Saturday, January 23, 2021

Trust isn't a bad word

Several years ago, my friend Cathy told me about a ritual she performs at the beginning of every new year. She picks a word for that year, a theme to carry her through, a platform that she wants to structure her life around. I had started doing that a couple of years ago but soon after January had been here for a while, I would inevitably forget about my lofty goal.

Not this year.

If last year has taught me anything, it's that I need to not take anything for granted and that includes following through on goals and plans.

So, this year I have chosen my word.

And my word is Trust.

I was originally going to choose Serenity but after thinking about it, that felt too passive. I needed something I could sink my teeth into. Something more basic. And for me, that is trust. If I had to sum up the one thing missing in my life right now, that's it.  And maybe for half of my life as well.

Living with an abusive mother taught me I couldn't trust the world to protect me. Certainly not the one person who was supposed to be in my corner above all else. Then moving on to an abusive husband confirmed that belief. If I was going to survive, I had to do it on my own. Trust no one. Trust no thing.

Then John came along and I dared to let my guard down one more time and it was so worth it. No matter what I said or did, he was there. He cheered on my successes. He held me when I cried over failures and loss. We made a safe beautiful loving life together. I finally found trust.

And then it was gone.

Now I have to trust in myself again. But I am learning that I am not alone. I don't have to trust just me. John's favorite saying is "Things are happening the way they are supposed to." There is a rhythm to the Universe, to Source, to God. When I let go and let God, things have a way of working out.

I often refer to my Guides and Angels (a group that John is now a part of) as The Team. I am teaching myself to turn to them at those times when I don't know the answers, when I can't figure things out, when I need for things to work out but it's out of my hands. And time and time again, they have come through. I am reminded of what Christ said: "Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!" Luke 12:24

I think it's time to trust again. This year I am going to let go of my favorite pastime - worry. I'm going to live the life in front of me and not worry about the life down the road. There is a peace to be had when I do that. The lines in my forehead soften. They won't disappear entirely. They have lived there too long. But I can make a start. I can begin every day to start to trust.

I have less life in front of me than I have behind me. What I want more than anything else is to live that life in peace and harmony. Trust is where I begin.

What is your word for this new year?


Friday, January 22, 2021

In search of the Promised Land

"Sometimes you have to go through the wilderness before you get to the Promised Land."

John Blytheway

Our country, our world, our species has been through the wilderness these past few years. Now, we see the Promised Land on the horizon and we welcome it.

I feel I have been through my own personal wilderness. Losing John has been devastating for me. That was followed by losing family members and friends and cherished pets. Our nation's politics has taken a toll. And then, this past year, the pandemic and its forced isolation has been so very hard. 

But better days are coming. I feel it.

My personal wilderness has forged my soul anew. While isolated, I have accomplished a few things. Some important. Some not so much. 

In no particular order:

I gave up caffeine. 

I grew out my hair color - I think I like the silver. I also have not had a haircut in almost a year. I thought I would like the new length. Answer: I don't. It will get cut short again as soon as I feel it is safe.

I took a few online courses.

I wrote a book. More on that as it nears publication.

I am developing an online course in metaphysics/spirituality based on my experiences and what I have learned. More on that too in coming months.

I have learned about myself. Some of it was not pretty. In the early months of this pandemic I was in constant panic mode and it took turning to outside help to regain my equilibrium. I admit I was taken aback by how much I was affected. Old traumas and losses became new and I was brought to a strange and frightening wilderness I was not expecting. 

But I feel that is behind me now and I look forward to this year with an energy that brings me both joy and peace. I have rediscovered a book I had found many years ago - Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I have had this book for so long that the pages are brown but I have never read it cover to cover. This year I plan to do that. Ms. Ban Breathnach speaks to that part of my soul that longs for comfort. And simplicity. And the joy of everyday life. Looking to the future. Cherishing today. Making a contribution to the world. 

My own Promised Land will be taking photographs of the beauty around me. Writing words that hopefully inspire others and give them pleasure. Being with friends I have not seen in many months, sharing a glass of wine while watching the sunset. 

Living again.

What will you do in your Promised Land?


Monday, January 11, 2021

A beautiful Christmas present

The holiday season has been very hard and very sad for me ever since John passed. But this year was especially difficult for me. I think it was because of the pandemic causing so much isolation. In other years, I would have been meeting with friends, exchanging gifts, going to holiday musical presentations, etc. This year there was none of that and the forced isolation made an already sad situation worse.

But I tried to make the best of it. I still put up my Christmas tree. Telephone calls and Zoom visits helped. And of course there was the ever present Facebook.

People have criticized Facebook over the years for one reason or another but, if nothing else, it has fostered a feeling of closeness and connection like no other platform. And I am grateful that it has brought me closer to my cousin Diane. Diane is the daughter of my father's brother. She has two older brothers that I grew up with. But Diane is the youngest and there is a big age difference between us. By the time she was only a few years old, I was already off to nursing school and out on my own. Our relationship never grew. 

Until a few years ago when we reconnected. I am happy to say we have become friends since then and keep in touch, often through Facebook. And this Christmas she gave me a gift like no other.

A few weeks before Christmas Diane told me to watch for something in the mail. I assumed it was a Christmas card. She informed me it wasn't. It was something small but not a card. The mail was especially slow this year (as it often is around this time of year). Nothing arrived before Christmas. Diane kept checking and my answer was always "Nothing today."

Then, on New Year's Eve, a puffy envelope arrived. Sure enough, when I opened it, a card fell out saying "Merry Christmas!" from Diane. I pulled out a beautiful Christmas ball that she had apparently had made just for me.  On the front was a tree with a cardinal and the words "I Am Always With You". That immediately touched me because of the similarity to the title of my book about John and also the cardinal is a symbol of connection to a loved one in the afterlife.

But John and Diane weren't done yet. I turned the ball over. What was written on the back stopped me in my tracks. I expected to see Diane's name but I started to cry as soon as I saw what was written there. John had used Diane to get a message to me. I was feeling sad and alone and missing John like crazy but he was telling me that I wasn't alone. 

That our love goes on. 

That he is still here with me. 

Thank you, John.

And thank you, Diane. 

You have no idea what this means to me. What a loving thoughtful thing to do. This gift hangs in my office right next to my computer so I can look at it all the time. It's too precious to put away with the Christmas decorations. It's a reminder to me from John and Diane. I am loved. I am not alone.