Almost eight years ago my dad died suddenly from a heart attack. He actually had at least three heart attacks over a few days. The second one brought him to the hospital, and he ended up with a stent in his heart. But, his heart never stabilized, and later that night he had another heart attack that ruptured his left ventricle. This one was fatal.
At first I was doing what I could to help my mother through this difficult time. But over the next few months, I found that his death affected me more than I thought it did. I found myself slipping into a deep depression. Finally, I sought out a therapist. Eight years, and several therapists later, I think of my Dad, and miss him, but I have also made some deep changes in the way I live my life, and along the way found more joy than I thought was possible.
Why am I sharing this with you? It relates a bit to the post I had recently about Critical Balance. Until this crisis sent me to therapy, I did not realize how much all the negative "stuff" I carried around in my head, and repeated to myself over and over again, inhibited my creativity, and diminished my life overall.
I continue therapy, even though depression is gone from my life, because I have come to realize the work to stay present, and not get caught up in all that "stuff" is something that is on-going. Once a month I get to check-in with the best therapist I could ever have. And once a month I meet with an amazing group of women, and we reflect and share on different aspects of our lives and our experiences. In this process, I can see better where I have been, and how far I have come. I can find where the residue of pain still resides, and carefully explore and heal. And I stay in touch with "me." And if you want to find your voice, there is no better place to start!
This past week, we met, and we wrote about the joy that is in our lives. We were in tears, and laughing, sometimes simultaneously as we shared our reflections. Tonight, I shared with my kids what I wrote, and given their response, I decided to post it here, with the background. I have come to believe, the work I did "on myself" was the best work I ever did to nurture my creative being.
So here goes....
I start to reflect upon my day and the little moments that made me smile, or feel in that moment. What unifies those moments is simply presence. Presence to what is. Presence to a moment that can’t be captured and preserved on film, or in words, or in any way at all as completely as just being there at that moment.
My mom calls to thank me for coming over and for the card from me that she found after we left. We talk for maybe ten minutes, and it is a nice re-connection and reinforcement of our relationship and our bond as mother and daughter.
I take a tray of beads out of the oven. As I collect them into my hand, and then into a container, the subtle sparkle and pattern catches my eye and makes me smile. Yes! This time it worked. These will make some nice pieces. But, just now, they bring me a moment of joy. I roll them around for a moment, in the container, enjoying the visual and tactile experience.
Later I am making cranes. I cover a sheet of clay with a variety of cane slices. The mix of color and pattern sings on this one. I smile in a moment of “yes!”
Packaging and sorting cranes to fill orders. These normally tedious tasks feel good today. I enjoy seeing each crane on the shred, and in it’s own little box. Soon two orders are picked and in boxes to ship. I take pleasure in the ease with which this happened today.
At dinner, I take in Colleen. Her eyes sparkle as she talks. A smile illuminates her already luminous face. We all laugh together as Kaela exudes joy and excitement at all the possible directions her life could take. Each fulfilling an aspect of her being. She can barely get the words out in a coherent sentence, she is so happy about all that lies before her like a feast.
My life is one of abundance. Simple moments. The excitement of the dog to do a trick and get a treat. The sound of my coffee press makes as it slides down. Dave’s voice on the phone.
I had moments of stress and frustration today. But the joy of the moment can be found like sparkling jewels scattered throughout my day.
My little mantra these days is “Create abundance.” Perhaps I don’t need to say create. Maybe it is just about noticing. Being present to all that is here for me already.....so, what do you think? Does it make you want to start noticing the jewels in your own life? I can guarantee they are there. It is not about the big "wow!" moments. Those are good, but the sustenance comes from finding joy in the moment. The mundane, everyday moments. And, when we find it there, we have less "need" for the other kinds of that the commercials want us to believe are only a purchase away.
If you'd like, feel free to leave a jewel or two in the comments!