Off the Map

There is a beautifully expressive independent film from 2003 called Off the Map with Joan Allen, Sam Elliott, and Valentina de Angelis, a talented young girl. The parents and the girl, their only child, moved off the grid into the back country of New Mexico.

The girl reminded me of me as a child living in the country. As a youngest only child, I was often playing alone and letting my imagination guide the way as I wandered about our pasture with my dogs, cats and horses.

In the movie, the girl’s character created big dreams even though she didn’t have TV or other modern conveniences. She was best friends with her hopes and dreams, creating a ship with her at the helm in the middle of their desert land.  Her world was opened when a tax guy sans artist wandered by to audit them. After realizing that they encompassed freedom and a life of simplicity, he stayed with them and created a painted an ocean masterpiece on every wall in the bedroom, finding his true purpose in the world, left unexpressed his whole life.

Sometimes we have to step out of real life to really understand what life is all about. Our life is not about what and who we see around us or what we see in the media or on the internet. It is the world inside of us that is our north star that lays out our journey ahead, despite what happened in the past.   We all have experiences to learn from and gifts to share. But when we search outside of ourselves for happiness, our gifts get shoved behind the Christmas tree to only be found when the tree comes down. Why do we push our gifts aside when we can share them when people are ready to receive?

If we allow ourselves to retreat away from everyday life, whether it be a park, forest, or trip, we can clear the clutter to sense who we really are and our purpose despite what’s happened to us. Being alone can be scary at first but only because we have spent time getting to know everyone else but ourselves. Take time to take yourself out on a date of your choosing and treat yourself gently and kindly. You do deserve to get to know yourself. And others will be blessed by your gifts as they rise up to the surface to share.

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