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Posts Tagged ‘Ellis Island’

If I had to measure my life of late, I would hardly say it registers on any scale of magnitude. To be honest, it has become quite stale and safe. Even I think it is boring. As a friend recently commented, I have become “a prisoner of my own mind” trapped in a routine of living and limiting beliefs that promises little in the way of an exciting future.

 

With this state of mind as a backdrop, I recently had the pleasure of being a tourist in my own backyard. I took a ferry across New York harbor, passed under the welcoming glow of Lady Liberty’s golden torch, and made my way to Ellis Island. From 1892 to 1954, 12 million immigrants passed through the halls of Ellis Island with little more than hope and a dream filling their pockets. Many of them confronted great amounts of fear, disease and uncertainty on their harrowing journeys from their homeland. At the end of their journey, they traversed an understated, but wonderfully significant area of Ellis Island that came to be known as the Stairs of Separation.

 

These worn black stairs are where most immigrants took their last steps as their “old self” before they left behind all they knew and stepped into the New World. To the left, and they were off to the thriving metropolis of New York City, with its skyscrapers reaching as high as their hopes. To the right, and they were off to the Wild West to chase a dream they carried with them across the seas. Down the center, and they sadly were detained or returned to the land from which they came. Thankfully, most did not travel the center stairs.

 

As I stood at the top of these stairs, staring out a window that perfectly framed the green Statue of Liberty, I thought about my grandparents, and so many others, who tearfully walked each step, with only an uncertain future and a belief in themselves pulling them forward.

 

Their courage is astonishing.

 

After some moments of reflection, I chose the right steps. My spirit headed west, yearning to be awakened from its slumber to once again feel alive and experience adventure.

 

Like the immigrants, I do not know what awaits me in my new world, but the uncertain future pulls me forward nonetheless.

 

Wherever you are in your journey, know that adventure still awaits you. The prison bars that surround us are most often imagined . . . yet they feel so real. But the same imagination that keeps us trapped can create the greatest prison break in history, freeing us to live that dream we so deeply desire.

 

What is it that I really want to do with the one wild, precious thing called my life? Don’t go back to sleep. The fires are always kindled. Don’t go back to sleep.

– Anais Nin

 

What journey or risk will you take this fall? Will you have the same courage the immigrants possessed to walk the Stairs of Separation and begin your journey, or will you live a safe life, never leaving the shores of the comfortable place you call home?

 

Here’s a little inspiration for you when you are standing at the doorway of adventure, uncertain as to whether or not to walk through. I say take that first step, and see what you find, for the journey awaiting you, unfolds one step at a time.
 
 

Photo Credit: Ed Karjala, http://www.edkarjala.com

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