“It’s perfect...” he breathed.
I looked around, trying to see what Sean was seeing in that moment, on a snow-covered plot of land in the middle of the Brooks Range.
After exploring via skis/splitboard, it was clear there were no roads in or out, and the closest human contact was a village of 10-ish people a mile away, of whom we knew... no one.
There were one million reasons to say “we can’t”.
But it was 2019, and we were in a season of saying “yes.” I was traveling back and forth from Montana to Alaska, to Wisconsin, to India and back again. I owned yoga studios in the lower 48. In years prior, Sean had settled our cabin on the Kenai Peninsula, and had permanently moved to Alaska — patiently waiting for me to do the same. We were saying yes to all our desires and dreams, even when they didn’t yet make sense in the larger puzzle.
I craved a nest, but — I’ll admit — I couldn’t “see it” in the arctic like Sean could on that fateful day.
(Below, me skiing onto the land in 2019)
What I lacked in imagination, I made up for in trust. I trusted Sean’s instincts. I trusted our ability to work together toward a common goal. And above all else, I trusted that the Universe would funnel us to where we were meant to be.
“We can’t” would have been appropriate response to the idea of building a retreat center in the arctic, 7 hours from civilization.
“We can” was the direction we chose.
(Below, that same view as above… just a few years later!)
Because the truth is: We can. I can. You can... do just about anything so long as you decide it. Once you say yes, the Universe unfolds in mysterious ways. Usually, the outcome looks nothing like your original plan — and that’s the fun of it.
Like bowling balls headed toward pins, sometimes the Universe puts the bumpers up and we get funneled directly to our destination.
Other times, we go straight into the gutter and miss the pins completely.
In either scenario, our only job is to get ourselves into the lane. From there, we say YES to the nudges from the Universe... because we can. We say NO to opportunities that divert us from our primary goal — because we choose not to.
Eventually we hit a pin. And if we’re paying attention to what feels good, we know we’ve hit a strike because we want to do it all over again. I’ve learned so much from living on this land in the Brooks Range — but perhaps my greatest lesson has been understanding that I can do anything I set my mind to.
On behalf of wordsmiths everywhere, hopefully I’ve made a solid case to shelve the phrase “I can’t” more often — and opt for the mindful awareness of “I choose not to,” instead.
(Below, Sean and the pups enjoying the last week of sun before Polar Night begins late next week!)
Or... perhaps you’ve made it this far and you still don’t see the point in caring about words. Luckily, I’ve got a few more stories up my sleeve this week!
Stay tuned tomorrow for a story about someone really special in my life. If he can’t convince you that you can, perhaps no one will.
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