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“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.
Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

Albert Schweitzer

In beginning to write my book and, in doing so, trudging through the worlds, aches, and muck of my life within my traumatic experience and posttrauma self I am finding myself exhausted daily by the memories of eight of my nine lives.  I am also finding myself mourning for the prior selves of “me” in a way that has been truly unexpected.  I didn’t realize how sad it would be to remember myself in my past and to watch and recreate the worlds in which I survived but never quite thrived inside of. 

In fighting my way, literarily, through all that has past–in a hopes of illuminating the past, present, and futures of others on similar journeys I am finding a persistent need for finding moments of gratitude and light in my present-day existence.  I find myself needing to really enjoy the moments of beauty and laughter, revel in every minute spent outside the pages of my old prisons and keep my insight into the past just that–the sight of an observer recording experience anthropoligically.  And save my living and reliving for those things of pleasure. 

I am rediscovering the importance of present-centered living, and consciously affording myself moments of appreciation and gratitude.  And for that I am very grateful for this exercise in rising old ghosts from the grave to the page.  It has given me perspective and reverence for the present.  I love the life I am, the family I am in,the state of place and state of mind I sit snugly inside of as I type out on my spastic laptop with 50 degree Florida chill whipping around my tiny cottage on the end of a discreet dirt road. 

I am grateful for life, and even more so for MY life right now.  I urge tomorrow to come but not too quickly and I hope to distill this appreciation through the next 10 chapters of this book and into my future.  In visiting old ghosts I am meeting ghosts of Christmas present and learning to treasure today as if it were the first, last, and only moment.

Happy Holidays to everyone and I hope for everyone this joy of today and gratitude for what IS in your life.

Blessings!

 
 
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
 
T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”
 
 
I find that I am particularly bipolar in my mood when heading into a new year–I am filled with both gratitude for what was and anticipation for what could be while at the same time feeling sullenly sub-par considering the ‘could haves, would haves’, and worrying if I can live up to my projected goals for what is to come.  My husband is particularly fond of this newly discovered layer of my inner self–really, overjoyed even.  He wants me to “explain” the hows and whys of my feelings.  As an ex-philosophy major he makes my head hurt with his logic equations, in which most of my emotional meanderings have no place.   
 
 
Last night I was surrounded in a particularly prickly and heavy quilt of my own melancholy as all the yesterdays and tomorrows swam in my head.  Besides all of the cerebral churning my belly was also preoccupied with aches and pains that were endometriosis in origin.  So, preoccupied as I was, I found myself grumpy and ill at 9:00pm stumbling towards the bathroom.  In the dark I clumsily flicked the light switch and simultaneously saw and felt a giant waterbug (cuddly term for a roach on steroids) scurry over my foot and towards the opposite wall, searching for darkness.  I screamed something in the four-letter word department and my husband came running with concern, until he found out why, and then he was less than impressed by the trauma of it all. 
 
 
So it got me thinking, much as it seems most of God’s Floridian creatures have done these last few months, inspiring posts and metaphors galore.  I lay, minutes after my experience, covered with blankets, a beagle-pug sentry named Gaia who had willingly been roped into the comfy king-sized bed to watch over me, ready to pounce on anything roachy that might have decided to follow me back to my “safe place”.  I started thinking that it doesn’t matter too much how good things are, how safe we feel, how much we have planned for the way things will be or should be because into every life a few roaches must crawl.  
 
 
I can kick myself over what was and wish for a better what will be but in total this year has been amazing and how dare I diminish my life, myself, and my experiences by focusing on the roaches in the mix.  So I am going to take the path of the lovely post today “Gratitude” over at Ms. Nona’s blog and consider the positive and list it out…because I love a chance for a list!
 
 
This Year I am Grateful For:
 
 
1.  Marrying my wonderful, roach killing, husband not once but twice!
 
2.  The honor of recieving NYU’s Outstanding Recent Alumna Award for my Complementary Therapies with Trauma Survivors (thank you alma mater).
 
3.  Moving to a beautiful place in which the most wonderful new adventures have begun and people met (and where there is no ugly cold winters!).
 
4.  My work and how it metamorphasizes and expands at every new step into even more wonderful ideas and creative approaches.
 
5.  Finally deciding to write the book that has been a long time in procrastination and topic determination.
 
6.  Following my passions wherever they lead me–in love, in work, in relationship, in spirituality, and every other crevice of my life.
 
7.  Being able to start therapeutic groups in Yoga, Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, and Creative Arts (multimedia) & being given wonderful opportunities to speak about my belief in the value of these approaches.
 
8.  Finding space to breathe in my body, mind, heart, and soul and finally putting old ghosts to rest.
 
 
Namaste and Happy Holidays to All!  Explore your own gratitude and don’t let your “woulds and shoulds” hold you back or metaphoric/literal roaches keep you down!
 

underwater yoga by megan is me on flickrLearning to Swim

 

My lovely grandparents-in-law (is that a possible moniker?) allowed me to come over to their lovely backyard pool today, dogs in tow.  I was in desperate need of a geographic change after a week spent organizing, unboxing, and lugging everything and anything I own around the new house.  I was exhausted and testy; the dogs were spastic and antsy.  We needed a day of rest.  It was lovely.  Truly.

 

My husband’s grandparents are sweet, endearing people; his grandmother made me a plate of cheese, grapes, and crackers and his grandfather gave me dog care advice then they quickly retreated indoors to escape the heat and, I am certain, my over energized pups. 

 

The change of scenery was a starting point, a was finally absorbing some of the rich Florida sun and imbibing vibrant blue skies speckled with tufts of white but what really took me to another realm was the pool.  I have been what my mother lovingly titled “a fish” since I was old enough to walk and paddle through the shallow end of one public pool or another. 

 

I love the water.  I love to swim.  More than anything I adore the feeling of rocketing through deep waters, completely submerged, reaching for the rough cement floor, hearing nothing but the sound of limbs pushing through chlorine aqua and my own heartbeat.  It dives me into a silent internal peace that is akin to what I feel in the practice of yoga.  I feel in tune and rhythm with my body; swimming is like an aquatic dance of the body working in synchronicity with itself to create powerful motion.  Swimming to me is like flying; it makes me feel like I am transformed into something beyond human, something greater than myself. 

 

Yoga gives me a sense similar to that.  I feel in tune and a part of my surroundings in the water; the water and I are part of a large collective organism, working together.  With yoga I feel the fluidity of myself and the air around me, the ground below me; it holds me up and propels me from one pose to the next.  The two practices to me are moving arts and they take me to somewhere beyond me as an independent being. 

 

But I digress.  The day was just what was prescribed for all.  It was a feast for my senses and sun therapy to boot.  I read Julie & Julia (still avoiding reading my required texts for yoga school and beginning to feel the anxiety of a procrastinating delinquent) as I waded in the shallow end, putting it down every so often to swim laps back and forth from shallow to deep water. 

 

My big dog, Guinness, stalked  my every move like he was a hungry lion and I aquatic prey.  He followed every stroke and stared at me intently as I dove under and emerged again half way down the pool, longing to jump in but fearful to dive as he is still learning to swim.  The little one, Gaia, splashed and jumped in, swimming for her toy and then paddling frantically to the pool stairs.  She is definitely the bolder of the two of them, although their appearances deceptively mislead everyone into assuming the reverse. 

 

Completion of the day leaves me sufficiently tanned and satiated by the natural gifts of Florida life; the dogs are sufficiently exhausted and collapsed on their respective doggie beds.  I am also feeling acclimated and rejuvenated enough to brave my first Floridian yoga class tomorrow.  I am going to pick one of the few local studios and just dive in, having no option as of yet for home yoga as my husband, I have discovered, is holding my mat hostage in the great chilly north. 

 

So I revel in the new aquatic opportunities, both oceanic and chlorine-full, of this great warm state.  I am adjusting to the idea of year round warmth, year round sun, and year round access to cool waters to both lose and find myself in, in the best way: mind, body, soul.  Yoga & swimming–I could get used to this place.

 

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.

 

e.e. cummings

 

*Found this program Yoga Afloat online that is a certification to become a teacher of water yoga; specifically created by the inventor for her chronic pain illness, something I know well and a lovely concept.  I believe I am going to explore this aquatic yoga hybrid some more.*

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