Bhutan: Thomas Rossiter
This scene is high in the Himalayan mountains of Bhutan, a small Buddhist country between China and India. The mountains pictured here are the foothills at about 20,000 feet to the sacred mountain of Jomolhari, which reaches 27,500 feet. We are standing at about 13,500 feet. It is a three-day hike to arrive at this place. Breathe in, and feel the presence of the clouds below and above, the stream running, the horse wandering for grass and an ancient tradition of building stupas and prayer walls to honor Buddha.
Denali, Alaska: Sober Celebrations
Sometimes I have doubts. I have been blessed with many talents, but my favorites are artistic. Never once have I asked God to make me a travel agent. When I wonder if I am doing what I am supposed to be doing, I will get a spiritual telegram. I specialize in sober vacations and took a group of 65 adventurers to Alaska. While flightseeing on a small plane in Denali where air traffic control is only a few licensed pilots chatting on walkie-talkies, I looked out the small window, and God threw me a kiss in the snow with this heart-shaped avalanche. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that all was well in His world and mine and that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing what He wanted me to do. What started as a hobby 10 years ago has become part of a life beyond my wildest dreams. I will go to Venice, Greece and Africa this summer. I got sober as a young girl and thought my life was over. I didn't know it truly had just begun!
Ballard Lake, Wis.: Libby Scott
I took this image at a very odd time in our country and entitled it Uncertain Times. Two friends had passed away, banks were closing and both the real estate and stock markets were crashing. It was as if the stars were out of alignment, and nothing seemed to be going right. People seemed to be acting upon fear, and I could only see doom on the horizon. Now, I see the image differently. Things in the world are still uncertain, but I know they are full of hope, too. You can live your life in fear and limit yourself or choose hope and see where life takes you.
Encinitas, Calif.: Dylan B
Some say you can’t turn a corner in Encinitas, Calif., without running into a yoga studio. That might be due to the presence of Paramahansa Yogananda, who relocated to the coastal paradise from India in 1937 and wrote Autobiography of a Yogi from a towering house atop a seaside cliff. Today, that house is surrounded by a sprawling, flowery, blissful meditation garden that's open to the public every Tuesday through Saturday. With a panoramic view of the soothing California coast and a tangible aura of tranquility, this is truly a Safe Haven.
Land O' Lakes, Wis.: Libby Scott
“Flowers for Algernon” was taken deep in the heart of the Northwoods near Land O’ Lakes, Wis. The picture hangs on the wall of my home in San Diego. It is a constant reminder of how much I love the Northwoods and how I can't wait to return. It makes me wonder what's around the next bend, too …
Queenstown, New Zealand: Victoria C
The grandeur and peace exuded by these well-loved mountains (The Remarkables, located near Queenstown, New Zealand) gave me a wonderful take-a-deep-breath feeling after a long plane ride. Despite the adventure tourists’ lament of not enough snow several weeks into the ski season, for me it was enough that the dusting of white powder on their peaks both captured and reflected the setting sun’s pink hue perfectly. To a sober traveler, sometimes the moment in which nature reminds me to slow down is more precious than any other.
Oasis Renewal Center in Little Rock, Ark.: Kimberly G.
For years, the Oasis Renewal Center in Little Rock, Ark., has served as a place of serenity and spiritual renewal, never more so than at sunset in this recent spring photo. Oasis Renewal Center is a 24-bed residential treatment facility that caters to executives and impaired professionals.
Aurora Canyon, Starved Rock State Park, Deer Park Township, Ill.
North central Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park is known as a geological wonder with its canyons and bluffs carved out of sandstone. Springtime in the park is a mixture of tranquility and a bustle of growth and movement—budding green leaves rustle in the wind, flocks of songbirds chirp and waterfalls filter into canyons. It’s the perfect place to sit and reflect.
Wickford, Rhode Island
The sea is part of my heritage and my home, a place I continually return for peace and reflection. This cove in Wickford, R.I., a scene ever shifting with the coming and going of fishing vessels, seems forever unchanged each time I return, providing perspective on my eternal yet ever-changing life. In joy and in loss I have turned to this harbor for inspiration and solace. It has provided the setting for childhood adventures, romantic dreams and angst-filled yearning. But on this quiet, rainy afternoon during a recent vacation, it provided exactly what I needed: Grounding and peace among the rain-dappled lapping of water against wood.
Seacliff, California, by Heidi Heath Garwood
When I have my camera in my hands and I’m shooting the exquisite teal morning waves crashing, I cannot get enough. It is like eating M&M’s and drinking ice-cold water. I want the feeling to last forever—that goodness and buzz to last. Like the high I sought from alcohol, which I continued to chase and never fully felt again after the first years of drinking, but continued to seek in the bottle. That feeling like I could conquer the world was momentary and temporary, ever-decreasing with every drink I took. The more I sought it in alcohol, the further away it went. Not until I asked God to help me, did He take away the obsession to drink. He lifted it. God gave me a second chance at life and I was reborn. The old me died, and now the new me can get to the high I sought and beyond. When I look at the richness of color in the teal wave as a new day dawns, all I can do is rejoice as I stare into the face of God.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve: Alexandra C.
Often called the crown jewel of the state park system, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve on the Central Coast of California is a surreal scene of sea, wildlife and serenity. I’ve been back a number of times, and each visit reminds me that I am part of something larger, something perfect.
I am never so authentically serene as when I am at our summer cabin, set on a small island in northern Wisconsin. Here, time doesn’t push by; it brushes against us gently like the lake breeze. Here, we live in the moment and are reminded of the depth of our gratitude.