*Grandeur *Pure Beauty * Pristine *Glorious ~
These are four things that first come up for me when asked to describe my most recent experiences in Alaska. Earlier this year - I was gifted with a great opportunity to connect and work with children in the school systems of Alaska. Traveling two weeks out of a month, I worked in three schools with both native Alaskan children as well as children who were transplants due to family job transfers. I learned that some choose to live in the southeast portion of Alaska to experience the unique climate of rainforest meets icebergs and glaciers. Other families were living in the final frontier to embrace the life of fishing and become one with the sea. For me, well, I was there because I heard spirit say.......“Go North”.
When this job opportunity presented itself, I was also offered a more lucrative local position at the same time. Do I stay locally here in Portland, Oregon and make more money or do I uproot myself two weeks per month for several months and embrace the unknown? Well, my soul had far greater plans for me than money. “Go north” I heard my soul gracefully say to me. Now this message was starting to sound like a broken record. I had been hearing “Go North” for several years now in my morning meditations. I heard it so often that I literally moved from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon. Why was I STILL hearing this message? I literally laughed out loud when I heard it again this time. So needless to say.......I went even further north~
My first two weeks in Alaska I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with the newness of EVERYTHING - new job, new kids, new teachers, new town, new sites, new weather patterns, and new energy. I am sure at some point in your life or even in your current daily routines you can relate to the feeling of “overwhelm”. Its a feeling that sneaks up on you and can become ALL consuming. It surrounds you like a bubble that you can’t get out of and suddenly you find yourself swimming within some sort of self created fluid. Doing everything you can to paddle hard and keep your head above the “overhwhelm”. You are determined to NOT drown and this is when overwhelm turns itself over into survival mode. Soon your every action becomes a response in surviving. Your days turn into “getting by” and “making it through”. This does nothing to nourish the spirit. In fact, quite the opposite occurs - it is instead draining to the spirit. The beauty of you becomes dulled, exhausted, and completely wiped out.
So how can we avoid this slippery slope of overwhelm? I was blessed to have been shown the answer to this true to life dilemma. The solution was given to me within the context of the very problem. Ahhhhhh didn’t some wise person say sometime - that the answer is within the problem? I feel as if I have read this many times in a wide variety of personal development books and now I was not just reading it, I was experiencing it first hand.
One day after school having worked with 16 kids in one day - visited 3 schools and attended two meetings, I was exhausted. I had nothing left in me. I could not even create a fake smile -- all I had in me were eyes filled with tears. “I can’t do this.” I thought. This is not good for my spirit. Where did my spirit self even go? I had lost all connection with the flow of my energy life force. I was way past overwhelm - I had hit the wall. My heart knew I was committed to this exploration and adventure of Alaska so I knew I had to keep going and see my obligations through, but how? How can I do this?
The day was gorgeous, so after school I decided to go on a hike. I went on a hike called Fish Creek near where I was staying that I had yet to explore. The hike led me out upon a terrain of rocky beaches, sandy inlets, tree filled islands and marshy wetlands. On my walk I noticed that the questions I had been asking myself began to shift and change. Instead of asking and feeling the inner turmoil of how can I survive this current job situation, I started to ask how can I change my current experience? I knew this feeling of overwhelm, barely making it, feeling dragged through the mud, and coping to survive, was not how any of us are meant to live.
Out in the distance, as a natural part of the expansive marshland landscape, I noticed a male eagle resting majestically on a channel marker. I learned later that the channel markers are used to alert boats of low and high tides of the wetlands. Once I spotted him, I knew I wanted to get as close to him as I possibly could. With my knee high water boots I set out to cross the wetlands and be closer to him. Completely unconcerned with my presence, the eagle remained composed and solid in his stature as I moved in even closer to him. The trail I chose took me out to the channel markers and soon came to an end at a river gully. I was unsure how I could get any closer. As I stood in contemplation of my next move, the eagle had unexpectedly made the choice for me. I looked out to the channel marker and saw he had taken flight and was gracefully approaching me. His gigantic wingspan caught my attention and I stood in awe watching him gain closer proximity to me. I had no fear. I was actually standing in observation with complete peace in my heart. Of course my heart made the assumption that he would fly really high above me and I could watch in awe and glory.
Well, he had another plan or shall I say the universe had a different plan. The eagle headed straight towards me and glided down to just a few inches from me. Time came to a complete halt as the eagle swooped down, turned his head and we locked eyes. We looked deep into each others eyes and I faintly heard the sound of his wings pushing the air between us. How he did not hit me with his wings is beyond me. Everything around us vanished and nothing else mattered in this moment but him and I. He looked directly into me. I saw him. Time stopped. I experienced who he was. I saw the essence of his spirit behind his amber brown eyes dotted with yellow flecks.
He gave me a message. He showed me in an instant, on a visceral level, a core message. A message that changed me. His spirit spoke to me and said, “that when you feel “ovewhelm” turn it inside out and become overwhelmed with the joy of yourself. Feel the overflow - feel the overwhelm of your OWN spirit and how it fills you up inside. This will transmute overwhelm into the joy of self- leaving no room, space, or place for survival energy.”
All of this occurred within no more than what seemed like 10 seconds. At least that is what I am guessing. All I know is tears filled my eyes and one by one they trickled down my cheeks. I was deeply touched and changed from that moment on. I heard him and understood all that he shared. He flew past me at eye level and then ascended back up into the sky and landed at the very top of a nearby spruce tree.
“Become overwhelmed with the essence of you - feel the overflow of yourself - the you inside bubbling over in beauty - experience the overjoyedness of you within - this is the answer to transmuting exhausted, drained, overwhwelmed, survival type energy into a true asset you can use to change your experience.” His spirit spoke again.
I sat on a rock and absorbed this moment. In the eye of an eagle, a new perspective, a new found wisdom was disclosed.
I completed my Alaskan journey with greater life force access than I knew was even possible. Days that were drudgery before were now transmuted to just full days. Overwhelm had turned into overflow and in the eye of an eagle life had a new vantage point.