2014 – A Year in Review (just for kicks)

IMG_2747Belated Happy New Year!  I did this last year and am doing it once again.  Throughout 2014, I kept a jar on our kitchen counter labeled “2014 Happy Events”.  Every time something special, fun or celebratory occurred I documented it on a slip of paper (kinda like a “Tweet” but not) and put in the jar.  It was fun and reminded me about the good things in my life.  This is a good thing for like many of us (at least in my recent conversations with friends) 2014 was a rough year – it had its bitter-sweet moments, wonderful occurrences and a good dose of happenings that made me just want to crawl in a corner and pull a blanket over me. 😉

Humorously, to cap it all off, on Tuesday, December 30th, a huge flock of robins found our back yard which we’ve set up as a haven for our feathered friends.  I remember standing at the kitchen window watching as they energetically ate to their fill, flew around and then happily made their exit. Shortly afterwards, I walked out to get in my car and found it covered in bird poop. Completely. My husband’s car, on the other hand, was spotless.  Not a drop of bird poop. I was, as they say, taken aback. And after several expletives escaped my mouth, I carefully considered how to interpret this final gift of 2014. It was then that I decided to see this as just the odd end to a happy, sweet, sad, interesting and eventful year. I could have seen it as a forewarning but chose not to go there. And I’m happy to report that thus far – 2015 is a very good year. So here’s my year in review via my “2014 Happy Events” jar:

  • Began new jar by reading and appreciating 2013’s happy events. Starting my 2014 jar!
  • Really good time, at annual oyster roast, despite the frigid temps.  Thank goodness for fire pits!
  • Working a cool “gig” with Caroline – fun! We are good together.
  • Epic “girls night” – no more will be said.
  • Great monthly dinners with Rutledge’s and Jenison’s this spring & early summer. Stoley’s will never be the same.
  • Dent repaired in my car
  • Many house repairs completed
  • All flowerbeds mulched and new hydrangeas bushes planted
  • Great time with Theresa & Mark pre-wedding – they helped get the house ready for the wedding.  Wow – so wonderful.
  • Taylor and Kitty’s beautiful wedding #1 at our home on Sat. 05.31.14.  Max & Ben were the ring bearers.
  • Epic (for a variety of reasons) second wedding ceremony on the beach and celebration at Hatteras
  • First vacation in years spent at Cape Hatteras May 31st – June 6th – happy birthday to me!!!
  • My job was funded for three more years – WOO HOO! I love you Carolyn Rutledge!
  • Even though it was for bittersweet reasons, I got to spend beautiful time with  my brother Marc the week that Mother passed.  I love him so.
  • Sweet and special weekend with my sister Marcia in Ruston, LA for Mother’s final “send off.”  She’s the best big sister ever…
  • ODU played great in 1st year in C-USA (football); 6 – 6 record.  Go BIG BLUE!
  • We had another fun year of weekly (well, almost) Thursday night dinners with Jack & Susan.  Cut short for a variety of reasons but we can’t wait to get back into our Thursday night flow in the next few weeks.
  • Fun and “cold” – brrrr – Thanksgiving with Taylor & Kitty in Chicago.  They cooked. It was awesome!  I love Chicago and I love AirBnB!
  • 12.23.14 – Fun and festive cookie decorating contest (aka: reason for a party) held by Taylor & Kitty at our house.  It was great to visit with friends and “kids” we hadn’t seen in a while. Cookies were homemade and delish!  But the best thing was the company.
  • A lovely Christmas brunch with the Geroe family and then a true family dinner at Shannon and Norm’s. It was so nice to experience the expansion of our family and enjoy it 100%!
  • Lovely and delicious New Year’s Eve dinner with Susan & Jack, Susan’s mom and our friend Nancy.  We were home by 11:30 and I was able to meditate in the New Year.  Thanks for driving, Jack!  You are our own personal “Uber” 😉
  • Pet harmony achieved – finally! All is good.

 

Well that about wraps it up.  I’m starting the new “2015 Happy Events” jar tonight and looking forward to what this year brings.  As I already mentioned, it is already a good one.  But … I’m not going to tell you why or how – that would spoil my next “Year in Review” blog post!  I wish you the very best 2015.  Keep smiling my friends.

PS – Here’s a pictorial review:

10365965_10152186926853807_4990773742682056019_n  Brothers of different mothers  IMG_247910476165_10152216238406232_3270623571906263615_nIMG_2483

Taylor and Mother copy

IMG_2525 IMG_2522 IMG_2539IMG_2541IMG_2536Thanksgiving visit copyFather and son copyThe girlsChristmas Party Poodle copyThe winner! copySusan & Michele do New Years 2014 copyPet harmony achieved copy

Laughter’s Balancing Act

You may have heard it said, “He who laughs at himself will never cease to be amused.” It’s true. I find that I probably laugh at something I say or do everyday. It feels good and keeps me from taking life and me too serious.

The truth is – I like to laugh. For me laughter is a neutralizing force. It takes me out of whatever “place of limitation” I may happen to slip into. It can act as a release valve for pent up angst and worry. It brings me back to the present moment because it allows me to see the truth and sometimes absurdity of a situation or action and snaps me back to a clear balanced “place”. Laughing also reroutes me to the current of acceptance that runs through my life.

In that sense, laughter is humbling. What I’ve discovered is that the power of laughter rests not in denial of feelings (although this can be a result) but in its power to reveal what is truly important to me in my life. It connects me to the happiness that is the current of living energy that resides within me.

In that regard, you could say the act of laughing and its cleansing power is no laughing matter. It’s truly a powerful balancing force that aids me in keeping life light.

Have you had your dose of laughter for today? If not check out this classic music video Make ‘Em Laugh

Let go of the past to live in the Present

I know, I know….I write A LOT about letting go. And there’s good reason for it. I recently wrote a post for my TBI – Living New Normal blog about allowing healing to happen in its own way and time. Essentially this post was about letting go of a past situation. In this post, I shared about my identification (memory) with a past situation related to my husband’s traumatic brain injury that was blocking me from being in a free and easy space with my Mother. It was a blind spot for me. Yet, once I became aware of what was happening, I was able to accept it and let go of it fully. The result? I’m happy, I’m present and in a clear, loving space with my mom.

I think I’ve mentioned before that when I share something such as in this blog or one of my other blogs (I have three :)) it is because I have found that sharing my experience is a powerful teacher. I’m coming from my experience of Truth (vs. an intellectual concept) and I’m passing this to you. I know it is the Truth and I know it works. And…I realize it is important that you also get this for yourself. That’s how it worked for me. With that being said, here’s a little guide to assist when finding yourself blocked from living in the Present by a past event:

1. First a little “primer” on “experience”: One of the dictionary definitions of experience is “an event or occurrence that leaves an impression on someone.” In other words, experience is always in the past. Experience leaves an impression in the form of a memory. In my experience, memories are sometimes blatant and in your face and at other times subtle and hidden. They can be sweet and lovely or sometimes sad or painful; they can sneak up on us when we least expect it. And sometimes when this happens, they block our fully aware experience of the present moment of now.

2. When you realize you are caught up in the past and that this is blocking you in your life either in a relationship, work or home situation, seize the opportunity to really look at what is going on and walk yourself through the process of acceptance:

  • Ask yourself: What is in the space? What is it that is blocking my happiness in this moment?
  • Now, feel this in your body. Is there an area of tightness or tension? Locate that contracted feeling and breathe into it.
  • If you feel emotions coming up within you, allow those to be there also. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to laugh, laugh.
  • Just let the experience be as it is and it will let you be as you are. Allow the thoughts to drift by you.
  • Sit quietly with eyes closed and just watch the whole experience and allow the unwinding to happen on its own.
  • Now enjoy the peace that arises as you let go of the past and live in the Present.
If you interested in learning more about this method of letting go, this is one of the coaching services I offer. You can find out more about my services as well as how to contact me at the “About Me” and “Services ” links above. Now, go out and enjoy this Precious Present!