This Time Last Year

This year has been in a word: surreal. Everyone who is reading this will certainly experience times like this; yet, nonetheless, it is not easy. This time last year – life was so very different than it is today. So many things have changed – forever.

Most of my followers know that my daddy passed away tragically and suddenly earlier this year; and my family has had to face life-altering changes. Every single aspect of our lives has been uprooted and it will never be the same. Yet, what I know for sure is this: gratitude trumps grief – every single time. Is it easy? No. Does it offer ‘A peace that passes all understanding’ (Philippians 4:7))? Yes.

There are so many people in our world facing hardships this holiday season. Loss of a family member. An unexpected diagnosis. The loss of all material possessions (think of the fires in California and the numerous hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, Houston, Florida and beyond). These are challenges most of us, in the human condition, will undoubtedly face at one time or another in our lives. Thus, we can find solace in knowing we are not alone.

During this holiday season, it can often be helpful to revisit for those things, experiences, and gifts for which we are grateful. I have written several posts over the years similar to this; yet, this post is different – as I have never ever faced losses as great as those we are facing this year. Holding fast and tight to those gifts I have been given over the 56 years I have been on this planet is the only option to navigate this season. The only answer is to be grateful for our lives AND to remain present in the moment (as I wrote about in my first book)… that is truly the only thing we have. Life can – and does – change in an instant. We are left with our memories. We are left with the imprint of love on and in our hearts from and for those who have left our earthly lives.

As we embark on the first holiday with our ‘new reality’, I have tried to capture a few blessings for which I am grateful. Some are obvious, others are not. I, for one, believe that by deliberately cultivating gratitude, we change our lives. We change our vibration…..and I also believe this attracts others who share that same energy…..which is a blessing of immeasurable proportion. So, this year of 2017, for what am I grateful?

• I am grateful for the love, unconditional support, encouragement, and tremendous role models of my family – mom, dad, and sister – throughout my life. Though daddy is now looking down upon us from Heaven, his presence will always ALWAYS be with us.

• I am grateful to my daddy who showed us how to die with courageous resolve, grace, Faith, and selflessness.

• I am grateful to my mom who shows us – to this day – how to age with courage, how to embrace the challenges God presents to us with peace and grace, and how to live a life of sincere interest, care and compassion for ALL others who cross her path.

• I am grateful to have Lulu, my rescue schnauzer; as she has become a treasured friend and constant source of unconditional love.

• I am grateful to Cleo, my sister’s 17 year old schnauzer, who was an integral part of our lives since she was a puppy. Cleo joined “Big Foot” (daddy’s nickname from our dogs) in Heaven a few months ago….and is a loss felt daily.

• I am grateful for my health, which though my body was tested a few years ago, it rallied for which I am grateful beyond words.

• I am grateful to my friends for their love, loyalty, and steadfast support. It was beyond touching to have so many friends of our family travel miles and miles to support us when daddy passed; and continue to offer care and concern months after, as well.

• I am grateful for the many men and women who serve our country, and in some cases have given their lives, to enable our freedom. Coming from a family of veterans, and my father having spent 11 months in a Korean hospital, our freedoms are way too often taken for granted. We are indebted to our armed services for the freedoms and safety we experience today.

• I am grateful to my clients and customers for their confidence and for helping me to continue to grow and learn in my profession.

• I am grateful to the men and women who have joined me in my most recent entrepreneurial venture – from whom I learn, grow, and expand my perspective of life.

• I am grateful for the dark night of the soul which illuminated by current calling and positioned me for alignment.

• I am grateful for the hardship of watching our parents’ age and their imminent departure, as it shines a bright light of the gifts of the present moment, the gift of their lives and the incredible journeys they have taken.

• I am grateful for the impermanence of life and the joy of ongoing evolution and change.

• I am grateful to the skeptics relative to my entrepreneurial ventures: Alignment, Inc. my book writing, and my R+F business – as they have served as my catalysts.

• I am grateful for those individuals who compare, compete, and marginalize my work in comparison to theirs as this motivates me to define my own level of success and contribution to the world.

• I am grateful for my very own ‘Mary Poppins’ who has looked after Lulu through a very tumultuous year.

• I am grateful to the critics of my books, my choices, and my ongoing writing – as it encourages me to reach deeper and be true to my own authenticity regardless of their opinions.

• I am grateful for the many challenges of life as they teach valuable lessons of Faith, Hope, and Love.

• I am grateful to our Creator for the beauty of our world, our lives, and the ongoing lessons we experience in “Earth School”.

These are just a few of the many blessings for which I am grateful. How can we instill an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ this last month of 2017 and as we enter 2018? A few thoughts:

  • Find pleasure in the simple things and keep a gratitude journal. Nothing fancy – just write down 1-2 things a day. It still amazes me and how it transforms our thinking.
  • Give at least one compliment a day or send a note to a friend who may need a ‘B12’. This will light a spark of love – of this I am 100% certain.
  • When icky bits happen, ask ‘what am I supposed to be learning or teaching through this experience’?
  • Find a cause or organization in which we can serve… my mom and daddy taught my sister and me – when we focus on others, our challenges will virtually disappear.
  • Say THANK YOU early and often…..and when least expected.
  • Live, relish, and embrace the Present Moment….as this truly is all we have.

For what are you grateful? Please share……we can all learn from one another. And blessings to each of you for a love-filled holiday season.