Words of a life snoozer

“It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Have you ever hit the snooze button? I’m guessing you have at least once. And when you hit it— if you were awake enough to even think about it—you were probably happy knowing that you’d be getting a few more minutes of sleep, right?

You may have been dreaming a really great dream or were super comfortable in your bed, and you just weren’t ready to wake up. Maybe you had a hard time getting to sleep the night before or you just didn’t get enough sleep.

In any case, waking up would be painful, right? So it makes perfect sense that you wanted to put off feeling that pain.

But what if this were a metaphor for your life? What if each time you hit the snooze button and chose to stay asleep, you pushed away precious opportunities to wake up? And what if each time you pushed the button, you were actually postponing your life? Would you still push it?

I did. For many years. For most of my life, actually. I had gotten into the habit of hearing the wake-up call and hitting the snooze button. It wasn’t a convenient time, or I was too scared to do anything about it, or I just wanted to ignore it.

I continually hit the snooze button when I said no to opportunities to stretch out of my comfort zone and soar into a new life: an acceptance into a great college, a scholarship to study in France, and an invitation to speak at my college graduation.

I hit the snooze button because I was too afraid. I wasn’t ready to wake up and start living fully.

Ignoring the wake-up calls became such a habit that I eventually didn’t want to leave my bed at all. I wanted to continue sleeping. It was safe, warm, and comfortable there. I could pull the covers over my head and pretend that the real world didn’t exist.

I could pretend that it was perfectly okay that I was sleeping my life away.

But I could only ignore the alarms and my inner voice urging me to wake up for so long. Because two years ago, I received a wake-up call that didn’t come with a snooze button: I learned that my first love had killed himself.

In one moment, my entire world changed. I felt so much pain and so much sadness, and I couldn’t push it away. I couldn’t pretend that this wasn’t happening. I tried to go to bed and pull the covers up, but the grief went with me. I couldn’t escape it.

While we hadn’t spoken in many years, memories of our time together came rushing back. I remembered us when we were younger—full of life and promise and joy and vibrancy. I hadn’t felt any of those things for so long.

I had been too busy ignoring the wake-up calls and hitting the snooze button—trying not to feel or stretch myself.

But in this moment of extreme grief came extreme clarity: I knew that I needed to make a drastic change. My life wasn’t over yet, and it was time that I stopped acting like it was.

In that moment, I chose to throw away the snooze button. I chose to start saying yes to each opportunity that came my way: a writing career, radio interviews, and new friendships—things that I most likely would have shied away from and said no to in the past, I began to embrace. And it’s been wonderful (for the most part).

Because here’s the thing that we don’t always hear about when we read these uplifting stories from people who have overcome hardship: Waking up can be painful. It can be hard. It is definitely easier to stay asleep and continue sleepwalking through life.

Living consciously is not all roses and chocolate and anything else that we all love. There is a reason why many of us choose to remain asleep. Waking up means that we feel everything—the good and the bad.

Waking up means that we are aware of the many horrific things that are happening in the world, but we’re also aware of all of the beautiful things. Waking up means that we have to take responsibility for our lives and start moving toward our purpose. And all of this can be scary and exhausting. It’s perfectly understandable that we hit the snooze button.

But what I experienced with this wake-up call and this period of grieving is that going through the pain is a necessary part of moving into the joy.

Life is filled with good and bad and everything in between. And it’s only by choosing to wake up that we can really experience it fully.

I received a jolting wake-up call when my first love died. But I had been receiving smaller wake-up calls for years before this. We all have. And most of us choose to hit the snooze button because we aren’t ready to wake up.

The last two years have been some of the hardest moments that I have ever experienced, but they have also been the most beautiful moments.

For the first time in my life, I am wide awake—I feel everything. I am consciously creating my life, and I am truly living. I am no longer okay with postponing my life, and I have thrown away my snooze button.

If you are hearing the wake-up calls now, please don’t ignore them. You don’t have to wait until your wake-up call becomes a full-blown alarm. You don’t have to hit the snooze button any longer.

It’s true that waking up can be painful, but it’s also such a beautiful way to live. And it sure beats sleeping your life away.

31 amazing places to visit in Alaska

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So you have been very much attracted towards the 49th state of US and planning a trip to Alaska?  Or looking for best and amazing places to visit in state Alaska?

Since, is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent with the international boundary with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west. Alaska is the largest state in the US by area, the 4th least populous and the least densely populated of the 50 states of US. There are so many places to go in Alaska, the choices can be overwhelming — after all, there are more than 570,000 square miles of Alaska to see. Here is some list of the most amazing places to visit.

Parks

1) Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
an area larger than Rhode Island and Vermont combined, Wrangell-St.EliasNational Park and Preserve is named for the two mountain ranges that form its backbone. Only two roads penetrate the park, which also contains the largest designated wilderness area—nearly 10 million acres—in the National Park System.

2) KachemakBayState Park
For beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing and solitude, KachemakBayState Park is among the best. The park has few visitors, compared with many of Alaska’s popular state parks, because it can be accessed only by water or air, but it offers options for the serious backcountry adventurer and for the upscale tourist.

3) Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
this is where politicians are always arguing about drilling for oil.

4) Gates of the ArcticNational Park and Preserve
this is the northernmost national park—it’s entirely within the Arctic Circle—and the second largest—it’s about the size of Switzerland.

-Glaciers

5) Childs Glacier
If you want to see a calving glacier, this one, along a road outside Cordova, will oblige about every 15 minutes in the summer. But be careful, the falling ice can send a 10-foot wave across the river and onto the opposite shore. (Check for salmon that have been splashed up into the forest.)

6) Matanuska Glacier
Near the crest of a hill at Mile 100 of the winding Glenn Highway, Matanuska Glacier dominates the landscape north of Palmer. Pull over to look down at the roadside wonder, walk the Edge Nature Trail for a closer look, or pay a small fee at Glacier Park Resort and drive to a terminal moraine where you can walk on the ice.

7) Ruth Glacier
Granite cliffs tower 5,000 feet above aqua-colored ice peeking from beneath snow on this glacier, which drops more than 2,000 feet across 10 miles. Catch a flight above the ice from Talkeetna.

-Cave

8) El CapitanCave
With more than 13,000 feet of passageways, “El Cap” Cave, on Prince of Wales Island, is the largest known cave in Alaska and one of the longest mapped caves in the Americas. Black-bear skeletons found in 1990 in a newly discovered passage were dated at almost 12,300 years old. Free, guided tours are offered by reservation in the summer—without a guide you can go in only about 200 feet to a locked gate.

-Lighthouse

9) Eldred Rock Lighthouse
First lighted June 1, 1906, this is one of the most remote lighthouses in North America and the oldest original lighthouse building in Alaska. The octagonal Eldred Rock Lighthouse was built after several shipwrecks during the 1898 Gold Rush, when Lynn Canal was full of steamships bringing miners to Skagway for their climb over ChilkootPass.

10) HatcherPass
Twisting and turning as it follows the Little Susitna River, Palmer-Fishhook Road is equally dramatic in winter and summer. HatcherPass, north of Palmer, is a popular skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling destination in winter and a great place to hike or pick berries in summer.

11) Cape St. Elias Lighthouse
At the tip of 20-mile-long, one-mile-wide, uninhabited and inhospitable KayakIsland, 62 miles southeast of Cordova, sits a lighthouse built in 1916. The lighthouse and light keeper’s residence are unsafe, but the boathouse has a wood stove, water tank, propane oven, blankets and bunks to accommodate up to 10 visitors. Contact the Cape St. Elias Lightkeepers Association to reserve it.

Islands

12) Kodiak Island
The second largest island in the United States, Kodiak is mountainous and heavily forested on the north and east but fairly treeless on the south. Peppered with small Native communities, the island’s many deep, ice-free bays provide sheltered anchorages, and with just less than 100 miles of roads, the island is ripe for exploring

13) Shuyak Island
Off the north tip of Kodiak Island, this 47,000-acre island is mostly state park land covered by huge Sitka spruce and grassy meadows. You can kayak its craggy coastline, hike its misty forests or cast for salmon in its many streams.

14) Little Diomede Island
You really can see Russia from here.

-River

15) Chilkat River
Ice-free waters and late salmon runs attract the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles each winter to this river as it flows from the Chilkat Glacier through British Columbia and Southeast Alaska to Lynn Canal

16) Kenai River
For about six weeks starting in mid-July, thousands of fishermen migrate to the Kenai to catch a world-famous king, red, silver or pink salmon, trophy-size rainbow or Dolly Varden.

17) Yukon River
From its source in northern British Columbia, the river travels 1,980 miles across the Yukon and Alaska. It’s said that you haven’t really visited Alaska until you’ve dipped a toe in the Yukon.

-Dinning, food and bars

18) Skinny Dick’s Halfway Inn
Halfway between Fairbanks and Nenana is a bar and grill that sells some … interesting T-shirts.

19) The Howling Dog Saloon
This establishment in Fox, just outside of Fairbanks, touts itself as the farthest north rock ’n’ roll bar in the United States.

20) Salty Dawg Saloon
Once a post office, railroad station, grocery store, coal mining office and schoolhouse, it’s now a bar on the Homer Spit, with a lighthouse tower and thousands of hats and dollar bills hanging from the ceiling.

-Resort

21) Alyeska Ski Resort
Ski, spa and enjoy the scenery at Alaska’s luxury ski resort

22) Baranof Warm Springs
One person lives in the tiny town of Baranof Warm Springs, near Sitka, and there are no roads, just a boardwalk. But the town sees many visitors thanks to its nine hot springs with temperatures from lukewarm (hence the name of the town) to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

23) Serpentine Hot Springs
Eskimo shamans gathered here to tap the power of the natural hot springs. Today, it’s the most visited area of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, and where visitors can enjoy a soak amid soaring granite tors.

-Some other interesting places

24) Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel
The town of Whittier is 50 miles from Anchorage, but there is a mountain in the way. No worries, during World War II the Army Corps of Engineers kindly dug a 2.5-mile tunnel through the rock. At first it was only a railroad tunnel, but in July 2000, it was opened to vehicle traffic as well. The longest highway tunnel in North America is only one car width wide, so traffic switches direction every half hour. And it closes at night, so miss the last opening and you’ll be stuck in town until morning.

25) Kennicott and McCarthy
Don’t miss the deserted Kennecott Mine and ghost town of Kennicott. They’re just beyond the town of McCarthy (population 42) at the end of a footbridge—and a 61-mile gravel road.

26) Barrow
Dip your fingers in the Arctic Ocean, see the Midnight Sun, and learn about Inupiat culture in America’s most northern city.

27) Talkeetna
Visit Talkeetna for flight seeing, mountain climbing, fishing, boating and floating, great music, art and food. This is the place the town of Cicely in Northern Exposure was modeled after.

28) Valdez
At the tidewater end of the trans-Alaska pipeline, this is where tankers fill up with North Slope oil bound for the Lower 48 or beyond. Surrounded by towering mountains, Valdez gets the most snow of any sea-level community in North America.

39) Dutch Harbor
Home base for the crab boats on Deadliest Catch, it’s one of the nation’s busiest fishing ports.

30) Metlakatla
The southern-most community of note in the state, Metlakatla is on AnnetteIsland, home to a largely Tsimshian population and the only Indian reservation in the state.

31) Eagle
At the end of the Taylor Highway, Eagle is a checkpoint for the Yukon Quest, one of the coldest inhabitable places in Alaska and an access point for the Yukon River, which stretches 1,980 miles to the Bering Sea.