This one changed my life
Back in the early 1940’s, my mother purchased a homestead in Homer, Alaska from the original homesteaders. Although we lived in Anchorage, that rural community and primitive cabin evoke a timelessness which is the essence of the frontier for me.
That is where I feel the most at home, the most expansive and inspired, the most connected to nature, the most at peace, and the most in touch with my core self.
In January, 2002 I was diagnosed with cancer and only mention it here because getting back “home to Homer” was so important to my recovery. It took me five years dealing with the illness, chemotherapy, and their aftermath. The physical trauma was brutal, leaving me a shadow of the person I was before.
While recuperating, an urge to live in the homestead cabin grew stronger and stronger in me. I dreamed about being close to nature, back to my roots, and living simply by “chopping wood and drawing water.”
Despite its charm, I knew such a back-to-nature lifestyle, without the basic comforts of civilization, would be physically demanding. I resolved to become healthy enough to live alone in that log cabin, without plumbing or electricity. Becoming hardy enough to live there (summer only; wintering over would be way too difficult) was the carrot that kept me pushing myself to get stronger.
I got home to Alaska in July, 2006. Not for a minute did I doubt the symbolic importance of returning to where I came from. Since I had just changed my name the prior week, it was a new me, a new sense of myself coming back. [from Lynella Faith Grant to Faith Lynella]
The day I returned to the cabin, I hung up three signs:
- Welcome home, Faith Lynella —since I decided to change my name only the week before
- A picture of a salmon swimming upstream—me getting back despite long odds and great difficulties
- Let the Cherishing Begin—a motto that gives me chills every time I say it. It feels like my slogan for the rest of my life
The clarity and joy from that combination of messages marks the transition to the next phase of my life. I feel I was reborn and energized in a way that permits me to finally write about matters of spirit.
In the cabin that summer the words that had been held back so long flowed. I completed the manuscript for How to Survive a Spiritual Hangover. While it has not all been smooth sailing since then, something has unblocked, allowing me to sing the song I’m alive to sing.
NOTE – This story is from my autobiography, 50 Years to Build the Butterfly Net, which will be published in the fall of 2017.
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