Grateful, 2014 Edition

IMG_6226

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

And I mean ev-er-y-onnnne!!

I have arrived at the place in my life where it is reflexive for me to be grateful for the people who love me unconditionally, and I can access the words to tell them, and the actions to show them how much I appreciate their presence in my life. It takes years of practice to get to this place, because deepened gratitude requires constant reflection and action, and a lot of times examining your thoughts and actions feels shitty because you realize you didn’t do your best. You also realize that you can’t and won’t be in sync with everyone you care about all the time, but that is the space you fill with your gratitude.

I have also learned to be grateful for the antagonists in my life, from people with whom I don’t agree on Facebook, all the way to the plainly hostile. These are the folks who teach me the most about my character. How I react to their provocations is under my total control, perhaps the only real control any of us have at anything. So for those lessons, I am grateful.

As years go, it has been a good year. My second of two beloved dogs died, I failed myself and a deeply respected partner at work, I didn’t save any money, and I had hip surgery. None of these things broke me and I was well supported and doted upon through each. They still visit me in quiet times as shards of torment and frustration, scraping away at my confidence, leaving me raw and confused. But another thing happened this year.

I fell in love.

And someone fell in love with me.

The great power of love is still far beyond my understanding to put into actual words, and I strongly resist trying for fear of sounding like a bad greeting card. But I am in love and feel loved, and am intensely committed to showing him how grateful I am for his presence in my life today, and every day always.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. May your time with family and friends be warm and tender, just like your turkey.

Gratitude, You Old So And So

IMG_5413

I’ve just been struck by a moment of clarity and in the hopes of not letting it get too far way from me,  a few thoughts on gratitude before I subject my IT band to the foam roller.

Many friends on Facebook are participating in their own versions of a  30 Days of Gratitude Project, which seems mostly inspired by everyone’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. (Because, it is the BEST holiday, do not argue, it’s science. Also, my green chile cornbread stuffing will make your heart skip a beat.) From cappuccinos to courage, I am enjoying their daily posts of simple and complex expressions of gratitude, the quotes, a personal triumph,  a scene of quiet or outrageous beauty captured in a photo.

This is also the time of the year when reflection is in style and I am on trend. I’m looking back over the year, giving it some structure, finding the themes, connecting the struggles and the wins, deciding what to keep working on, what to let go of moving forward, all in service of being both softer AND stronger. 2013 has not been my favorite year, but it has not been my worst, so very far from it in fact.

The difference? C’mon, you know what I am going to say.

Gratitude.

It struck me tonight as I am busy with work and injury recovery, finally achieving some goals that have taken longer than I thought, that so many people have said Yes to me this year, even when I got roughed up for so many months by a gang of strong-armed No’s.

Right off the top of my head, here are a handful, ones that made the difference between insecurity and confidence, loneliness and love, giggles and a full-out jag.

Yes, I will get you that phone number.

Yes, I will take care of your dog.

Yes, I will give you a micro-loan.

Yes, I will make that introduction.

Yes, I will be tender when you’re anxious.

Yes, I will share your post.

Yes, I will take you to dinner.

Yes, I will give you the discount.

Yes, I will sign the contract.

Yes, I will come over for a slumber party.

Yes, I will stay on the phone with you laughing for an hour.

Yes, I will forgive you.

YES.

Oh friends and family, thank you for taking such good care of me, this year and all years, and may I do the same for you when you need me.  Here’s to more gratitude, more Yes’s, and a belly full of green chile cornbread stuffing.