Happy New Year

A fresh start is around the corner.  My hope is that 2018 brings peace and joy to all beings and that I will cultivate more peace and joy in my own heart to share with others.

In the new year, my intentions are to continue to grow and release old habits that cause harm.  Here goes:

In 2018, I will work toward releasing:

  1. Criticism
  2. Shame
  3. Interrupting
  4. Talking more than necessary
  5. Negative beliefs
  6. Complaining
  7. Using my phone in bed
  8. Addiction to sugar
  9. Pulling my hair
  10. Staying up too late
  11. Reading online
  12. Ranting about housework

I will embrace:

  1. Acceptance of others as they are
  2. Doing housework with love
  3. Kindness
  4. Gentleness
  5. Healthy, low-carb foods
  6. Daily exercise
  7. Daily meditation
  8. Reading real books
  9. Buying nothing except groceries and other consumables (and gifts)
  10. Saving money in a serious way
  11. Being present
  12. Going to bed early

 

 

 

Growing old

I’ve been thinking more about growing old lately.  Why I am more aware of this concept lately is likely because I am facing my own mortality as a new milestone approaches: the age of 40.

Tonight I looked at the staff directories of my old elementary school and my old high school.  The teachers who taught when I was a kid have mostly died, left, or retired, except a handful who are remarkably still there. Some kids I went to school with are teaching there and they are among the older teachers now.  It’s a weird place to be, this place where everything is turning over and a whole new generation is starting anew.  When I was a kid, everything seemed so permanent.

The time I lived in Denmark as a child is becoming a smaller fraction of my life, and my grasp on it has loosened so much that it hardly feels a part of me anymore.  The part of me that was once so Danish is now so much more American, and the Danish things in me feel antiquated and artificial now.  It was all so long ago. I am out of touch with it–the language, culture, everything.  It has all changed and grown without me in it.

Lately I look at people who are my own age and notice they don’t look so young anymore, with sagging skin and extra flesh and greying hair.  And then I (shockingly) realize that I am that age, too, and that I also don’t look so young anymore, either. Although I feel inside like I’m the same age I was 10 or 15 years ago.

I don’t know what my point is of this post other than to express that growing old feels surreal.  The past seems distant now and not as significant as it used to be.  I’ve forgiven and moved beyond much in my past and am able to be present in a way I wasn’t when I was younger.  I am less ambitious now. I am more understanding and accepting of others now.  Life is hard–for all of us.  I feel insignificant and forgotten in a way I didn’t when I was younger, but it is in a way that is not sorrowful, but rather, freeing.  It is freeing to be somewhat rid of the past and of expectations that once were there.  I don’t have be anybody but myself.

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be twice my age–with all my teachers dead, parents dead, classmates and friends and family old or dead.  We just have to hold on to this strange ride and roll with the changes.  There really is no other option.

This is a photo of Anna at 3 years old having her first ice skating adventure.  Look at that curl on her forehead. She was so proud and said it was her dream come true to have those little skates on her feet. I couldn’t possibly love her more.  Melting…

What did I do to deserve such deliciousness? Life has been so good to me.

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The Nutcracker

Anna participated in the annual performance of The Nutcracker this year through the Academy of Russian Ballet. It was an intense and wonderful experience.  Anna learned the meaning of commitment in a new way. She performed through a bad cold and missed out on many weekends of downtime. In the end, it was worth it. She loves ballet and it is beautiful to watch her do it.

The Present

I am 39 years old.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve.

Winter is cold, but not too cold to take Anna ice skating.

I am glad Mercury is direct again and hope my vivid dreams will take a vacation for a while.

While many awakenings have happened for me in recent years, there is still more to figure out, such as:

Why am I so easily hurt by my husband? 

Why these perceived hurts so difficult for me to resolve and move beyond? 

How do I know what is reasonable to ask of others versus doing it myself?

Gratitude is the answer to easing the discomfort.  So is yoga and laughing and music and walking outside and long hugs. Still, I am seeking answers.

In the meantime, I am grateful for a husband who can hurt my feelings sometimes and who makes me laugh and feel safe nearly all the time. I am grateful for my children whom I have the privilege of knowing and loving. I am grateful for a safe, warm home with a dog and a cat and two Christmas trees. I am grateful to have these things to fill my heart.

Photos from today:

Goodnight.

Many thoughts

I had a couple of hours by myself tonight to look up and read about a variety of things that have been on my mind.  There are so many possibilities in this life, and sometimes I get so excited by them all that I have difficulty focusing on what I can realistically accomplish.  Many of the things I want to learn cost a great deal of money, so fortunately that keeps me from overbooking myself.

I have been interested for a long time in training in several modalities of trauma-informed therapy for mental health.  There are many out there that seem valid and useful. Those I am pondering now, due to accessibility and practicality, are Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

My training from graduate school is so broad and general that I feel like I need another degree if I want to specialize in anything.

A few years ago, I started training in Kalffian Sandplay.  However, I am not sure now that I want to complete the training, even though what I have learned so far has been interesting and useful.  I won’t bore this blog with the details about why I might not finish this training. I have a pretty strong history of not finishing what I start, and also in taking a long time to finish what I start.

Other thoughts:

-Pondering the idea of balancing family, individual interests (mainly kids), career, saving money versus spending (on kids’ interests), traveling with family versus saving (or spending on kids’ interests)

-Thinking about my yearning for spiritual/religious experiences without having a commitment or subscribing to dogma (ie. attending different churches or meditation centers to satisfy my hunger for this)

-Determining how much ballet we can afford in terms of time and money (Anna loves ballet), and also which studio to try out next (our current one isn’t going to work because of various reasons)

-Wondering what will happen or what I can do about what has become chronic back pain as well as chronic plantars fasciitis

-Thinking about how much I would like to dance, drink wine occasionally, and learn to sing.  These have all been inhibited by my rigid belief system that I am working on dismantling.

-Processing my lifelong difficulty in establishing and maintaining intimate friendships and that this is something I would like to improve upon in the second half of my life.

 

Bundled up from head to toe, Anna and I walked to the lake today.  The lake, a bumpy frozen tundra reflecting the soft winter light, took my breath away.  Anna skated on a small patch of smooth ice near the beach.  Purposefully, I had left my phone at home; the only photo I have of this moment is in my memory.  Living in the present moment and loving what is right in front of me–that is the key to happiness.