One year ago today I settled into the phrase that would become my mantra for the year “This time, this moment”. I say settled into because what I wrote on March 19, 2015 remains true for me today. Staying in this time, this moment is one of the best things I can continue to do for myself and my kids. Little could I have known that those words would become so very important to me. These words truly settled deep into my being and have in many ways tethered me to this world in a most healing way as I have journeyed this past year.
I don’t want to share all of that writing here but there are a few things that bear repeating as I reflect upon what this year has meant and what this current weekend means to me.
Everything I have been doing to become more authentic, more real, more present in the moment, more me over the last few years has strengthened me for this very moment in time. Every breathing practice; every crisis I have walked through; every opportunity to learn let go of control and trust; every time I’ve swallowed my pride and asked for/accepted help; every problem I’ve puzzled over and solved; every time I’ve collapsed or spun out then found just a little more strength to step forward; every time I’ve closed a circle to create safe space – ALL of these have been practice for this moment in time.
Over the past several years, and more intentionally in the last few months I have practiced becoming stronger. I have learned to breathe deeply and exhale long. I have practiced grounding and centering myself so much that it takes little more than closing my eyes and picturing Avalon’s ‘magic” tree to feel the roots of my soul connecting to both earth and the Divine. I have practiced closing a circle of safety around myself so often that it’s become almost second nature to imagine a shield of protection and love around myself and those I love. Daily I have been practicing little ways to let go of an obsessive, deep instinct to be in control and understand everything. In life, especially on a farm, it is wise to learn that much we face will remain a mystery and out of our control. The best laid plans can still fall completely apart and you find yourself like Alice falling down a rabbit hole into an unknown land.
I have been learning how to stay in every single moment finding gratitude for the littlest of things.
As I sit in the quiet of my house this morning, smiling at the sun beginning to shine and the birds singing outside my window, I revel in the fact that finding gratitude in the littlest of things is still one of my greatest blessings. Living in this time, this moment is all any of us really can guarantee. Embracing all that life has to offer us can be such a gift. Learning to move with the waves rather than fight against them is really the only way to come out the other side in one piece.
Tonight we will celebrate Russell with a bonfire at our house. It is the first bonfire and large family gathering we have had at this house, our first farm, in at least 6 years ago. We’ve had a few smaller gatherings for the kids’ birthdays but tonight will be more. For tonight we’ve invited our family and the closest friends to our family to celebrate Russell and to remember him on the eve of the one year anniversary of his death. I feel a sense of tonight being a point of ending one thing and beginning a new one. We will celebrate surviving the first year without Russell. We will celebrate Russell and his life, sharing stories that can make us both cry and laugh. We will, hopefully, burn away some of the shock and initial pain of trying to learn to live a life without him in it. We will, again hopefully, begin to open up new doors to more healing and transforming. We will continue to weave the threads of connection and love.
Though I have dozens and dozens of different thoughts and feelings racing around inside of today what I am most feeling right now is gratitude, deep gratitude for so very many things.
I am grateful that the sun is coming out to dry the wood. I am grateful for the help we have had getting things ready. I am grateful to be reclaiming our home as a place to gather and play. I am grateful for the love and support of family and friends near and wide who continue to embrace and love my family as we walk paths of newness trying to figure out who we are and what we most need for our lives. I am grateful for children who I adore more than words will ever be able to express. I am grateful that writing is such a healing thing for me. I am grateful for the space and the strength to reimagine my life. I am grateful for a deep knowing that I am loved. I am grateful for the fact that what I wrote a year ago today about some of the tools in my self care belt still help me each and every day. I am grateful for my belief that the journey I take and the one my kids take is the most important thing in the world for us to focus upon. I am grateful for silly days and also for a willingness to cry and let go. I am grateful that I am not alone. I am grateful for all of the things that I have had the courage to say yes to and the things I have said no to, keeping ever in front of us self care as the #1 priority. I am grateful that we have made it through our first year something I didn’t always know was possible.
Most importantly, I am grateful for the ways that Russell continues to be part of my life and the knowing that will always be true. I am grateful for the love we shared. I am grateful that I continue to want his story, our story to inspire and heal others. I am grateful that I loved him and that he loved me.
What I shared in conclusion of last year’s writing is just as true in this time, this moment…
To the depth of my being:
I remain hopeful for healing.
I remain grateful for so many reasons and people.
I remain filled with love.