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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

NEW YEAR'S EVE

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."
~ Hal Borland~

New Year's Eve is about looking back. A year is ending, and a new one dawns. What have been our victories, and what our defeats? How have we grown; who have we lost, and who have we loved?
     It's time for review and consideration; a time to acknowledge progress, and lessons learned. We close out a cycle and make peace with what has been, so that we can start fresh.
     New Year's Eve is all about remembering, but once we have aptly remembered, it's about letting go. It's closure and release; a tidying-up of loose ends and a sad and beautiful song about auld lang syne.

I thoughtfully consider the passing year in review, and then I let it go.

Monday, December 29, 2014

ALCOHOL-FREE LIVING

"If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim."
~ H. Jackson Brown Jr ~
 
Ten years ago today, I quit drinking, and it was both the hardest and the best decision I ever made. Life without alcohol is cleaner, and clearer, and free from the guilt and shame that used to cripple me. Life is life, so it's never easy, but living sober is the best kind of living I know.
 
I am grateful to be sober.

NO-MAN'S LAND

"The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears."
~ John Vance Cheney ~
 
This is a tricky time of year: the no-man's land between Christmas and New Years. Everything to do with Christmas feels stale and messy, and January first with all of its high hopes and expectations looms before us, urging us to do better with our lives.
     I feel a bit at a loss, like I'm supposed to be relaxing and enjoying my family, but everything feels discombobulated and out-of-sync. It's probably me and not necessarily the time of year. I'm a bit squirrely in my skin, and ready to return to the comfort of my beloved daily routines.
     But still, and as always, there are blessings to accompany my discomfort, and goodness and mercy as well. So I'll take it all, and let life just keep on coming, the way it always does, and welcome it, whatever it may bring.
 
I allow for the discomfort of the holiday season, as well as the joy.

Friday, December 26, 2014

THE DAY AFTER

"Keep your Christmas heart open all the year round."
~ Jessica Archmint ~

As we return to life and commerce, let's allow the best of Christmas to live on in us, and sustain us as we continue down the road. Anything else, let's make the decision to leave behind.

As I carry on with life past Christmas, I let only the love remain.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

CHRISTMAS

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air,"
~ WT Ellis ~

The longer I live, the more I believe that Christmas is a feeling more than an event. It's bright with expectation and softly glowing with the simple reality of what is.
     We give what we can to those who matter in our lives, and we allow others to give to us. Christmas is a coming and a going and a being all at once. It's beautiful, but quick- widespread love and kindness that is over in a flash. So let's slow down, become present for the celebration, and enjoy every moment of the experience while it's still here.

I savor the day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

CHRISTMAS EVE

"Twas the night before Christmas..."
~ Clement Clarke Moore ~
 
No matter whether we're 5 or 65, Christmas Eve has a kind of special hopefulness about it. It is sweet, exciting, and sad all at the same time. We feel our losses magnified as well as our joys, but there is ever and always this tickling hope of what's to come, and the possibility of unexpected love and magic on Earth.
 
I bask in the emotional sea of Coming Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2014

RECEIVING

"Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."
~ GB Stern ~

In some ways, it's much easier to give than to receive, and yet, receiving is an art we must master, especially this time of year. Being gracious and appreciative of whatever we are given is important, because thoughtfulness and generosity of all kinds and in all ways deserves our recognition; and we are less entitled to goodness than we may think.
     So let's receive with sincerity and express out thanks for every kindness that is shown us, whether it be large, or small.

I lovingly receive what's given me, and feel the grace of genuine appreciation.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

GIVING

"It isn't the size of the gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it."
~Eileen Elias Freeman~

There's a world of things beyond the material that we can give: love, forgiveness, compassion and appreciation, to name just a few. And arguably these may be more meaningful than whatever we wrap up and put under the tree.
     And we can give these things all year long, to ourselves as well as others. To give is to feel good. It reaches us beyond ourselves and lifts us to a higher plane.

I give with open arms and from the heart.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

ACCEPTANCE

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."
~Matthew 7:1-5 ~

It's not our job to judge others- only to accept them and enjoy them as they are. I know far less about other people than I think I do, and I give them their dignity by not second-guessing their every move.

I trust others to know their own hearts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

TRAFFIC JAM

"If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it."
~Toni Morrison ~

Unexpected traffic jams are a real momentum buster. So much for our plans and designs. We are stuck in a halting proposition, powerless and choiceless, except for the way we respond emotionally.
     All we can do is ooch along with everyone else for however long it takes, and trust that eventually, it will bust open and we'll be back on track and cruising along happily yet again.

I surrender to blocks in my progress that I cannot predict or control.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

FINISHING

"It is ripeness and color and a time of completion; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance."
~ Emily Bronte ~

It's easy to not complete things, but it's possible. We tend to be good at starting, but finishing, not so much. And yet, the completion of a large and complex project is a grand reward. To be able to say, "I did that," and to intrinsically know each measure of the mix is a beautiful and satisfying thing.

I am proud of completed projects and take satisfaction in a job well done.

Monday, December 15, 2014

UP AND DOWN

"We think of them as opposites but they're really not."
~ Laurence Shames ~

Life is a paradox- simple in some ways, and complex in others: beautiful and tragic: mundane and sublime. And yet, somehow, the co-existence of these opposing elements makes for a perfect equilibrium. Without both sides, our life is like a grounded see-saw. Without the rising and falling, it's a lot less fun.

I appreciate the juxtaposed opposites that exist in my life.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

FULL PLATE

"There must be a tomorrow, because my life overflows today."
~Lois Chartrand ~

I have an overfull plate at the moment. I imagine that many of us do. It's hard to keep grounded and steady and to get enough sleep or down time.
     My plate is full of good things, however- positive forward momentum, self-evolving choices, and the details of Christmas. That it's all here at the same time makes it challenging to appreciate, but I don't want to miss the experience by being too busy to notice.
     So I will proceed, on course, with all of my powers of stamina and sincerity, and trust in survival and satisfaction and success on the far side. My plate won't be this full forever.

I enjoy the bounty of my full life.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

REMAINING CALM

"Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year."
~ WJ Cameron ~

As we approach Christmas, it's always a good reminder to slow down instead of speed up. We tend to approach our shopping, card-writing, and gift wrapping with a kind of urgent frenzy, but we needn't. We miss the pleasure that way, and we miss the whole point. Let's savor the season instead, and all that it entails.

I take my time and enjoy preparing for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FRESH AIR

"In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy."
~William Blake~
 
I love cold air and the smell of wood-smoke. It is the ultimate combination of refreshment and comfort.
 
I appreciate the gifts of December

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

NO MORE FEAR

"Our distrust is very expensive."
~ RW Emerson~

I made a decision the other day not to be afraid. I am tired of worrying about what might happen and fretting over how I should best handle it if it does. I'm done with fear. It's that simple: fear and all its armored horsemen. I choose faith instead, and to trust in all of the things that I cannot foresee, or properly understand in advance.

I trust in the process of life.

Monday, December 8, 2014

"THE HARD WAY"

"I am learning all the time."
~Eartha Kitt~

We learn our lessons "the hard way." That's how we learn. When all is smooth and easy, we coast and enjoy ourselves. But when we are called upon to engage the best of our skill to manage difficult situations and emotions, sometimes our skill doesn't hold up. We feel helpless and unsure and in a fair bit of pain. And that's exactly when we grow.
     To feel better, we have to ask for help, or otherwise change our perspective. We come through difficulties however we come through them; and it may not be graceful, and it may not be pretty, but the mere act of coming though is the lesson we take away.

I accept my challenges and appreciate that they grow me.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

ANGER AND FEAR

"Fear cannot take what you do not give it."
~Christopher Coan~

When I feel angry it's because I'm afraid. That's the bottom line. I may not be exactly in touch with it, but the fear is definitely there. And yet, what I worry about never plays out the way I think it will. Real life hardship generally comes from out of left field.
     So my fear doesn't change whatever might or might not happen and it only makes me angry and upset.

I am willing to let go of my fear and relax into peace.
    

Thursday, December 4, 2014

LETTING GO

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." ~Reinhold Niebuhr~

It's so hard for me to believe that it's ok to be happy when someone I love is suffering. I feel like I should be furrowing my brow in deep concentration and angst- trying to figure things out and fix what I cannot fix. I feel sure that there must be some way to change someone else's circumstances if I just concentrate hard enough and come at it from the right angle. But this makes me old and harried and doesn't change anything. Letting go is what changes things; it's what makes sense and what allows for happiness.

I am willing to stop fretting over circumstances beyond my control.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

HOME SWEET HOME

"The light is what guides you home, the warmth is what keeps you there." ~Ellie Rodriguez~

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is just go home. We have a tendency to want to keep on pushing and driving in the world at large, when what we really need for our recovery is to retreat and recuperate. If we have a good home, then that is where the healing happens, and the hope is born again. It's a freedom-zone, and a place of relaxation and repair.

I appreciate the restorative powers of being at home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

ORGANIZING ACHIEVEMENT

"If you don't know where you're going, you will probably end up somewhere else."
~Lawrence J. Peter~

I love the process of breaking the achievement of goals into manageable steps. It's a kind of organization that pleases me: first-things-first, a prioritized to-do list, and a sensible hierarchy of action to be taken. After that, it simply becomes a matter of following the steps, one by one, in order, until we get there, adjusting if necessary as we go.

I appreciate the process of planning. It simplifies my path.

Monday, December 1, 2014

THE LIMITS OF TEXTING

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger." ~Frank Lloyd Wright~

Texting can be toxic. It's inefficient for communication that matters; ok for checking in, but not for any kind of actual conversation. Halting, abbreviated, truncated words and sentences get our point across, but not with any grace.
     And the worst of it is the invasive and demanding non-stop back and forth, back and forth that eats away hours of our time and leaves us feeling nothing but flat.

I set limits around texting and do not let it overtake my day.