Today marks the three-year anniversary of the start of this blog. First and foremost, I want to say THANK YOU to all of you who read, like, and comment on my posts. I am blessed to have such awesome readers! You consistently inspire me to new growth.
I’ve gone through periods of faithful daily posting, periods of silence, and periods of sporadic posting, but somehow I’ve managed to write over 550 posts (on this blog) during that time. It’s fun to look back at those early posts and see how my writing has changed with time.
One of the many self-care practices I generally implement when going through dark times is a gratitude practice. This can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal where I write down a list of five things that I am grateful for from the day before I go to bed. It can also be as extensive as using my 101-bead gratitude “necklace” to count off 101 things I’m grateful for from the day.
Often I implement this practice once I’m already down in the midst of the darkness when I’m trying to climb my way back out of the pit. This time I was already using my daily gratitude journal practice before the downward slide even began. It’s interesting to notice the difference.
I’ve been in a funk all week. I’m feeling really discouraged that I just can’t seem to be the person that I want to be. The lack of sunlight this time of year doesn’t help; it tends to make things look even bleaker than they really are when I do get down.
The one thing that has helped keep me from getting overwhelmed by this current bout of discouragement is the laughter that so often fills my days at the office. We manage to find ways to (gently) tease each other and things to laugh about multiple times a day. My gratitude for the chance to work in an environment like this knows no bounds.
Things have been unusually busy this week at work as a number of deadlines are all hitting at roughly the same time. In the midst of the busyness over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself letting my daily gratitude journaling slip away. I’m just so tired by the time I fall into bed each night that it feels like a burden instead of a gift to take time for that one extra task.
Despite the lapse in actively writing down the things that I’m grateful each day, I’ve found that I’ve internalized the practice of gratitude enough that I continue to look for and notice things that I’m grateful for throughout the day.
I have been incredibly fortunate in where I have landed in the latest rendition of my work life. I work with a group of people that makes the work day a great deal of fun. My co-workers are people who I admire and consider as friends, and I still can’t get over my good fortune at having arrived where I am.
Having so often worked in situations where this was not the case, I find myself constantly watching the group dynamics and the individual interactions to try to discover the secret of what makes this group so different so I can do what I can to make sure the goodness lasts. I think there are several reasons why this group works so well—some that may be unique to this group, some that aren’t.
A few days ago, WordPress distributed an annual report for 2012 for my blog. I’ve included a summary of this report and a link to the full report below. It’s not too shabby considering I took a blog sabbatical for the first six months of the year!
As I look through this report, one of the things that strikes me is how much this blog has become a source of community (one of my words for 2013) for me over this last year. To all of you who have read my words, followed my blog, liked my posts, or left comments, THANK YOU! I am grateful and blessed to have you along on my journey. I appreciate your support more than you know.
“Such love does the sky now pour that whenever I stand in a field, I have to wring out the light when I get home.” ~St. Francis of Assisi
I have gotten a glimpse over the last few months of the love that St. Francis was referring to. This has grown out of the unbelievable beauty of being showered with so much love, kindness, and generosity by those around me to allow myself to open up to the possibility that of accepting this kind of love not only from those around me, but also from the divine.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity of seeing the divine “with skin on” in the faces of the people in my life that has made this possible.
Today marked the end of both the semester and of my Christmas “doing” for this year. All gifts have been made, purchased, and given (or at least shipped). Cards have been given or mailed. Baking is done. I can now rest.
And as I settled in tonight to rest from the busyness of the last couple of weeks, I had a startling realization: I actually enjoyed my gift giving this year! This probably sounds odd to most people, but gift giving occasions (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) are usually times of intense anxiety and stress for me.
“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure in fact whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.” ~Haruki Murakami
I’ve had the occasion several times just recently to reflect back on the storms that I’ve been through the last couple of years. It amazes me to look back at all that I’ve weathered and how well I’ve come through those storms.
A friend of mine whom I’ve not seen in a long time surprised me by driving into town to take me to dinner tonight. (This is a several hour drive from the next state.) This is one of those friendships where we pick right up where we left off even if we haven’t talked in ages. We’ve known each other for a little over fourteen years now, which is the longest anyone (besides family) has stayed in a close relationship with me since I have moved so often during my life.
It was a really wonderful time of catching up on news, sharing about our personal areas of growth right now, and remembering old times. I was reminded tonight just how valuable it is to have people in my life that remember the me that I used to be.