Day 21: Celebrations, Creativity and Radiance

dandelionToday marks the last day of my 21-day adventure, and therefore I am choosing to honor me. I am celebrating making a plan and sticking with it, and truly committing to find my joy and radiance, even on the rough days. I am celebrating writing about this journey on my blog; sharing my ups and downs with my daughters and investing in me, so I can be the role model they deserve.

Most days it was easy to find multiple things to celebrate, and other days it was tougher. Some days, it was hard to write, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I was too tired to have perfect word-smithing. Although I didn’t want to, I wrote anyway, accepting that my writing would be subpar, and that is ok. Other days I found myself racing to the computer at the strangest times to jot everything down before the muse of creativity yet once again slipped away. As I mentioned before, I have learned to take full advantage of those moments. Bringing back creativity through this small piece of writing and even in my art classes has been the most amazing gift I have given to myself.

A lot of times I wait until the quite of night to gather my thoughts to write, which wasn’t always ideal when extreme tiredness set in. I started this post, however, yesterday after my drive to school with my daughter. I raced into the house to jot my initial ideas and thoughts down, and then sat down this evening to put it all together. I knew that no matter what happened today, celebrating me would be the top priority.

The official first day of spring is only a few days away, and although it is snowing right now, I still feel a level of freshness and light that I haven’t felt in a long time. My body is still far away from my comfort zone weight and I still don’t know how I am going to pay rent next month, but in looking at all that I have to celebrate, I have faith that I will figure it out- I always do.

A few nights ago I found out that my dad needs to have a biopsy of his prostrate and there is a 20%  that it could be cancer. I’m trying my best not to worry about it, until there is something to worry about, but I was slammed with the reality that my parents are getting to the age where things could potentially go downhill quickly, or they could be fine for another twenty years. They have both had the fortune of good health, but faced with this prospect has opened me up to the necessity of forgiveness; not just for my parents, not just for anyone who has wronged me, but for me.

winding road

To say life is precious, or any other appropriate cliché, has deep meaning when faced with the potential of the mortality of a loved one. I know my parents may never fully understand me or support me the that I want them to, but I also know I can no longer turn to them for validation (it only took me 40 years to get there, yay). My happiness can and will not be determined by an outside source. I am the author of my story.

My life has been in an incredibly stressful place for the last year, and although I have struggled with depression, I feel lifted and freer after these 21 days of celebrations. I know that if I can pull myself out of the proverbial muck in only three weeks by appreciating one tiny thing a day, I can only imagine where I will be by next year. Facing adversity in the midst of darkness is no easy task. I know I still have a ways to go, and there will be crappy days indeed. But I am ready to take on the next phase of my adventure and look forward to where the current takes me.

With love,

Anatheia

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Day 16 & 17: Free Coffee, Daylight Savings and Old Couches

I guess my weekend trend has been missing the Saturday post, and that is ok. I amcoffee and the pooch celebrating that I chose to lay in bed last night, reading and finishing up an assigned book for my coaching class (only four more books to go!). I chose sleep over writing, and that is a good thing.  So, my weekend wins and celebrations are lumped together here, because they also fit nicely together.

Yesterday I spent the morning in pjs, lounging on my old beat-up couch, reading and relaxing. This couch is literally on its last thread, with a ripped back cushion that is centimeters away from dislocation, and ass-grooved pillows that sink inward, forming a deep valley in middle. For months I kept fantasizing about getting  a new couch, which is definitely not in the current budget. And yes, I find myself saying that a lot lately, and that too is ok. But yesterday I truly appreciated this marvelous over-loved couch. It was the first piece of furniture I purchased after my divorce, and has served many happy years since.

As I sprawled out and cuddled with the pooch, I began to feel a deep appreciation of all that I had. Yes, I have been struggling with money and stress and weight gain and depression, but here I was, in this beautiful house with comfortable furniture that wears as many battle scars as I do. I finally felt true gratitude for all that I had in this moment.

Today, I made the decision to get out of bed early, when I could have easily slept another hour. I did this for the mere reason to claim my free cup of daylight savings coffee and Caribou. It seems a little ridiculous on one hand, but last night when I realized I was out of cream, the magical free-coffee text came through, with the angelic chorus “ahhhhhhhhh!” All I had to do was show up at the drive thru by 9 am, which was technically 8 am with the time change. You can appreciate why this was indeed a Sunday morning triumph.

As I was reclined on my well-loved couch, with my pooch snoozing on her perch, I noticed the writing on the cup. I don’t usually pay attention to these cute notes as there is normally a sleeve covering them, but today they ran out and the words of wisdom remained exposed. And there is was…”Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.” I stared at my kismet cup of coffee, smiled, and made the decision that this would be my last cup for a week or so. My body told me it could use a little break from the caffeine and cream, and take a little time to reset.

I’m not going hard core and saying I’m giving up coffee forever, because I know how that story ends, but just for a little bit; a respite. I enjoyed my last sips, finishing yet another book for my class and knew that this was going to be a good day.

With love,

Anatheia

Day 12: Ceramics, Patrick Swayze, and Solar Eclipses

Today’s celebration has do with kicking some serious butt on the wheel in pottery class. I am taking a college level ceramics class as a prerequisite for my graduate program in art therapy, and have been fumbling along  for 7 weeks now. Today we transitioned from hand-building to throwing on the wheel, and I finally found my groove. It was very inspiring to be the one in class that other students were wowed by. All that was missing was Patrick Swayze behind me with Unchained Melody playing in the background.

On a completely unrelated note, there was a very powerful new moon/solar eclipse today. This is a very auspicious time to set new intentions or start something new. It is very serendipitous that I happened to pay the deposit to reserve my spot in grad school. I’m also continuing with my intention of finding joy and nursing my body and soul back to her former glory!

With Love,

Anatheia

Day 5: Resumé Writing, Free Pizza and Grad School

Today I have a huge, huge, huge celebration/win, and smaller, but still worth mentioning, win. The latter win was motivating myself to attended a resumé writing workshop during my lunch break at school. I was supposed to hear of my acceptance or rejection to graduate school today, and figured that I should start the plan of job hunting, yet again, just in case I wasn’t accepted.

I have been in limbo for far too long and decided that maybe I could spruce up my resumé, at the very least. It was challenging to sit through a lecture by a woman who seemed to be a bit behind the times, not only with her hair style and make-up, but her online application knowledge. Although I probably could have taught the class, I was glad I went. And as a bonus, the free pizza was tasty.

Now, onto the triple-huge win…Three hours later, I received a call from the dean of admissions telling me I was accepted!!!!!! I have been working my butt off trying to find a job for a year, and then applying to this program in addition. It feels so fucking (pardon my cussing) good to have something definite for the fall- a place to land!

I knew that starting this gratitude journey would help me cope with the possibility of rejection, and even though I am ecstatic, I’m sticking to it!
With Love,
Anatheia
P.S. And hooray for the first day of March!

My Reality

As women we are inundated through most of our lives with the fantasy of being rescued.  The proverbial Sleeping Beauty is so deeply programmed in us that we convince ourselves that our lives will not be complete until we are awakened by our “true love’s kiss.”  We make life changing decisions based on this deep seated belief that somewhere out there is someone who will ultimately take care of us and rescue us, but from whom?  From what?  Ourselves?  Is it denial or fear that we are really incapable of being OK on our own?

This is no way near an uber feminist blog where I will sit here and claim that I don’t need a man to be whole.  I still truly believe there is an ultimate balance of male and female energy, yin and yang, or whatever you want to call it.  And I’m not about to pretend that I don’t want to be having more sex.  I have just spent too long looking for validation from someone else while ignoring me, and letting my esteem falter when that validation never really comes, or at least not in the way I think it should.

So, this is my story.  This is my journey to becoming Waking Beauty.  It is about learning how to love myself, despite years of negative programming from others, from within, from wherever. I still have days where I want to be rescued.  I still want someone to come in and wave the magic wand to make the pain go away, pay off my student loans and then cook me a fabulous dinner.  But at the end of the day, I still know that it will be unfulfilling. I know that I will never truly accept myself through the eyes of another until I learn to do it on my own.  I will never meet my “King” (I’m just too old for a prince at this point) until I let go of being the spoiled princess and truly believe in myself as the queen, and not because someone put me on that throne, but because I was self-appointed.  I am nowhere near being OK on my own, but I am definitely somewhere on the path.  Parts of my story seem so ridiculously crazy that it could truly be on a TV show or trashy romance novel, but maybe there are others with a similar story.  So while this blog is my therapeutic way to release the past, I hope there is someone out there reading this that has done some of the stupid things I have, and can sigh a breath of relief knowing she is not alone.