Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31 .... Ending like I began...

Good evening. Well here I am.. having posted 255 days out of 365 days. While I'm short what - 110 days.. I still feel pretty pleased with how I did.

I want to begin by saying I am ending the year the way I began... grateful. I have had one of the best "Christmas Seasons" ever. Family came together, we ate, we gifted, we spent time together .. I'm still reveling in it all. I spent time with both grandsons, all three kids, and Honey - and all of it was wonderful.

In my last blog I talked about my "Christmas Cloud" I was on. How I had this full throttle fantasy going on about how wonderful and gingerbready my holiday was going to be - and then all these calls came in - money problem here, relationship problem there, ... and things felt for a moment like they were crumbling. Something snapped for me then - this was my family. My family with all it's warts and farts and what not, like a page out of a Carol Shields book, Larry's Party to be precise. I come away from this year feeling a deep appreciation, love and respect for each of my kids, for my whole family, for all of our struggles.

I am grateful for the time I still have with my father. What a difficult and complicated relationship that used to be. Now, in my father's autumn years, I see how he is affected by my presence, by what ever time I give to him. I will endeavor to do more, I promise. I am grateful for whatever capacity he still has left to enjoy what he can - and when he does, like he did on his birthday, singing and dancing with me - it makes me feel like a good human being, a good daughter - and I find myself grateful for his company and my capacity to forgive and to love.

I'm grateful I have become the mother that I am. I watch my daughters struggle - making choices I think I made myself - that if I could turn back time and make them over again, I wouldn't. But they have their journey to make, their stories to write .. and I admire them in their struggles and want them to know I am here. I watch my son work hard at becoming a good man. Life is not easy, it hasn't been altogether kind to my children - but as each of us grows, and informs the others of that exact possibility - so we grow as a family, so we heal.

I am grateful for my work this year. I am grateful for my work regardless - but this year I reached a milestone of sorts that I am very proud of. I have worked hard at building my practice, reaching out, making connections, and putting the deep need to be present with every one of my clients at the forefront of my work. I must be doing something right! And again - my sincere gratitude for the privilege each and every one of my clients affords me in allowing me to accompany them on their journeys. It really is an honour.

Honey and I have gone through what I would call a tough year. Yet here we are, tonight especially, having spent an awesome week in Canmore together, with my daughter and grandson, but also more importantly with each other. We have worked hard on our stuff - particularly in the last few months - and the work has paid off. I am eternally grateful for our stability, our sense of connection, our commitment to each other. And I say to you young daughter - the nice, quiet, Jewish musician guy isn't such a bad catch.

The practice of acknowledging gratitude has also left me feeling well, grateful. The practice has made me more aware, more attentive, more present. I notice the colour of the sky, the smell of the flowers, the breeze on my face, the sunrise and sunset, the snow falling, the stars shining, raindrops that have collected on a bush making it look like diamonds tinkling, the wildlife I have been entitled enough to meet with, Ireland - all of Ireland, music, silence, space. I have learned to appreciate, been present for, and am grateful for all of it.

So as the hour draws near, I want to wish all of you - whoever you are that has read this blog over the year - a most hearty and healthy of New Years. Find the space in you that can appreciate and feel grateful ... it is a gift unto yourself like no other. Peace be with you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22.... Lot's of stuff... catching up...

Here I am finally on Blogger. While I accept and own my laziness about not keeping up with the Blog.. I have to tell you, and ask anyone reading, what is up with getting on Blogger and it bringing my router down? I heard from one person who said she has tried quite a number of times to get on - it always shuts her computer down - so she gave up. If anyone understands this please leave a note to explain. I consider my being able to be on here at the moment a total fluke.

So gratitude. Well.. I want to say first off I am so glad and grateful for having started this process. Truth be told you don't need to write to be grateful. I have had the opportunity to experience much gratitude in the realm of friendship. My women friends are coming through for me loud and clear. The depth and breadth of the relationships continues to grow and that gives me such pleasure. I hosted a 50th birthday party at the beginning of December for Y. I love her. She accepts me totally for who I am. You know those emails that go around saying a best friend is someone who loves you when you cry, scream, smile, fart - whatever... well that's Y. She turned 50 first. Phew for me. She seems ok. She is beautiful.

I had dinner with I & J last week. Our annual trek out - although we missed last year. We pick up where we left off. It's that easy. J and I catch up about our kids, grandkids and respective husbands. I regales us with her travelling adventures. The three of us compare aches and pains - that was really funny this time. Thankfully, despite a crappy menopause on my part, J's frightful dance with arthritis, and I's stomach issues, we're all reasonably healthy and happy. That's a lot to be grateful for.

Another thing that has kept showing up for me... is the change in colour as the season changes. I am assuming that the practice of keeping an eye open for things to be grateful for has made the world appear to me in a different way. This practice has kept me noticing. The blue of the late afternoon sky I tell you is different in the winter. The morning pink too. It makes me want to paint.

I can't write about gratitude without mentioning the hard work Honey and I have done in the realm of the couple. We have undertaken a painful process to heal what was amiss in our relationship - and you know what? It works. We are connected, loving, talking, invested, and continue to grow. Yay us.

Gratitude has also sweetened my relationships with my kids, my family. We are having Christmas together for the first time in - well I don't know when the last time was that I celebrated Christmas on the 24th with middle daughter. This year, she will be here with grandson number one, Jakob, my dad will be here, and Honey and myself. On the 25th my son and his girlfriend will be joining us. On the 26th Honey and I are leaving to Canmore to spend 5 days with young daughter and grandson number 2, Levi. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to tell you the truth. Three days ago I was totally floating away on a cloud of Christmas bliss. I spent too much I'm sure - but I felt it fine because I can do this. I wanted to do this. There are gifts, a bird, a tree... Middle daughter called two days ago, having a pre-Christmas melt down. Then her brother called and said he was having difficulties. Not to be left out, young daughter called and said Boo.. things suck here too. Well... I think there was a time I would have reacted to all this by flipping out myself and then shutting down and letting go and giving up ... but that didn't happen this time. I decided Christmas would be what it would be. My family is not perfect but I can accept it with its quirks and all .. and a peace came to me. I found myself grateful despite the drama. And you know what... it all abated. Today, everyone called again, is reasonably ok, excited about the holiday. Everyone is being real.. including me. Everyone is still talking and ok. Call me crazy.... but I'm extremely grateful. I'm full of emotion and joy and peace even though I know things aren't perfect nor will they ever be. They are as they are and that's ok.

Honey and I are cultivating a new friendship with a colleague of mine and her husband. I find myself skittish from time to time, afraid to commit, still feeling a bit raw from the last "failed" friendship which I still don't understand and I guess still haven't got closure on. Regardless, I press on. I insist on taking risks and trying to make contact with new people and creating meaningful relationships. I feel blessed that this new couple is in our lives. It takes a lot of courage to keep marching, keep reaching out, keep connecting. I'm proud of myself and grateful at my capacity to be this way.

I spent a chunk of time with my dad today. I am as always thankful and grateful to the folks who take care of him. Bless you Ginette, Maria, and all the rest of you wonderful people who make sure he is safe and sound. I don't know where he, or I, would be without you.

That's it for now peeps. If anyone ever asks... cultivating gratitude is a good and wonderful thing. Even if you don't happen to write about it every day.