This phase, the phase of getting older and the real life “stuff” will continue to bring about difficult decisions and challenges. As I watch both my parents battle with cancer, I put on my oxygen mask first and love on them even harder and more deliberately. And I as love on them, I love on me and do as I am told by mom, “live your life and do what makes you happy.” Tapping into my mindfulness practice I make an effort to be present, to listen and live in the moment that is before me. Turn on my internal tape recorder, so I’ll remember these moments. Phones down and ears wide open. This is my new perspective.
Being mindful and showing compassion: Life for me is about living in the moment, adjusting to and accepting change, managing attachment, letting go, moving on, new beginnings, loving deliberately, being compassionate to others and self, sipping tea from teacups that used to be only for special occasions, laughing more and complaining less. I remind myself to pull out earrings saved for special occasions and flaunt them while going to Trade Joe’s to pick up some kale. Special dinnerware, what the hell is that?! Use those bad-boys for Taco Tuesdays, let them enjoy some Mexican delights. Spend time with those who make me laugh and genuinely want to hear about my life. It’s about investing in reciprocal friendships, the ones where there is a reciprocity in love, sharing and refilling of love banks. It’s about compassion for others, but also for self! You can’t give compassion to others if you don’t know how to practice self-compassion.
Preparing for change: I have about seven months before I have to move out of the only place that has truly felt like home. My happy place, my sanctuary. Since my condo sold that means I have to accept the change that is before me. Anxiety stays close by as I am constantly questioned by friends and family about my next move. My home silently witnessed all the goings on in my life from laughter, pain, beginnings, endings, love, loss, and loads of friendly gatherings of all sorts. As I was purging/tidying, flashes of people and experiences were dancing in my head; those people who I can now see, embrace and speak to only in my dreams and those that are still here loving on me dearly, I hold tight to the memories. The KonMari Method/detox and tidying process unintentionally preparing me for change and forcing me to departmentalize every aspect of my life.
Self-Improvement and Gratitude: The year 2018 was about acceptance and preparation for more change. It was a year of reflection, self-improvement, investment in important relationships (family and friends) and self care. I studied and took classes on mindfulness, compassion, Ayurveda and QuiGong. With each international adventure I brought along my travel yoga mat/blankie and workout clothes; making every effort to maintain inner peace and stability along the way. Friends listened and let me cry with no judgement as I shared the goings on in my life. Thank y’all. Others made me laugh until tears caressed my cheeks and my belly ached. Thanks for the laughter that healed my soul. All the while others accompanied me to dance floors and through gym doors as workout buddies. I am so grateful for all of you!
I entered the beginning of the year with a broken heart and deeply rooted feelings of self-doubt. Thus, going into solitude and taking on the new year to work on Kenya. Consequently, because I put in the work to heal, recharge, and reconnect I left 2018 tearful but more self-aware, less broken and embracing change. With the ebbs and flows of life, I’ll never be 100%, but I have all the spiritual equipment I need. 2018 brought me many blessings; giving thanks for:
- God giving me more time with my parents
- More time spent with family laughing, workouts, drinking Bourbon and breaking bread
- Understanding the power of breathing with intention
- The practice of mindfulness, which has helped me in all aspects of my life, including work
- Ayurveda grounding me
- Yoga helping me focus
- The KonMari Method teaching me how to truly let go
- My mom reminding me that each day is a blessing
- The opportunity to travel the world and visit seven countries in one year
- My trip to the Dominican republic with Elaine and Jim. It’s a trip I will remember for a lifetime
- All the AMAZINGLY delightful people I met during my travels this year that touched my heart: Ece, Edna, Christina, Mike, Dilini, Bibby, and Chrissy
To better understand myself and the process of loss, healing and recovery I put my nose to the books and ears to the audio. For the past 15 months I read and listened to the following books (my favs in Bold):
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.
- Braving the Wilderness, by Brene Brown
- Rising Strong, by Brene Brown
- Emotional Awareness, by Paul Ekman and Dalai Lama
- Make Your Bed, by William H McRaven
- You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson
- The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking
- Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah
- Cuffing Season, by Marcus Rosier
- The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Ayurveda: The Science of Self -Healing, by Vasant Lad
- Everyday Ayurveda: Daily Habits That Can Change Your Life in a Day, by Bhaswati Bhattacharya
- Ayurveda (Idiot’s Guide), by Sahara Rose Ketabi
- The Game of Life and How to Play It, by Florence Scovel Shinn
There’s no blueprint for life. All of our life paths are different and the way in which we grieve, heal and express joy varies. The goal is to learn from others, but to develop our own way of living that works for us as individuals. We share in hopes that others know they are not alone in the struggle. There is nothing perfect about my life. What you see, my friends, is my attempt to live mindfully, intentionally, compassionately, lovingly and without regret. I am trying everyday to be my BEST self, whatever that is.