Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gratitude List

I need one of these tonight.  Maybe you do too.

Having a job that affords me the luxury of paid time off (it's a first for me and I don't take it for granted!)
This freaking beautiful perfect house H and I get to live in and take care of.
Having two arms and two legs--no more, no less.
The opportunity to struggle--even when it sucks and I desperately want a pass out of it, getting through it shows me strength I didn't know I had.
My rad midcentury Peter Hvidt table that somehow fits perfectly in our dining room even though I bought it months before I knew this dining room existed.
People who do their jobs because that's their job.
Morning stair runs with a friend.
The freaking amazing gluten free recipe devepment thing that's happening that I get to benefit from.
My marriage.
These two fuzzy cats whom I love to pieces who come back to our house every day even though they could easily pick another house with better treats.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
That even amidst the turmoil of the work I'm doing at this stage in my life, I work with women whom I deeply, deeply respect and appreciate.  I work with people with whom I've shared some of the deepest belly laughs of my life.
Having a safety net--I'm never really stuck even though it sometimes feels that way.  There is always a door.
Having a college and master's degree that mean certain jobs are open to me that aren't necessarily open to everyone.
Good books and having time, energy and interest to read them.
Knowing I can choose to be happy--that circumstances can't get inside that unless I let them.
Knowing everything has an end and we will all look back on the events and circumstances of our lives and say, "remember when?"  That goes for the good and the bad.
The perspective that the harder times are just that--times in our lives.  They are not our lives.
Deep breaths.
Living in a place where I regularly see friends walking along the sidewalk in front of my house.
My family.
Woolly Pockets.
Having a lawn!  so much more pleasant than the weedy rock yard of the lats 7 years.

Tonight I am wishing for knowing what is next, what to do, when circumstances will change.  I went to a yoga class that began with lying on our backs, conneting us with our breath.  The teacher pointed out that lying down feels easy because we are told is is easy; it's something we just do without thinking too much about it.  The lesson is that things can feel hard when they are new, when we don't have a script for what to expect, when we don't know quite how we fit into them and especially when those around us don't really know either.  In yoga practice, the direction in these uncomfortable circumstances is generally to reconnect with the breath, which is ever present and can help to ground us, to give us something to hold onto when the other pieces feel scary.  The direction is never to to move away from what is challenging or unknown, because in practice, we know there is an entire other world on the other side of scary, on the other side of discomfort and uncertainty.

Tonight, I lifted into head stand without using a wall.  I've practiced yoga for nearly a decade and a half but have always held onto a fear of being upside down without something to catch me when I fall.

When I fall.

Tonight, I stopped thinking so damn much about falling and just did it.  I decided it was no different than lying on my back, connecting to my steady breath.

But it was different.  It felt like a turning point.  It felt like getting a glimpse of what is on the other side of taking chances, of risk.  Of not needing to know what happens but knowing at the very least, there will always be breath.  There will always be a floor to catch me.  It may hurt a bit, but there is a definite end to that fall, as there is to everything.

This has been a season of change, of adjustment, of disappointment with bits here and there of really really fucking good things.  This has been a season of testing limits, of realizing strength and endurance that have not been tested so much before, and of nights of desperately wanting to just escape.  It has been a season, I think, of building a critical part of my adult self.  And it totally, totally sucks.  Ha!  I would ask why nobody bothered to mention this part of the process when we were children, but really, I am eternally grateful to have been unaware of this part until I'm in the thick of it; planning or worrying would have given me a pass out of it, it just would have robbed me of those other precious moments.

I took this week off of work and had a completely blissful first part of the week then got some pretty bad news about work last night and spent today working on some solutions, aka finding another job.  And then tonight I got some diappointing news abou that job and just lost.my.shit.  Feeling stuck, feeling powerless, is no joke, and the waves of those feelings sometimes feel like they might drown me, especially when they first crash down.

So I write to remind myself that this is my life and I do get to choose what I do, how I feel.  I get to choose whether I spend my evenings watching TV or whether I engage in activities that open up opportunities, that bring welcome change into my life.  I get to choose being complacent and feeling powerless or being active and feeling empowered, like I did when I made the choice to pop up into headstand all on my own, without a crutch.

A good friend whom I admire sent me her resume today to help give me ideas for updating my own.  She is a badass.  She has had a lot of really unfair and hard shit thrown at her and been placed in circumstances that didn't include an escape hatch.  And now she has a phenomenal, rich life.  She has built that life, and it came largely from a place of struggle, of not knowing.  It came from her fighting and choosing to be persistent even when the return on that persistence was not a given.

We have to be persistent for ourselves.  We have to keep looking for doors, and opening them.

So.  I write mostly because it helps me work things out for myself, especially when things feel hard.  I write not because I need to show the pretty side of my life but because I need to acknowledge the struggles.  I write because it is a way for me to remind myself that this is all part of it, but it is not all of it.

xo

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