I am having a difficult time writing today, this last day of 2009. It feels self-indulgent to write about what a great year I have had in this time of political and economic upheaval and uncertainty. Politically I’ve never been more confused by the mood of the general populace and economically I can’t fathom what another 3 trillion in debt will do to our country and that of my daughter’s future. On top of that, socially, while I see many women helping each other get through their new stages of life be it aging, trying to balance work/family/elder care what have you I am continually disappointed when I witness pettiness, prejudice and gossip amongst us. And yet through it all I feel truly fortunate to live in a country where we can think and express ourselves freely and strive to find our unique talents and thus I take a moment to also give thanks to our troops who continue to put their lives on the lines for this very freedom.
When I look back on the milestones that took place in my life in 2009 I have much to be thankful for. First and foremost I was able to get off the corporate hamster wheel and leave my executive career. This gave me the time to jump into a number of projects including planning parties for my daughter's high school graduation, our move out of Orlando, my parents 65th wedding anniversary and in between all the beginnings of yellowfishcafe.com. Then a few months later my daughter left for college turning us into empty nesters. Boy those first few days and weeks were really difficult ones - I was totally caught by surprise at how much I would miss her.
But then the phone rang and I was unexpectedly invited to go hiking in Ireland with my niece. What a wonderful trip! There we were driving on the wrong side of the road, having pints in wonderful small towns and hiking out on the Dingle Penninsula, the Cliffs of Mohor and the Ring of Kerry. It magically lifted me higher than I've been in years and reintroduced myself to the me that used to do this on a regular basis in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Peeling back the onion to my yellowfish layers I was most fortunate to have discovered two of the best poets alive today, David Whyte and Mary Oliver. I now have most of their books and plan to read them cover-to-cover over the next few months.
I took my first painting workshop and was introduced to acrylics and a new way to paint "people" without fear. Thanks, Jane! I was so afraid that taking a workshop would impede my individual growth and I learned it does just the opposite. It helps you get there faster. At least with the right instructors/motivators. I look forward to my upcoming oil painting workshops in 2010.
I also spent a lot of time attempting to live each day with purpose. To feel the wind rush off the ocean in the morning, hear the small birds in the brush as I walked Lucy, watch how the clouds and light in the sky change each day and really listen to how these seemingly small things were positively affecting my spirit. Things that I know were going on while I was working those long hours but now were jumping out in front of me and begging me to write about them, take their picture or paint them.
I was and continue to study what it is like and how to be "in the zone" from a creative standpoint. And after nine months I can honestly tell you that I am starting to see changes. Just like everything else though it takes a lot of work, practice and patience. And of course I still have much to learn and will continue to have days and maybe weeks where I can't seem to find it. But the more sure I am of it, the more courage I gain. As an artist, a writer, an advocate.
So I now see that, for me, 2009 will best be known as the time when I learned how to slow down and wake up, the time when I remembered how to listen and see with my heart. Because when you have your heart and eyes open for those small, miraculous things that happen to us every day you can experience the yellowfish way of living, when time seems to stand still while your awareness expands. Even if it’s just a few moments, when we are in the zone we are truly living.
I am so thankful for your support, comments and emails and I hope you have enjoyed sharing in my experiences this past year as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you. I wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and passionate New Year!