Experiencing Aurora Borealis

Last year, the temptation to see Aurora Borealis grew beyond being a number on my bucket list. I could not resist anymore. So I booked my trip to Iceland for two weeks in December. My excitement came crashing down when my friend educated me that seeing Aurora Borealis is not guaranteed. It’s a matter of right weather conditions and location within the country. So off I went to Iceland, with more realistic expectations while hoping to get lucky.

And oh boy, did I get lucky! A whopping seven times! Each time, it was beautiful and stunning. There was no shortage of Ooohs and Aaaahs. But there were two sightings that were most memorable of them all. The first time I saw the Aurora with my photo tour group was at the Glacier Lagoon in Jökulsárlón. Picture this – serene, pure and jaw dropping beauty of the Glacier Lagoon; stunning Aurora Borealis that stretched across the sky with its reflection in the water giving you double vision; Milky Way that lit up the entire sky and made you feel like it was within arms reach; and a distant red glow from the Holuhraun Volcanic eruption. All of these natural wonders captured in one frame! Simply mind blowing.

And to top that off, I heard little bubble blips in the lagoon. They were seals! I could not see them in the darkness. But I could hear them break the starry night silence for a split second. It was a different feeling knowing that you couldn’t see them, but you could hear their movements in such close proximity. It was an unreal feeling.

My other most memorable sighting was THE most memorable of them ALL! And it was nothing short of luck that I got to see it. I had just two more nights left in Iceland. After our hardworking, exhausting and rewarding one-week photo tour, relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, geothermal spa, seemed like the perfect way to end my trip. No camera, no agenda and no time restraints. This was my time to finally indulge in pure relaxation. And indulge I did. I took my sweet time with everything and when done, glided over to the restaurant area.

My spa zen-like euphoria quickly got replaced with a sense of urgency as I laid my eyes on the clock. I had five minutes to run to the bus stop or wait for two hours for the next bus. I was done and the decision was a no brainer. I got my skates on and rushed over. And as I waited to hop on the bus, the Aurora Borealis made an appearance.

OH EMMM GEEEEEEE!!! Of all the previous six sightings I had experienced, this was undoubtedly the strongest (level 5 or above) of them all! The Aurora lit up the entire sky from left to right like a ginormous thick rainbow. The greens and reds were vibrant and clearly visible to the naked eye. Then, the Aurora decided to put on a private show for me as we drove towards Reykjavik. The green rainbow broke into two bands and they danced before my eyes with elegance, grace & spirit in its purest form. No time-lapse needed. And with every movement, it made my soul dance with it. The Aurora was mesmerizing and beyond belief or description!

As I found myself captivated by the green beauty and her grace, I took a moment to reflect. In two weeks, I had experienced artfully sculpted ice caves, black sand beach with stunning pieces of ice shimmering on the beach, glacier lagoon, stunning waterfalls, Icelandic horses and sheep, all kinds of extreme weather conditions, and the Aurora Borealis … all for the first time in my life!

As I reflected on my time in Iceland, and my life journey to date, I was overcome with one thought –

If I died right now, I would die happy and fulfilled.

Not content, but fulfilled.

No baggage; no unfinished business; and no regrets. I have never experienced such overwhelming feelings of true freedom and inner peace. My soul was empty, and that emptiness was fulfilling.

I recognized that it took all of my life’s struggles, pain, tears, joy, appreciation and learning, to finally arrive at this destination. This feeling and awareness was decades in the making. Even I could not have dreamt of such a beautiful and soulful end to my time in Iceland.

I hope that when my time comes, regardless of the circumstances of my death, that I have a few minutes to transcend myself to this particular moment in time, and re-live these feelings. Now that I’m aware of this feeling, it’s the only way I want to die – happy, fulfilled and with a genuine hearty smile.

PS – The Aurora Borealis I witnessed while at the Blue Lagoon was not captured by me on camera. I missed my camera badly. At the same time, I was so glad I didn’t have my camera with me. Sometimes, these moments are best experienced by immersing yourself in entirety and saving them as memories captured by your soul, and not the camera.

It also dawned on me that had I taken just a few more minutes in the Lagoon or shower, I would have stayed inside the building for another two hours enjoying a relaxing dinner and perusing the gift shop. I would have been indoors and oblivious to the dancing Aurora Borealis! Sometimes, impatience is a good thing :)

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