Saturday, March 29, 2014

Birthday Revelations and Evolution

 It's my birthday! I suppose I should be humble about it all but to frank, I feel like shouting it from the rooftops. I am filled to overflowing with joy and gratitude.

So many wonderful things have happened and been given to me over the days leading up to and including today. I had floated a request to my loved ones for donations to Good Hope in lieu of presents and they came through. They donated more than $500 to the cause. It was special to have my birthday have so much meaning...

The past few days have been a whirlwind of social connection and LOTS of eating: schnitzel with my work colleagues, Thai with Elysia and Shirley, ribs lovingly prepared by my father-in-law (nothing says 'I love you' like dinner!) wrapping up with steak and chicken grilled by hubby. Cherry pie, cheesecake, birthday cake and apple crisp -- I foresee double-time on the treadmill in  my future.

My day started with me opening a text message from my far away sister - a video of herself whistling "happy birthday". I didn't even know she could whistle! Not to be outdone, my local sister called me up and started singing happy birthday to me - and despite my pleas to stop - she finished the whole song. God I love having sisters!

My girls and their significant others migrated back home for our family dinner and amidst it all - I felt contented and complete.

And when each birthday rolls around, it queues retrospection; each year and my age become my favourite. I am not sure if life gets better and sweeter or if my appreciate does.

At fifty-four I am still a work in progress, educating myself about social justice and the human condition, allowing myself to be changed by my experiences, evolving, and seeking to become the best possible version of myself.

Me 'au naturel' - make up free at fifty-four. My face is lined with the road map of my life - my triumphs and challenges, my loves and losses. And I am really okay with all of it! I've earned every wrinkle and crevice.

I try not to question why I am so fortunate and blessed in a world where there is much need and sadness. I prefer to simply honour and appreciate every gift and aspect of my life. I love my life and the precious souls who accompany me on my journey. And for that - and so much more - I am eternally grateful. Thank you

Friday, March 21, 2014

Letting in the Light

Apparently it is officially springtime. I say apparently because even though the sun shone brightly, high in the sky today and melted the snow - freezing rain and more snow is on the way tomorrow. Winter hasn't strayed far - it's hiding in the wings, restless for an encore.

After more than twenty-six years in the house, the lilac tree in the yard has grown to fifteen feet and the once-low shrubs crouched beneath the front windows are so thick that they now obstruct the light. No drapes required. It's time to prune the foliage and trees that are overtaking our home. I have to cut them back so they can grown strong and healthy again. I have to let the light in.

And that goes for me too. Sometimes we have to clear away the dense, redundant and overgrowth to give the good stuff space to breathe and flourish. The tangle can choke and suffocate if we don't control it.

I read somewhere that the winter is the best time to cut back trees and shrubs before they start budding. It seems odd to be taking an ax to the thick trunks while their is still snow on the ground. It feels ruthless and cold - but necessary. Sometimes we have to tackle that which is holding us back with surgical precision to coax new growth.

I want to let the light in; to live in the light. And so I prune.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nothing Ventured

It's surprisingly liberating to stray outside the easy and comfortable for the risky and vaguely unknown. It's been over a decade since I've strolled that pathway. My job has been rewarding and presented its challenges - but it's been safe. I'm overdue for some noise.

So I'm sticking my neck out and catching a breeze. I have nothing to lose, but my pride could take a mild bruising. But the damage would only be temporary - a superficial wound.

But if the winds of change blow in my favour, I could have something wonderful to sink my teeth into. I could leverage my experience, exercise my leadership muscle and stretch my abilities.

Complacency lurks in the usual and the comfortable, and if you are not vigilant, it can quietly seep in and become a permanent cohabitant.

But I am not ready to relax into it; to surrender to the easy. I want to be stimulated; to feel alive, vibrant, and even a little scared.

And so I did it; I took a risk, and now I have to wait. And I do so willingly knowing that nothing ventured - nothing gained. And knowing that at the very least, there will be lesson concealed in the experience. And for this opportunity, I am truly grateful.