Pavel Danilyuk

When You Feel Lost In Life, Look To The West

West, for me, isn’t simply a direction anymore, it’s a path of great magnitude. What began as a geographical destination grew into a spiritual obsession deeply embedded in every ounce of my being. It started off as a fixation with the western part of the United States. Born and raised on the East Coast, I felt comfortable but out of place, safe but concerned that safety might act as a detriment. The East acted as a familiar, secure step in the wrong direction, while the West was this mysterious, disparate sanctuary that harbored the heightened way of life I desired. Slightly out of reach yet attainable in every way, the West fathered the extension of my reality and also became my teacher.

The cavernous configuration of the Grand Canyon humbles its viewers, making “small” the common feeling when standing on a cliff’s edge. However, I felt enormous the first time I saw it. It felt more like I was a part of something of considerable significance and connectedness rather than just a small, unremarkable sliver of a vast universe. 

Rocks detaching themselves from seaside cliffs and sliding into the Pacific Ocean remind us that our time here is brief, and to think anything is permanent is an action of sizable offense.

The giant red coastal guardians of northern California oversee all activity, the watchful eyes of the West. The fact that something can start as a seed and grow to heights that appear to be infinite suggests that there are things we cannot fathom and should not attempt to do so. The 380-foot reminders encourage us to see things for what they are, not for what we want them to be. The redwood tree, for me, is an attestation to how much growth there can be in this life, a valuable lesson given to us by Nature’s cathedrals. 

Montana and Wyoming’s varying geography advocates for change. Golden plains rolling for hundreds of miles make us believe they’ll never end, while the snow-capped peaks creep closer towards the sun creating innate contrast for all to enjoy. They tell us that balance is necessary and that two opposites can co-exist in a breath-taking blend.  

The frigid, blue rivers of Oregon flow based on the circumstances surrounding them, but regardless of the circumstances, they’re always flowing. Some days there can be too much water; others, not enough. They’re hinting at the pointlessness of protesting the lows of life—we will all have them, just as the river does. And like the water level, our lows will eventually turn to highs. Record-breaking droughts, class 4 rapids, and 80-foot waterfalls are no reason to worry about your path. Discard every bit of hesitation with extreme urgency and surrender to the river’s pattern. Let the current be your guide. 

The West, which has been and forever will be the thing I look forward to the most, isn’t a physical destination anymore. West is the pinnacle of spirituality, an omniscient sensation that encases my existence, the blueprint for the truth, and an unpredictable force that simply is. I no longer have to travel West to find West—it’s with me everywhere I go.

Hopefully after reading this, you’ll be West of where you were when you started.