My heart is filled to overflowing with love, joy and gratitude for an amazing weekend of celebrating people’s love stories. I had the great honor of being part of two love celebrations over the span of two days. The preparing for these two events, playing at each party and the days following these celebrations have left me with much to be grateful for.
On Saturday night my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in their magical back yard with close to 100 family and friends surrounding them. Together we got to stand witness as Mom and Dad renewed their wedding vows in a ceremony filled with deep emotion. As Neil Diamond’s song “Story of My Life” played, I watched my parents stare deeply into each others eyes as if the rest of the world no longer existed. The world seemed to dissolve around them as I could feel their love wrapping visibly around them. It was truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I know much of their story and I know how much it means to them to have been able to recommit themselves to one another as they were surrounded by many who love them.
Then, on Sunday afternoon and evening, I was able to be part of the first wedding to be held at Avalon. The magic that I feel pulse throughout Avalon all of the time seemed to broaden and unfold like a blooming flower as Amanda and Matthew claimed their love to the world for the first time. Their wedding was like something out a fairytale – horses, flowers, joyous guests, music, playfulness, flickering lights, and a bride and groom glowing with their love and joy for one another. One couldn’t help but smile watching them float through their day and night together.
As I moved throughout my very full weekend – preparing pretty party spaces, dancing, laughing with family and friends, working hard to make sure things went smoothly, conversing with hundreds of people, taking moments of quiet rest and reflection – I thought often of Russell. It’s in moments like these that I sense both his presence and his absence the most. He loved gathering with friends and family more than just about anything in the world. Well he probably loved his silent retreats just as much, but parties were a joy to him. I had several moments throughout both celebrations that I could feel my breath catch as I swore I had just seen him in the crowd talking to this person or that person. A lot, and I mean A LOT, of emotions ran through me this weekend.
What I am left with today, after a full day of rest yesterday and beginning the clean up of spaces today, is a long list of things to be grateful for. While my body, mind and heart are saturated and a little achy, they are also smiling with gratitude for all of the many blessings in my life. There is no way I can name all of them here but I am definitely going to try to name as many as I can that have popped into my thoughts over and over again this last week.
*I am grateful for parents who have traveled a long road together filled with many joys and sorrows. To watch them recommit to one another with deep love after 50 years of marriage is a wonderful gift.
*I am grateful for children who I love more deeply every single day. Watching Kateri be part of the wedding at Avalon glowing as the beautiful young woman she filled me great love. Watching my sons, Demetri and Soren, snazzily dressed up and helping in whatever way possible over the weekend made me feel so proud of the wonderful young men they have become. The very best thing Russell and I did together was bring these 3 amazing people into the world.
*I am grateful for the opportunity to work and dream at Avalon Horse Farm – a magical place filled with possibility for love, joy and healing. The farm literally glowed this weekend and I could feel the very land pulse with magical dreams.
*I am grateful for family – near and far – that I love spending time with. To be friends with my family is a wondrous thing. They are talented, compassionate, giving, fun people. I am grateful I got to be with them this weekend, even if the time was way too short.
*I am grateful for friends who know me so well I don’t even need to speak for them to step in with a hug, a smile, a “you’ve got this”, a hug, whatever I seem to need in the moment. Even in those times when I slip into feeling alone I know I am not truly alone ever!
*I am grateful for being in place that I can miss Russell, even to the point of overflowing tears, but not be dropped to my knees or feel like I have to run from a situation. Integration is happening slowly and steadily. Love is the strongest thing I feel.
*I am grateful for feeling and being super strong, capable of spending long days working. Seriously, I feel like I kicked some real booty the past couple of weeks prepping the farm and my parents (at least a little) house for several big events. I couldn’t be prouder of how the farm is looking right now and I am grateful for the work I do to make that happen.
*I am grateful for the incredible Avalon Community that is in place right now. Leading this community to help our dreams unfold is joy, with something new happening all of the time. Yes I am proud of my work but even more so I am proud of the work that I coordinate to make it shine. I feel a little like Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek with his – “Make it so” leadership. To be part of an authentic community that works hard to make our shared love of Avalon shine is wonderful. So many folks have shown up in the last few weeks to help out wherever they can. And many of them have shown up just when my own energy was flagging. Together we are so amazingly strong and mighty!
*I am grateful for my core Avalon team. There is absolutely no way that I could pull off any of the things we dream of without them. Over and over and over again, these folks show up asking “what more can I do to help?” John, Denise, Nikki, Kenny, Lynette, Mike – all of these folks have spent dozens of hours every single week in the past few months helping make Avalon better and bigger. Without me asking they have helped into the night-time hours to make the farm sparkle. I would probably be a weeping puddle of a mess without the work they do. There are many, many others who help keep me strong and sane helping out in so many ways, but these folks always seem to pop up just when there’s one more project to get done.
*I am grateful for my pups, especially Miss Tara right now. Dogs have that amazing way of making you feel like you are the center of the universe. Tara especially does that with me, following me around and wanting to just be near me. Plus her sweetness just makes me smile everyday.
*I am grateful that my life is filled with opportunities for growth, love, joy, connection, and walking my authentic path. There is much I am still figuring out but then that is life isn’t it? That everyday I am able to walk in nature, be with my children, learn something new, laugh or cry with friends, rest my weary self, and dream of new possibilities fills me with such gratitude I feel ready to burst sometimes.
In this time, in this moment life is good, very good!