contribute to society. I hope I can be an instrument to make their story known to the world.