"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Being Thankful

As usual my schedule at this time of year is completely overwhelming as the end of the semester clashes with the beginnings of the holiday season. But in my car, stuck in traffic, I have time to think and observe and dwell. Understandably this time of year often turns one's mind to what it is they are thankful for. 


This morning I found myself contemplating things I am thankful for that I had not control over. I was born who I was when I was and that has afforded me privilege that others have not had the opportunity to access. The commute this morning was particularly long and I found it humbling to acknowledge the advantages I have been afforded, through no effort on my part, while listening to stories about racism, and war, and terrorism, and refugees as the backdrop of my commute on the radio.

I like to think that I treat everyone fairly. I like to think that I take everyone's potential and treat it as equal. The reality is I do not always reach the heights of enlightenment that I aspire to. I am hopeful that experiences like this morning will enable me to more supportive and empathetic and understanding in my practice and interactions with others who have had to travel a more challenging path simply because of when and where and to whom they were born. 

So below is my list of things I am thankful for, not because they made me a better person, but because they offered me a path to the life I live and love ..... a path everyone should have equal access to.

I am thankful I was born in the United States,
I am thankful I was born white,
I am thankful I was born a woman, after the sexual revolution,
I am thankful I was born to middle class parents,
I am thankful I have never had to wonder where my next meal would come from,
I am thankful I have never had to worry about where I would lay my head at night,
I am thankful I have never had to worry about accessing health care,
I am thankful I have never had to worry about my education,
I am thankful I have never had to worry drone strikes or air raids,
I am thankful I have never had to defend my sexual orientation,
I am thankful I have never had to defend my religious beliefs,
I am thankful I have lived in peace. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all .......

The Thanksgivings

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer
We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here
          to praise Him.
We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered
          that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products
          to live on.
We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs
          for our lands.
We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming
          from them for us all.
We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows
          for our shelter.
We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder
          and lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun
          that works for our good.
We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank
          all its trees.
We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being
          of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,
          the stars.
We give Him thanks for our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard
          through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant
We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music,
          and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies
          on this occasion.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Has it really been that long........

I can not believe it has been this long since I have written a post. All I can say is life happens. My world, as usual, has been a tornado for the past year. Graduate school was a little more intensive than I had remembered it and with the program I am in requiring practicums & internships along side my everyday job it put a toll on just about everything - my health, my friendships, my marriage, my family and my sanity. 

But today I am in a good space. The Master's degree is finished, I have been promoted to a full-time faculty member at the University for which I work, my practicum led to a paid internship and in May I will graduate with the certificate needed to apply for a license as a mental health clinician. I have only eight more months of complete insanity before I can breathe and begin the new stage of life. I don't know if that means a new job or a new home or what. But I do know it means I get many precious hours back to do the things I enjoy instead of doing the things I have to do. 

It has been two years of working three days in one place, then two days in another, classes at night, grading papers, writing papers, reading chapters I can't remember once I have closed the book cover, exams, having four to-do lists, and many days driving half-way to the wrong place before I remember where I am supposed to be. Add to that raising a 9-year old who has to go to practices and swim lessons and drum lessons, finding time for quiet dinners with my husband, and our newest adventure of coaching soccer and my head spins just thinking about it. 

But I have learned a lot about myself in these two years - I have learned a lot about people - I have learned how to destroy & then save a marriage - I have learned how to be a more present parent - In essence I have learned how to find my Zen again. 

The reality is however that I do not do these things on my own. I have a family that supports me unconditionally in everything I do and a husband that sacrifices everyday so my dreams can become a reality. I am not saying he does this without complaint but he does it without question. We had gotten to the point where we had begun to take each other for granted, after 7 years of marriage I think a lot of couples go through that. We had become fabulous roommates but not very good life partners and in the midst of our chaos we learned to appreciate each other again. We learned to communicate again. And while I can't speak for him, I remembered why I married him in the first place. He is a family man and will do whatever it takes to make the family work. He cares for me when I have worked too hard and my body gives out and he supports our son who is at the heart of everything he does. He is a good man and I am thankful for him everyday. 

I have learned not to take what you have for granted because it can be gone in an instant.
I have learned not to let friendships fall to the wayside (though I am still working on this one).
I have learned that living life online is really not living.
I have learned that when it is all too much - just breathe.
I have learned to be grateful because there are so many others living in chaos & pain.
I have learned that I am stronger than I ever imagined.

In the midst of all the chaos I have been able to look back over the past year and realize that while my world is all topsy-turvy I have been able to continue to find beauty everyday. 

So I may not write here as often, but know I am still taking the time to observe our crazy world .......... and I will be back in full-force soon!