There are many great world religious and spiritual traditions. All have their own practices and rituals designed to help people connect with themselves or with whatever they decide to call the magic of life.
I have come to appreciate lent the way I have come to appreciate winter. They both invite us to pull back from the social chatter and our worldly activities to go within to hear the thump, thump of what is actually us.
I have been asked by a friend to give a sermon this Sunday. The first Sunday of Lent. Even though I am not a practicing Christian, I deeply connect with this annual ritual. I know if I can truly embrace this period of reflection, my year will be all the sweeter.
Aside from the reflection marathon of Lent, shorter periods of unplugging and reflecting also seem to offer great benefits.
Brendon Burchard taught me to take 4 days every 3 months and totally disconnect. This February, I chose Alaska as my AWOL destination. (Note: you can do these anywhere. Winter trips to Alaska are not required)
As you may have read in my earlier posts, I recently flew straight into the heart of winter (Fairbanks Alaska) to stand for 5 nights in -30 and look up at the sky. I had no agenda other than clearing my head.
Sometimes looking up at the sky can feel overwhelming.
At the Arctic circle there are not only millions of stars overhead they continue all the way down to the horizon on all sides. Imagine standing in the middle of a snow globe and the plastic boarder has stars all the way down to the base all the way around. Totally surrounded.
I am not sure I could really appreciate the magnitude of what I saw. I felt like that spinning wheel on mac when the computer freezes.
There is a whole lotta something going on out there that has nothing to do with us.
Seeing the green lights, however, softened that feeling of celestial insignificance. They felt close, warm, and comforting. They dance above your head, cascading across the sky with the glee of dolphins bounding forward...changing direction sometimes in an instant and sometimes over 20 minutes.
While there is a scientific explanation for the lights, the feeling most people had in seeing them suggested more magic is afoot.
There was also a power in facing winter so squarely. ...To walk into Alaska in February! Locals thought I was nuts. Really, you want to stand outside all night in this cold? Silly tourists.
Until I ride the shuttle to the outer atmosphere, this is as close as I am going to get to space travel. (Honestly, with the amount of clothes I had on, I might as well have been wearing a space suit.)
Celestial magic is something we can connect to anywhere. Even living in the city a little star or the moon shines through.
There is something poetic about the fact that you need the dark to see the lights.
You must walk into the darkness and frigid cold in order to feel the warmth of the sky dancing lights.
I plan to lead a trip there next winter where we will spend our nights looking up and our daylight ours deconstructing and releasing the stories that constrict possibility.
Please let me know if you are up for the ride...
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
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