Friday, December 19, 2014

JUST A FEW THOUGHTS TODAY...


I have been following a wonderful blog for almost the better part of a year now written by Rebecca Sweet. Rebecca's blog "Harmony in the Garden" is an incredible place to visit when you are wanting some inspiration, when you feel down and want to be uplifted, or just if you want to see what other people are doing in their gardens that might be new and exciting. Or just plain beautiful.

Today, Rebecca posted a give-away but first she talked about what she has been grateful for this year. Gratefulness is a wonderful practice to follow each day but Rebecca has even more to be thankful for of late because she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. She asked anyone who wanted to be entered in the give-away to post something that they were grateful for or that had made a great impact on them this year. I wrote about how finding her blog has really inspired me and not just because she posts the most incredible photos of gardens (she writes for Sunset magazine) but because of her story and her lust for life. She truly is an inspiration and a reason to never give up no matter what life throws in your way. She makes me happy; she reminds me to live for the moment and to enjoy even the small details for in the small details we will most often find the big moments.

You've heard me talk about friends that I no longer see who were friends for over 40 years. There really is no explanation for the silence (now going on 6 years) but one thing I can say is that it has helped me look at myself more deeply and to be in touch with what makes me tick. "When one is out of touch with oneself, one cannot touch others."  Ann Morrow Lindbergh   Bill and I were talking about moving out of state and one of his concerns is that we would be far away from our children and grandchildren and that "we wouldn't know anyone." My reply to him was "I have met more people in the last three years since we moved from our home of 37 years than I have in the entire time of living there." True...we seem to attract what we need in our lives. I have learned that in these last six years. It is like cleaning house: you get rid of the old clutter around you so that you can make room for new friends and opportunities. If I could ever speak to these women I would thank them for forcing me to look at myself deeply and to allow me to clear myself of their energy so that I could rebuild myself.

Reading a new book titled "Honor Yourself--The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving" by Patricia Spadaro she writes this: "When an ending comes, you may be tempted to greet it with regret, bitterness, or blame. Instead, face it with the certain knowledge that, for some reason, you need to turn off the road you are traveling on and take another route. Don't look back or hang your head as if you did something wrong or are being punished. Expect that your new adventure will, in its own time, reveal its reward and that this change is ultimately for your benefit. Make your new choices based on those truths and you will be honoring who you are and who you are to become." Page 127 My feelings exactly! She goes on to say that perhaps what bothers us most is that we are not in control of how and when those endings come.

My lost friend once said to me that "change is good". I had no idea she was talking about our friendship but thought she was talking to me about the possibility of selling our house and moving. Little did I know how true her statement would come to be. Change IS good. Really good. And reading Rebecca's blog today gave me that boost I needed at this time of the year when I become melancholic. The days are becoming shorter, the skies are grey for days on end, the flowers and trees have gone dormant but Rebecca gave me hope that Spring shall come. Do yourself and favor and check out her blog and her postings. I think you will become an avid reader and see what she sees each day. She doesn't give up. She keeps planning her garden. She has hope. And hope is so important.

"Insist on yourself: never imitate...
Do that which is assigned to you, and you
cannot hope too much or dare too much."

                    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 27, 2014

THANKSGIVING

Last night we went to a service at my spiritual resource center to celebrate Thanksgiving. I was asked to read one of six "prayers", each representing a different faith or belief. I was given the Jewish prayer to read and since I feel that my family's roots go back to Jewish beliefs, I felt honored to read this "prayer". I am sharing because it really spoke to me. Of course, I don't believe in accidents, so this was exactly what I needed to hear.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Rabbi Maralee Gordon

In this moment, mindful of our many blessings,
may we form an intent to carry gratitude with us continually.
May we leave fear and jealousy by the wayside,
making room in our hearts for contentment, satisfaction and compassion.
May we start each day counting our blessings:
the blessing of being alive,
the many miracles of the living world we are one with,
the ability we possess to love and be loved,
the many gifts and talents we have been graced with,
the support we are able to extend.
May our gratitude lead to action:
May we express our gratitude.
May we smile when we encounter each other on the path,
may we seek opportunities to share our talents with others,
may we express our love to one another,
may we give with no expectation of receiving.
May we seek to repair what is broken.
May we end each day counting the day's blessings,
those we have received and those we have bestowed.
May we be a blessing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NOVEMBER

I woke up this morning thinking about the month of November and how it makes me feel.

Sadness was the dominating feeling that came to my mind. There has been so much loss in my life and I suppose that is natural, being 64 years of age. You kind of have to expect that you are not going to get through life unscathed. No one does. It is part of the process we call life...the school of life.

When I try to analyze why I woke up thinking about November and people that I have lost, I realize that it was my discussion with my mother late last night that brought this to the surface. My Aunt Barbara is not expected to live much longer and her birthday is this Thursday, November 6th. But there is more to this that meets the eye. November has deeper sadness that still, to this day, resonates within me. The loss of my father at the young age of seven.

I always feel that I have worked through the loss of my father but it still it tends to bubble up from time to time, making me question myself and if I have resolved the issue of his death still. For so many years I was disoriented because of my loss. I didn't understand the "why" of his death or even "how". But over the years I have worked it out in my mind and realize now that it was a process.

I am currently reading a book called "Finding Yourself in Transition" by Robert Brumet and he defines the ending experience quite well. He says there are four questions that frame our sense of reality. They are:
  • Who am I?
  • What is real?
  • What is my life about?
  • What is my place in the world?

He says there are four stages that we must honor as part of the transition period and they are disengagement, disidentification, disenchantment, and disorientation. "Each of these aspects of the ending experience needs to be honored as an essential element of the transition process. There is no single "right way" to do this. It is important that we be aware of all our responses to an ending and allow ourselves to fully experience each stage of the process. As with any transformational process, we don't make it happen; we can only allow it to happen through us."


In November of 2009 I had just finished treatment for thyroid cancer. That in itself was a great loss having spent a few nights in the hospital with acute renal failure and questioning the four questions that framed my reality: Who was I? What was real? What was my life about? and What was my place in the world? I had no idea at the time that my friend of almost 40 years would decide to never speak to me again either. It has been almost 6 years since we have talked or seen each other. I have had to look at it as though she died in order to make any sense out of it because if I tried to answer the "why" or the "how" this happened I had no answer. The answer is inside of her. And I am not privy to that answer and most likely will never have the answer either. And that same year her mother, a very dear friend to me most of my adult life, passed away on November 18...the day after her anniversary

November 17th is her anniversary to her husband. They met each other through my husband and myself back in the 70's and were married in the late 70's also. They had two children and I suppose have some grandchildren now too. All collateral losses. But again...part of life. 

Robert Brumet says that not only is grief a symptom of being wounded but it "is a part of the very process by which we are healed." "When we allow ourselves to grieve fully our loss rather than avoiding its lesson by seeking another external mirror, we are reclaiming the natural self.." (p.54)


Transition is a process. Just like the seasons and how they change, our lives change in the same way. We have many  moments in our lives to experience change. "Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." (Kahlil Gibran) I suppose if I were really honest with myself, I would know deep within me that great things have come to me through the pain I perceived at the time of my loss. I have gone on to marry, have wonderful children and grandchildren, moved from my home of 37 years (a sense of loss and transition in itself yet somehow wonderful and free), plant new gardens, make new art in a new studio, and on and on. Life is full of changes and it's important how we handle them. Go through the process of loss, of grieving, of learning and moving on.

I suppose what I really want to say is "thank  you"....thank you to my father, to my friend, to my Aunt, to everyone whom I have lost in my life...in the month of November especially. I can now see that there is beauty in the loss and I can also see that Spring shall come. It won't always be November.