“It’s no heavier than the weight you give to it…”
I’m behind with my writing. there are no rules that i follow for my posts in terms of timing but this one i wanted to get done awhile ago. it seems like everything takes me a bit longer than i expect it to these days. as i sit writing this i am in spain, on the beautiful mediterranean coast and i can hear the water and the boats below. it feels a bit strange to be writing about iceland when I’m in spain but there are no rules here.
Iceland. a land unlike any other i have ever seen. the landscape gives off a feeling of being on another planet. the country is covered in lava and moss and people refer to it as the lava desert. at the time of our week there it was still quite cold. my mom and i arrive and rent a car and drive up the west coast towards the home we will be renting for a week. it still surprises me that i had brain surgery and radiation just a matter of weeks ago. we had been planning this trip for some time and are incredibly relieved when i get the clearance to fly.
We arrive at the beach house and are at a loss for words when trying to describe what we see. I have actually been struggling quite a bit to write about iceland. it’s mysterious and majestic all at the same time. the owner, Jona, is waiting for us and welcomes us so genuinely into her home. she’s an artist and shows us her work space and i am instantly amazed at the beauty of her work. we have been corresponding now for the last 6 months about our stay and my medical condition. she gives me a gift of a necklace that’s called a smiler. i am to wear it for it serves as a reminder to keep smiling. i am overwhelmed with her kindness and generosity.
mom and i relax in the mornings, have coffee and tea and look out at the water which is truly mesmerizing. we talk about the things we have seen here and the feelings we had at certain moments. there is truly a feeling of pure calm and a spiritualness that can’t be adequately described by myself. i believe we are just so happy to be away from the craziness that has been the last two months of our life. we are relieved and i believe we finally feel like we can take a deep breath again. my mom and i both need this time away, to see incredible beauty and be reminded of the notion of hope and strength and will and love. as much as i am going through this cancer trip, she is as well. we both need this time to rejuvenate and rest in a place as magical as this.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the week in terms of how i would feel and how much activity id be able to do. i felt really good the whole time and just that felt really good. everyday we saw something new and awe inspiring. from the dramatic coast and rocky cliffs full of seagulls, to the endless number of waterfalls, to the quaint Icelandic homes and small villages, to the Icelandic horses that are everywhere as we drive, to the northern lights, to the geysers and hot springs and elf villages. it was incredible, all of it, everyday. it was the perfect place for us to start moving forward, again.
Now, a blog about Iceland wouldn’t be complete without talking about the northern lights. it was like pure magic to see and we were lucky enough to see them many nights. the key to seeing them is cloud coverage, reflection of light from the earth and magnetic connection. the Icelandic vikings believed the northern lights were fires that surrounded the edge of the world. Some people believe that the lights are the souls of unmarried women dancing in the sky. you cant look away for a moment because the colors and shapes change in a matter of seconds. mom and i set our alarm for 2 am most nights, as that is the best viewing chance. it’s bitterly cold and windy outside and i run in and out of the house to warm up but not wanting to miss a second of the show outside.
This trip to Iceland showed me that i can still travel, i can still see beauty on this earth despite the ugliness that sometimes fills my days. i have learned so much in the last couple years through my illness, things i may not have learned otherwise and for this i am grateful. many aspects of my life make more sense now. I’m hard on myself and sometimes hard on others. what i used to describe as running away from things in my life, i now have a different perspective of. negative times in my past, or ugly, non beautiful moments now give me the motivation for seeking new beauty. I feel maybe i’m just trying to replace old memories that don’t bring light to my life. i am trying desperately to surround myself with beauty. it’s not running it’s seeking change, a dramatic and beautiful change and the world is giving me this in vast quantities now.
one of my favorite authors, eve ensler, refers to herself as a ‘tragedy magnet’. i understand this, i feel this some days. the more time that passes by, the more moments i have that are not tragic. i have lived a life some people envy. i have seen places many will not. i have made it through this life so far and feel as though for all the ugliness i have seen, there is more beauty in my sightline than ever before. I think about this and how incredible it is that everyday i smile with something new.
i sit and reflect on all the things i always thought i wanted for my life. Love, Peace, Health. There have been times that i feel sad because what i thought i wanted wasn’t occurring exactly how i imagined it. But, more so now than ever, i am beginning to look at these goals, these dreams and realize i actually have all that. maybe i’m getting everything i always wanted but in a different way. i have love in my life in the form of family and friends. i have peace in my life as i sit here on the mediterranean sea and write. i have health in that i am still here, despite my illness and i feel good today. i felt good yesterday and the day before. i can still walk and talk and dream and swim and lay in the sun and travel. i was so afraid that with the progression of my disease i wouldn’t desire these things anymore.
all these feelings remind me of an email i received from a friend i met traveling last year through the southwest. he sent me an extract from his favorite poet, Robert Service. I have been fortunate enough to meet such kind people in the last year. I am a believer that everyone comes into our life for a reason no matter how long or short their stay. there is a reason he sent me this extract. i connect to it completely.
“Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else
to gaze on
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore
Big mountains heaved to heaven, which the blinding sunsets
Black canyons where the rapids rip and roar?
Have you swept the visioned valley with the green stream streak-ing
Searched the Vastness for a something you have lost?
Have you strung your soul to silence? then for God’s sake go
and do it;
Hear the challenge, learn the lesson…”
Call of the Wild
My life has always been about change and dreams. Through cancer my dreams have changed a little from time to time but i readjust. someone asked me recently if you could trade all your life experiences, travel etc and not have cancer would you? i thought it was an interesting question, one i hadn’t been asked before and it really made me think quite a bit about my reality. i quickly answered no. i wouldn’t give it back. That is the lesson, my lesson.
“Speak your truths and let your heart be heard for even disaster is beautiful when it is pure.”
All my love,