As I sit here reflecting on the past year (which always starts for me at the beginning of the month on my birthday), I am cozied up on a leather couch in my sisters beautiful home in NC.
2011 was a year of change for me. It marked the closure of a 2 year journey through breast cancer and the ever daunting reconstruction. A whole year where I had no hospitalizations or surgeries! Renewed and rekindled relationships with cousins and their families, and a family rift that resulted in estrangement or at least distance between my brother and myself. At that same time I took a very important stand for me with other family members, it is never easy to change family roles or walk through separations, etc. A beautiful little black dog that came into my life by way of being lost and needing a home. Covered in 40 or more ticks, fleas and in fight or flight mode, I invested many hours and a few weeks to gain her trust in order to catch her, she is now an important and happy member of my family. People will say “I wonder where she came from” and I reply ” My little Lilly, aka Scooter was a gift from heaven”. She has filled our lives with action, laughter and love. Ever spoiled Brody unbelievably not only accepted her into the family but protects her. It’s very endearing. There was literally no transition time necessary with placement into her new abode. It’s important to also mention the genorosity, donations and gifts from caring souls who wanted to contribute, and whose contribution made it possible for me to keep my Lilly Girl.
As started the previous Spring before learning of Jim’s passing I jumped from one sugared lilypad to another filled with vegetables and protein, trimming down 75 lbs. I like the new me. I like the mobility, the benefits this has brought into my life. I have been asked many times “What made you decide to do this? What motivated you to do this?” The question we all ask when it seems someone has done something we have yet to beable to accomplish or sustain. If only we could find a universal answer that would work for everyone! It was simply making a choice after being hospitalized for a serious infection months prior… Before I die I wanted to experience a healthy balance, firm foundation between Mental, Spiritual and Physical. I have had one and two at the same time, but never all together. I am happy to report that while I am not foolish enough to think my learning is over (ha), it feels very good to walk this earth, view the beauty of nature and humanity, to feel the intensities of feelings and emotions and yet know, I cannot save anyone, nor can I save the world, but I can do my best to help others, and I can be a healthy, vibrant participant in this world! In the community in which I live this year has been filled with one tragedy after another. I want to mention Tropical Storm Irene which blasted through and devastated much of the East Coast, my beloved Vermont affected severely. The outpouring of help between neighbors, strangers, emergency services (dare I say government?) renewed my faith in humanity. These are the types of people that I try to surround myself with and do. I am blessed with many good friends who have picked me up or held onto me through the turmultuous storms. I am very blessed.
Work and business changed. A decision to return to LoewCornell brush company has proven to be a good decision. I am branching out into the West Coast, having taught in Houston this year, Seattle last year and next. And at the moment I stand in the winds or more changes and decisions to be made as I contemplate, observe and feel the affects of our countries poor economy. Sometimes we have to make difficult decisions in order to survive or live our life in a manner in which I desire to….key words here are peace and serenity.
Deaths, births, an ever evolving screenplay of Life continues to play . Like everyone else, the necessary and sometimes constant shifting to find balance and most importantly acceptance, with all the changes.
This has been a good year, an empowering year filled with challenges and growth. I smile as I write this and acknowledgement gratitude for the health of my family, the presence still of my parents and immediate family, good friends who have had their own challenges. The secret to survival, I have found, is to open up your hands not only for holding anothers but also, reaching out. It is okay to ask for help, it is in fact a strong person who can put ego and pride aside and humble themselves. In doing so, however, comes beautiful gifts.
Here is to 2011, to all of us still standing, those who have passed this year, to change, challenges, growth, joy and a brand new year to start anew……. Welcome 2012 and to all, wishes for a healthy, humorous, joy filled, quality filled New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hugz