What a week it has been already! I have said that I feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air and one arm tied behind my back. I have been carefully monitoring my reactions to the stress and I think I’m holding up well.
Part of me is thrilled to have so much positive activity after such an enforced lull in life. The trick is to embrace it and deal with it carefully lest it overwhelm. I am grateful for new developments because they allow me to practice peace and mindfulness in the midst of a maelstrom.
I have a thousand things to do today, each more vital than the next. The weather is turning, and I am covered in dirt from work outside. If I allow myself to think of what I must accomplish in the coming weeks, my head might explode. Yet I am filled with an indescribable joy and gratitude.
As a writer, freewriting has always been a good tool for elucidating thoughts, feelings and areas that require attention. Getting things down on paper (or into the ether) is a powerful release. Equally powerful is the chance to articulate the myriad benefits to be found flying around in the maelstrom. Mindfulness in the midst of chaos is essential. If I blink, I might miss something. Pause to worry about one thing and the side of a barn could hit you in the head and send you to Oz.
With this attitude of grateful examination, I’ve found that the larger task of getting myself to Hawaii and still getting my work done here is bigger by far than I’d previously thought.
I love a good challenge! Often challenges like this can take you away from yourself without your knowledge. The hard part is remaining aware of everything, acknowledging it, and reveling in it.
If I could just pack a few suitcases and up and away, that would be great, but it’s a fantasy. Now is the time for putting a magnifying glass onto the details of the transition. If it were solely myself flying over to Hawaii, then the process would be simple enough. But we are never alone in the world, even when we think we are. I am grateful for that. We live in relation to others and their needs are imperative. I must account for the immediate futures of my daughter (no small task), my dogs, my cats, and my farm.
In assisting my daughter in her settlement for at least the next two years, there are complex negotiations. In many ways, I am the middle man. The original idea for her housing, et.al. May have been my idea, and the execution of the move may be 10% my responsibility, but the decision is not all mine. There are many complicating factors. Many players. I can’t control them all. All I can control is my feelings and actions. Here is an opportunity to let go a little bit. To set the plan on the table and allow it to move forth of its own accord and whatever input is necessary from me. There are risks, and it might not work out. I may be stymied at every turn. I have the chance to practice patience and to communicate with some very difficult people in a new way. Old patterns die hard and I do this with extreme effort. Yet every exchange ends with satisfaction that I have done my part well, and I am learning how to better interact with negative forces. Thank goodness for that.
I will likely be accepting significantly less for my farm than I hoped for. News flash: I expected that, but it’s painful nonetheless. This opportunity to practice letting go comes at a good time. Often we are forced to let go in bad situations, where we have no choice. I am grateful that I have the choice. Grateful that I engineered the situation so that I make the choice instead of its’ making me. Better that I give up my beloved farm on my own terms and at the right time for me than to be chased from it as so many others are being booted out of their homes. What makes it easier is that the letting go comes just as I am opening my arms to something bigger, better.
Not physically bigger. A small condominium in Keauhou is, well, small. Many accommodations will have to be made to learn to live there, for Ruby, the cats, and me. Bigger in the sense that I am moving toward something I wanted, and made it happen. The “world” will be bigger for me in Hawaii, with greater possibilities for emotional and intellectual development. As I open my arms to shift away a large part of my life, I can scoop up a smaller one, which holds an unknown but hopeful future. I can feel the expansion on the horizon. I am filled to the brim with gratitude to Linda. She has given me the world with the word, “yes.”
I try to remain focused on the present time and location. When it’s crazy busy like this, and I am often in pain, it’s easy to miss the tiny miracles and to fail to acknowledge progress.
A few of the tiny miracles:
I am not fearful of people whom I might have been afraid of just a few years ago. Their power to frighten me and to determine what I do with my life has vanished, by force of my own will.
My daughter is infinitely wise and reasonable. She’s even getting easier to live with!
I have good friends. There is no way to express how important this is. Not only are they good friends, but they’re friends willing to help. I have lacked really good friends for so long in my life.
I feel the rightness of this decision more deeply every day.
I feel the loss in inherent in the decision to leave Virginia, but with a sweet and tender affection and the knowledge that I will return home someday. This feeling of loss is tempered with excitement for the future.
Around me, every day, in fact, every hour, spring asserts herself. We’ve had more than a few days of Mother Nature’s little inside jokes, where the temperature is above 80 degrees, and things are sprouting and changing color and energy is amassing in the most powerful ways. It is palpable, This gives me strength. I am well aware that the temperatures will again plummet, but you can’t stop progress. Those crocus are up. Those buds forming on the trees are there to be admired and the change in the air, no matter the temperature, buoys my spirit.
I can handle this. I can handle all the balls tossed in the air, all the variables thrown into the equation, because I am strong, and I know what I want and I need. I know what my family needs. I know what my pets need. And I can accomplish it. I am grateful for that. My eyes are open.
Here are a few things I have seen today:
For more Thankful Thursday posts, visit Simrat at Akal Ranch, who also has a list of other Thankful Thursday bloggers to check out.
I found this wonderful concept at Akal Ranch by Simrat Khalsa. It’s well worth your time to visit her blog. Stunning photography, interesting horse talk, and more.
This has been a tough day. It’s been hard to maintain any kind of distance from feelings of hopelessness and anxiety over family issues. The Thankful Thursday concept is just what I needed to force a step back to get some perspective. Thank you, Simrat.
Here’s what I’m thankful for, this minute (in no particular order):
1. My beautiful, warm home. Everywhere I look, beauty, warmth and inviting animals who love me.
2. Friends. A few really amazing people who are kind enough to share portions of their lives with me.
3. My new boss, who has yanked the lid off my consciousness and expanded my horizons in such a way that could run at full-tilt for miles in any direction and still find ideas to excite and explore.
4. My daughter. From the moment of conception to this day, at the miraculous age of 20.
5. Horses. Just because they exist. I have learned more from them than from any other species about what it is to try to be a good person.
On gratitude: The Buddhist take on gratitude is that we are grateful even for things that cause us pain. That’s where it differs from other major religions and philosophies, I think. When confronted with a problematic situation, or a person or horse who pushes all our buttons, we have the opportunity to use the experience to practice acceptance and to step back and watch those buttons being pushed with dispassionate observation. What’s our first knee-jerk reaction? Knowing ourselves and our primal reactions is helpful. Then we can go about changing them if they are harmful to our equanimity or to others. To embrace both our automatic responses to difficulty and the learning process with gratitude, to say, “I am grateful for the opportunity to see these phenomena for what they are” is a fundamental practice of mindfulness. Rather than pushing away things that feel bad, we embrace them as learning tools. Thanks, life, for allowing me to learn how to be a better person!
It doesn’t always work, of course. If you’re a type A like me, it doesn’t work nearly often enough. But the knowledge that it can work if you allow is sometimes enough. With awareness and practice, I can let it happen. I am grateful for that, too.
Take a few minutes today to create your own Thankful Thursday.
Sit back and consider what you have to be thankful for. Listing three to five things is nice, but one will do. If you’re having a bad day as I am, it may take a few minutes to be completely in balance with what you are grateful for. Take the time. It’s worth it.
Post about gratitude on your blog.
Then link back here or leave a comment.
Feel free to tag other bloggers, if you like to do that, but it’s not necessary. This is not a meme that obligates you to do anything, but look for gratitude. Oh, and link back, and comment, that’s all I ask.
If you don’t have your own blog, go ahead and write about what you are thankful for in the comments. I look forward to reading them.