On April 30, 1999, Susan Oakey-Baker lost her mountaineer husband, Jim Haberl, to an avalanche on Mount Ultima Thule, Alaska. Finding Jim is Oakey-Baker’s incredibly candid story of her journey through the grief that followed. Oakey-Baker hides nothing about the intensity of her struggles to make sense of the tragedy and “do well” in the aftermath. Her writing is honest, unapologetic and deeply poignant, the emotions sometimes so raw and present that they seem to well up from within your own body. If you have ever “lost” a loved one (in any sense of the word), this book will speak to aspects of your experience. Oakey-Baker has bravely put herself “out there” in a way most people don’t, and the result is an intensely beautiful testament to both the messy complexity of human feeling, and the resilience within each of us to finally accept and move on.
I just finished reading Katherine Palmer Gordon’s new book We are Born with the Songs Inside Us, a collection of stories profiling 16 successful and inspiring First Nations people living in British Columbia. One of the persons featured, First Nations educator Anne Tenning from the Chemainus First Nation, now a resident of Penticton, shares my exact perspective on the cyclical nature of life and the benefits of surmounting hardship. Says Anne:
Yes, life has highs and lows. But sometimes the most valuable teachings come from the lows. You just have to hang on, hunker down and ride out the storm. No matter how tumultuous it may be, the storm inevitably passes and the sun comes out again, and you will be left stronger and wiser for that storm you just weathered.
My opinion — and my experience — exactly.
It can definitely be hard to recognize the potential for sun when you’re stuck in the middle of a long, dark night. But nothing lasts forever, not even the worst storm imaginable. Relief — and light — will come again, and you will be so much stronger for it.
I found this fabulous and uplifting “manifesto for life” on the back cover of this month’s alive magazine:
Celebrate life. Learn lots.
Love what you do.
And always be curious for more.
Be the adventurer of your own dreams.
Aim high. Higher.
Choose to be healthy and happy inside and out.
Be your best. Inspire others. It’s contagious.
Discover your purpose then make it happen.
Go beyond your wildest dreams.
Do stuff that matters. Do it right.
Stop at nothing to create, evolve. Be smarter. Nourish and heal.
Have an open mind. Listen. Really listen.
Defeat the naysayers. Dare yourself daily.
Defy the ordinary.
Respect everyone and everything.
Take care. Of yourself, each other, the planet.
Laugh with abandon.
Love whole-heartedly and spread joy.
And above all
Live your life in BOLD.
(Courtesy Genuine Health: www.genuinehealth.com/our-story/genuine-health-manifesto)
Today, a great quote from Oscar Wilde:
Be yourself; everyone else is taken.
You are unique and beautiful just as you are. Let those qualities shine forth into the world. No one else gives off light quite like you do!
Just had a good dinner and a good laugh with a new friend.
Laughter: it cleans out the soul, puts a shine on your face, and leaves you fresh to travel the path before you.
This weekend, get out there and laugh. It does a body good.
Yesterday I went for a walk on a lovely meandering trail through the pine flats near my house. The track twisted and turned back on itself so often that it seemed a wonder it would ever reach its destination. But the scenery was gorgeous.
Kind of like life, I thought. Sometimes the long, circuitous, seemingly random path is the most beautiful and the most satisfying.