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

Living from the Balance Point – Final thoughts

IMG_2483As of August 1st, 2014 I will be shutting down this blog and the Balance Point website.  After going through a number of important life changes, it feels like time.  My job is done.  And in considering how to close out gracefully, I reflect back on something I told my son and new daughter-in-law shortly after they were married and heading off on their life adventure together.  It seems appropriate to share with you now. “You pretty much know everything you need to know.  All the answers to any questions you may have or solutions to situations you face are within you.” And…for the past three years through Balance Point this is what I’ve been sharing. All I’ve done is listened to the still balance point within, trusted it and shared with you as my personal discovery.

And…there is one last parting thought on the idea of balance.  First of all, let’s all recognize that it is a concept. And as any concept, it can be misconstrued and misinterpreted.  So I’d like to be very clear about what true “balance” represents – at least to me.  It does not mean perfection; it is anything but that. Let’s face it, perfection is not only overrated; it is exhausting too.  If we were all perfect life would be boring and one dimensional.

Balance is, in my perspective, the act of coming from that clear place within and responding from it – a clean perspective.    This “place” includes all the imperfections, does not judge them and is not pulled in any one direction by them.  It is peace and balance.  Or more aptly put – True North.  When coming from this True North you live authentically – warts and all. 😉

If you’re trying to “get to” balance then you are missing the boat.  There’s no “getting to”.  There’s only “coming from”.  And the only way to come from is to get quiet and listen.  However it works for you.  Whether it is walking, riding a bike, swimming, writing, singing, playing an instrument, sitting in silence, meditation, praying, sitting in church, synagogue, temple or mosque…open yourself to those regular opportunities to nestle into that space within you. Listen. Take in what is being heard. Receive. Contemplate. Accept. Rest. Relax. Recharge. Then choose to operate from from this perspective. That’s balance and what it means to live from the balance point.

Many blessings to you all. Thank you for hanging with me these past few years and best wishes on your next chapter of this adventure we call “Life”.

Denial – Not just a River in Egypt

I am a competitive person by nature. And by this admission am hereby publicly confessing to be a perfectionist. In being a perfectionist, I am sometimes reluctant to admit to what I perceive to be weaknesses and shortcomings. Up until recently, I perceived the dynamic of denial to be a weakness. I thought it meant that I was not dealing with the situation at hand. Well guess what? The truth is that when I’m in denial I’m not dealing with the situation fully simply because it is too much to face in the moment.

20131115-163921.jpgWhat I’ve learned over the past few years is that denial can be my friend if “used” purposefully. For example, back when my husband had his life-changing automobile accident I moved through various stages of denial. Months later I retained a copy of my husband’s hospital medical record. As I read through it I saw that I had been given the “wife is in denial” label. I was resentful, to say the least. “How dare they label me! What did they know about what I was experiencing?”

And now looking back on it I realize how right they were. I was most definitely and for very good reason in a major state if denial. Unbeknownst to me it I was in a good place and denial was my friend and guardian angel.

526635_479560988768275_1425642931_nWhat I’ve come to realize is that denial is a natural response to an unexpected and/or unacceptable occurrence. It is a protective mechanism that the mind, spirit and body move into when a situation is just too much to handle all at once. Allowing denial to be present can serve as a temporary safe space that one can use to become accustomed to the idea of what has happened. The key is to not sit in denial permanently – that’s when it becomes a crutch that can keep one from full acceptance and moving forward. Moving forward out if denial and into acceptance is an individual process for each of person. The important thing is to stay present with yourself as you are moving through it. And to the best of your ability, be grateful for the period of denial in which you find yourself as it is a natural time of adjustment as you move into a new-normal life.

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!