Saturday Gratitude #7

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Here we are at Saturday Gratitude post number seven already. These posts really help me slow down and connect to myself, and I hope they trigger good stuff for you, too. (Please share in the comments if you’d like!)

So, here are three things I’m grateful for this week:

1) The robins have arrived, signaling that it really and truly IS spring.

And they are everywhere. There is something moving to me about the way they are completely absent from the landscape during the winter, but they always return when the weather warms up and claim their territory as if they never left. Seeing them again reminds me of the mama robin who built a nest on our front porch a few years ago. She protected this nest so fiercely that I had to tell the mailman to leave the mail in the back, because the robin would fly at the head of anyone who ventured up on the porch. We left the porch to her until her babies grew up enough to leave the nest. I was tempted to call her mean, but what looked like meanness was actually excellent parenting.

2) Anger. And recognizing I needed to act on it.

Anger and I have not always had a very, shall we say, friendly relationship. My tendency has been to press it down or pretend it’s not there. But actually, anger is a friend — and a good one, if I listen to its message and make a conscious choice about whether or not to act on that message. Karla McLaren calls our healthy anger “the honorable sentry.” She says it helps us protect what needs to be protected, and restore what needs to be restored. Yes. I’m grateful I was able to honor my honorable sentry this week.

3) Four fluffy little dogs moved in across the street.

They move as a chaotic little group, each wearing a different colored harness, pulling their owner all over the sidewalk. It’s a delight to watch and I look forward to seeing it frequently.

What are you grateful for this week? I’d love to hear, and I wish you plenty of moments to be grateful for in the week ahead.

Image is “First Flower” © Tomas Stasiulaitis | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Saturday Gratitude #4

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Last week’s Saturday Gratitude didn’t happen due to the fact that I had finally surrendered to sickness (see #2, below). But today, we’re back! Here are three things I’m truly grateful for this week. Play along with me if you’re so inclined.

1) Clarity.

I’ve been struggling for a long time with some issues that just wouldn’t seem to budge, no matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried to push through them. Once again, I had to come to the realization that pushing through does not always work. In fact, when I’m dealing with a complex tangle of stuff, it almost never does. I had to reach a place of acceptance — at a deep level — and now that I have, clarity is starting to peek through the clouds. Yay for clarity!

2) Health (and self-acceptance!).

Well, relative health — I’m almost feeling like me again. For eight days, I struggled with a bad cold and really could not function in a normal way. Of course — as tends to be my way — I fought the fact that I was sick for about four days and tried to function normally anyway. As above, I defaulted to trying to push through when, in the long run, it would have made things easier and simpler to accept that I was sick and give myself the rest I needed. But it took me four days to get to that place. Letting go does not come easily or automatically for me, even after twenty years of practicing. So, here’s where self-acceptance sweeps in to save the day.

3) Weather and walking!

Today, it feels like winter in Chicago again, but yesterday — oh! For the first time in ages, I was able to take a long walk in the sunshine and enough treacherous ice had melted off that I wasn’t slipping all over the place. I could even feel the onset of spring, and the birds and squirrels chattered wildly everywhere I went.

And I reconnected with how incredibly valuable — vital, even — it is to get out and be in nature. Walking outside solves my problems. Really, it does. Or maybe the more accurate way to put it is, it shows me that what I thought was a problem is actually not a problem. I just get so stuck in looking at it a certain way that I believe it’s a problem.

Walking, connection with the earth beneath my feet, shakes up the stuck. So, gratitude, too, for being healthy enough to walk, to move; for being able to hear the sounds of the birds and squirrels; for the ability to see the sun glinting on the melting snow, the dog trotting by, the smile on the face of the woman walking it.

What are you grateful for this week? I’d love it if you’d share.

Image is “Frozen Sun,” © Sebastian Corneanu | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Three ways you can feel more creative — right now

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When people tell me they’re “not creative,” I know they are lying. The truth is, we are profoundly creative — it’s our natural state. We don’t need to “work” at being creative. And I think most of us know that when we’re in a truly creative space, it feels like play, not work.

What we do need to work at is sustaining solid habits that support our creativity (which often isn’t easy). We need to commit to making regular time and space for our creativity to take center stage.

Believing we need to work at being creative is a good way to get stuck. We can’t “lose” our creativity. We can only lose touch with its flow.

But sure, we don’t always feel creative. And that’s okay. While I don’t believe we should force the flow, I do believe there are things we can do to welcome its return, to summon it back to us.

1) Get rid of things that feel unsupportive to you.

These can be small things — I’m not necessarily talking about ending a relationship or quitting a job here (though you may make those choices at some point!). I’m talking about things that consistently drag you down, in small, nagging ways.

For me, recently, that meant unsubscribing to a couple of popular blogs, one for writers and one for entrepreneurs. I’d been telling myself that the authors “knew what they were talking about,” and I needed their information — but I felt slightly depressed every time I read one of their posts. I finally realized that their messages of “This is what you must do to be successful” didn’t apply to me, because I don’t define success the way they do.

We’re all hit with so much information in a given day, it’s vital to get rid of any that doesn’t feel supportive to us.

2) Make your workspace appealing to you.

Whether you write, paint, or bake amazing things, having an uncluttered workspace that you love can make a huge difference.

I am hardly a minimalist when it comes to decorating – I actually feel good having a certain amount of “friendly clutter” in my home; it’s part of how I relate to my environment. But yesterday I took some time to clear piles off the table I work on, to dust its surface, to put away some coats and scarves that were thrown over a chair. And it’s like I’ve been given a fresh slate when I sit down to write. My mind feels clearer — I can even see the characters I’m writing about more clearly.

Decluttering also shifts energy and signals that we are willing to let go. This willingness is crucial to creating, which is a process of birth and death, building up and eventually letting go of — or even destroying — what we’ve built.

3) Briefly revisit what you love.

You can do this immediately. I have a framed Jaws poster in my office, and I only have to glance over at it to be reminded of why it’s one of my favorite movies of all time (characters! editing! Quint’s Indianapolis speech!).

Or, a couple of nights ago I made a Pinterest board dedicated to Beatrix Potter. That woman was an amazing artist and writer, and when I look at one of her pictures — and her accompanying words — I am instantly reconnected with some of my deepest loves: animals, stories, and dark humor. (Yes, Beatrix Potter’s books are full of dark humor. Only in “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers” can you find two mice trying to make a kitten into a pudding).

None of this has to take very long. And for days when you’re feeling overworked and profoundly uncreative, a few minutes of presence can be priceless.

What helps you reconnect with your creativity on a moment’s notice? I’d love to hear, in the comments.

Writers: Tomorrow, Feb. 27, is the last day to register for the next session of The Writer’s Circle. This group offers terrific support for writers who are struggling to finish a project or build a daily writing habit. Find out more, here!

Image is “Colorful Bubbles” © Judy Ben Joud | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Saturday Gratitude #3

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It’s already time for another Saturday Gratitude post! How can that be?

Here is my list of what I’m grateful for as this week draws to a close. I’d love it if you’d join me if you’re so inclined!

1) Being reminded that support shows up in many ways, and that true support is not necessarily about having lots of it (quantity support), but the right kind of support — the kind that feels, well, deeply supportive! (Quality support!)

And when I began to focus on the fact that I already have quality support in my life, it actually began to feel like massive quantities of support. (If support is an issue for you right now, you might want to check out my previous posts on support, here and here.)

2) Old things that feel like new things. Like my Oscar the Grouch slippers, which I rediscovered while cleaning out my closet. As soon as I saw them there, I thought, how could I have forgotten about these? And they went on my feet immediately. Not only do they make me happy, but: permission to be grouchy! Which, sometimes, I truly need.

3) Coffee, tea, candles, and sweaters. So many small (and inexpensive) ways to add warmth to a winter that feels terribly long. Oh, and let’s not forget the best one: cats on laps!

What are you grateful for this week? Feel free to share if it feels good to you.

Saturday Gratitude #2

After I wrote my first Saturday Gratitude post last week, I noticed how my attention shifted ever so slightly over the following days from what I was lacking to what is here already. And it’s funny how much more clear my choices and focus become when I am not in that panicky, lack-filled place.

It’s also so interesting to notice that, often, I don’t need nearly as much as I think I do. My needs only seem enormous when I am in that place of lack, and assuming that it is reality.

Then yesterday I happened to run across a Martha Beck piece on Oprah’s website where Martha mentioned that research shows that it is impossible to experience appreciation and fear at the same time. Yes! I noticed that so often this week.

So here is my Saturday Gratitude list for today — three things I am grateful for as this week draws to a close. We’ll see how today’s focus on gratitude shapes the coming week! And I’d love it if you’d join me in my experiment, if that feels good to you!

1) Writing in warmth. After last week’s computer crash, I finally have a new computer up and running, and because it’s a laptop, I can write anywhere in the house instead of sitting in my rather-cold office, which, truth be told, I had been feeling less and less inclined to do. This is kind of perfect, I realize, because I have been needing to approach my writing with warmer energy — more safety, more permission, more “it’s okay to be exactly where you are with this writing. It’s okay to let it be what it is, nothing more, nothing less.”

2) Recognizing when it was time for me to get offline, particularly off Facebook, and following up on that awareness by — getting offline! And how incredibly grounding and replenishing that turned out to be. As wonderful as the online world can be, as I stayed unplugged for a good while yesterday, I felt the remembrance that there is so much here, in the physical world, and in my own inner world. And it is good, and rich, and nourishing. With nothing else added.

3) Noticing old patterns coming up for me, and then noticing the thought that I shouldn’t be still doing this! Not after all these years. And then (here’s the part I’m truly grateful for), recognizing that, yes, the patterns are still here, but the way I interact with them, the way I deal with them, is much, much different than it was ten years ago. Or even five. And that, to me, is some kind of miracle.

Want to share yours? What are you grateful for this week?

Saturday Gratitude

In keeping with my intention to create new, supportive rituals this year — both in my life and here on this blog — this is my first Saturday Gratitude post.

I’ve been noticing the connection in my life between gratitude and creativity, and here’s what I’m discovering: creativity does not flow from a place of lack. And when I have a “not-enough” mentality, I end up putting a ton of pressure on my creativity to make me feel better, make me money!, make me feel successful.

But (as I’ll talk about in my next post), we are in relationship to our creativity. Imagine putting pressure on a person to make you feel better, make you money, make you feel successful. My hunch is that person (if they had a decent amount of self-respect) would run from you pretty quickly.

The same goes for creativity. It loves us when we express gratitude for it, but tends to hide from us when we pressure it.

So every Saturday, I’ll be winding down my week with a focus on three things I’m grateful for. And I’d love it if you’d join in, if that feels good to you!

Here’s this week’s list:

* My computer died this week, and I managed not to completely freak out. (And I’d backed up my work — something I haven’t always done in the past.) AND, money flowed in from an unexpected source to partly cover the cost of a new computer.

* My 13-year-old cat is in wonderful health. In fact, my boyfriend and I refer to him as “the kitten” due to his youthful acrobatic abilities.

* Here in Chicago, we have beautiful, gentle, snow-globe-quality snow in the air this morning. I didn’t think I could stomach more snow, let alone be grateful for it, but I have to say, it’s just so pretty. So I’m grateful not just for beauty in the world, but for my capacity to see it and appreciate it. That capacity is a renewable resource, for all of us.

What’s on your Saturday Gratitude list this week? I’d love it if you’d share. And most importantly, notice how you feel after you make your list.

A journaling experiment for the New Year

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I’m staring out my window taking in the snow-globe-soft snow that’s falling in the street light, thinking about what I’d like to share as this New Year begins.

And what I most want is to help you trigger some discoveries for yourself this year.

I’ve never been much on resolutions, but I do love open-ended intentions, or simply focusing on things that hold mysterious and positive questioning for me.

So here’s a little experiment I tried in my journal yesterday, and I thought I’d share it with you — if it feels good, see if it sparks anything for you as you move into 2014.

Step one:

Look around the room you’re in right now, or out your window if you’re near one. Choose three objects that light you up, that resonate for you in some way. Not necessarily the objects that you “like” the most, or are the most beautiful, but the ones that speak to you or call to you or trigger something in you that feels good.

Step two:

For each object, write down three adjectives that describe the object. (Hint: it helps if the adjectives work on two different levels — i.e., “solid” as opposed to “brown”.) Quick, off the top of your head — don’t think too hard about this! Do this for each object, one right after the other.

Step three:

Look through your list of adjectives — you should have nine words total. Pick the three from this list that resonate for you the most. Again, don’t think too long about this — pick the ones that jump out at you, quick!

Step four:

Take your list of three adjectives and look at it for a few moments. Now you can slow down a bit and get reflective. These words represent qualities that mean something to you, qualities you may want to bring into your life in 2014. 

Take out a fresh piece of paper and write each of these words across the top of the page. Now, draw an arrow from each word down the page and come up with at least one way you’d like to bring each of these qualities into your life this year.

Let your intuitive self take over here — allow yourself to make unexpected connections.

For example, one of my objects was the ceramic deer pictured above. It sits on my desk beneath my computer screen. The words I got from it were wide-eyed, healed (it has a broken ear that I’ve glued back on) and plump.

I like all of those words, but “plump” jumped out at me as the important one, so it went on my final list.

My logical mind thought, plump? Really? But intuitively, I know that plump, for me, represents robustness, stability, exuberance. How can I bring more of this “plumpness” into my life this year?

The first thing that popped into my head was “play around with more physical exercise.” So I wrote that down. (Ah, a clue! Any new form of exercise I try out needs to feel like play. And isn’t it funny how the idea of bringing MORE “plumpness” into my life — not less — led to me to exercise?)

Actually, I love “wide-eyed”, too. I want to face this year with even more curiosity, beginner’s mind, and freshness. How can I bring this wide-eyed quality into my life this year? The first thing that comes to mind is “Slow down and listen even more closely when people share with you.” Yes. That feels right.

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear how it went for you, in the comments.

Wishing you a beautiful start to your 2014! Whether we connected here on my blog or we worked together or we’re only “meeting” now for the first time, I’m truly grateful you’re a part of my experience as the New Year begins.

Embracing the everyday + the Sunshine Award!

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Something that often comes up when I work with one of my lovely clients is the creative visionary’s resistance to accepting “the everyday”. Sometimes I call it “the mundane.” One of my clients calls it “real world crap.”

In my twenties, I ignored “real world crap” to the point that I became ill and had to be hospitalized. I was defining “real world crap” at the time as: paying bills, eating decent meals, getting good sleep, doing the dishes, doing the laundry.

The creative visionary part of me said: that stuff is boring and it won’t get me where I want to go. Focusing on that stuff is a drag.

Fast-forward fifteen years and I realize that the “everyday stuff” that I loathed so much back then is actually my friend.

Doing the dishes is an excellent way of being in the present moment and dealing with analysis paralysis.

Doing laundry is a great way of getting grounded, of coming back to earth, to the things of this rich material world, when my creativity has taken me far, far away from it.

Getting good sleep allows my physical body the rejuvenation it needs to move through another day with hope and resilience.

Paying bills is a way of acknowledging that money is part of the energy that supports me in living the life I love. (I didn’t want to accept this back then — money was boring, and “unspiritual.”)

And: because I, and many of my clients, are highly sensitive people, we tend to become easily overstimulated by the very creative work we love. There’s a point where, if we don’t stop when we’ve done enough, we are at risk of becoming ungrounded and burning out.

The “mundane” things of everyday life — walking to the mailbox to get the mail, mowing the lawn, saying hello to the neighbor — are actually vital ways of rooting us in the fabric of this earth, this world, the here and now.

So, if you feel like you’re spinning off away from yourself or swept up in a creative wave that feels a little scary, remember that “the mundane” can be your friend, dear highly sensitive creative visionary.

And, because you are who you are, I have no doubt that you will quickly discover the magic in the mundane, too.

And: The Sunshine Award!

The lovely Harula of wordsthatserve, who writes such amazingly true poetry, kindly nominated me for the Sunshine Award. Yay! I’m thrilled — thanks, Harula!

So, here’s me accepting, gratefully. :)

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Rules:

* Post a picture of the award on your blog
* Link back to the person who nominated you
* List ten random facts about yourself
* Nominate ten fellow bloggers who “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.” (I’m actually nominating six.)
* Comment on their blogs to notify them of their nomination

So here are ten random facts about me:

1) One of my earliest memories is getting sick on giant marshmallow chicks on Easter day. And of my mother warning me not to eat so many.

2) Last month, I achieved one of my lifelong dreams: seeing “Jaws” on the big screen — twice. Chills.

3) My favorite actress is Crystal the Monkey. Few human actors have this monkey’s range of expression — seriously.

4) My current favorite thing to watch on MeTV: “Rhoda.” The opening theme music is so whimsically weird.

5) I am happiest in weather between 30 and 70 degrees F. I love fall when it is brisk and slightly overcast.

6) My favorite book I’ve read recently is “It Chooses You” by Miranda July. So achingly real — and talk about embracing the everyday! This book proves that the extraordinary hides out in the ordinary.

7) Most of my favorite foods involve the potato in some form.

8) My shoe size is 7.5 M.

9) I’m kind of a chatty hermit. One of my gifts is connecting with others, but it needs to be balanced by lots of alone time.

10) I miss my grandparents more than I ever thought I would.

And my Sunshine Award nominees: every time I read one of their posts, I feel nourished and enlivened.

http://thesoulstoryjournal.wordpress.com

http://thisrosylife.com

http://alifeinbalance.com/blog

http://yourjoyfulheart.wordpress.com

http://kristinnador.wordpress.com

http://beautifullyzen.wordpress.com

Happy Saturday!

Top image is “Child’s Shoes” © Laukas | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Allowing your idea of success to change (as you do)

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This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. This week’s theme is “Success.”

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When I was eighteen, I visited New York City for the first time. (Technically it was the second time, but the first time I was three and literally all I remember from that visit is staring at an array of pastel-colored plush kittens in a little shop that also sold candy and newspapers, and crying because I couldn’t decide which color of kitten I wanted. Ultimately I chose yellow).

My best friend had an audition for music school there, and my father and I journeyed to NYC from our home in the Chicago suburbs to hang out with her during her audition process, and SEE THE BIG CITY.

Although I lived in the Chicago area, my life was suburban. Only very rarely at this point had I ventured into the actual city of Chicago, to see a Cubs game or go to a museum. But New York! As a diehard fan of Woody Allen movies, New York City was a place I was, surely, born to experience.

I loved it. I saw “Cats” and “A Chorus Line” on Broadway (yes, this was a long, long time ago), and hung out at coffeehouses and saw iconic landmarks I’d only seen in movies. I even had a celebrity sighting – film critic Gene Siskel (ironically, a Chicagoan and to me right up there with Bruce Springsteen in terms of awesomeness) walked right in front of our hotel.

That was it, I decided then and there – I was destined to live in New York City! There, I would experience success. There, I would experience BRILLIANCE!

My friend got accepted into music school in NYC, and although I was starting college as a theater major at Indiana University in the fall, I was now convinced New York was the place for me to be. Over the next several years, I visited my friend in New York from time to time and we kept scheming on the phone about how, after college, I’d join her there.

Except that didn’t happen. Every time I went to New York, I had tons of fun and I loved being with my friend and pretending I was in “Manhattan” or “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

But I never truly considered living in New York City. I never seemed to take any concrete steps to get myself there.

The reality, at this point, was that I had set up a life for myself in Chicago. And I liked it. A lot. But, Chicago was no New York, my brain nagged, and some part of me believed that I was “playing small” and somehow not living the life I was meant to live by remaining in Chicago.

At twenty-six, I visited my friend in New York for what turned out to be the last time. And, for the first time, I didn’t like it. It felt overwhelming, loud, and expensive. I listened to my friend complain about her exorbitant rent fee and endured shoulder-to-shoulder subway rides I’d once found exhilarating.

On a cab ride, I rolled down the window and peered out and the city rose up around me, beautiful and decadent and amazing. And I still loved New York. I just didn’t want to live there. After eight years of believing I wanted to live in New York, I had to tell myself the truth — I was perfectly happy where I already was.

We do this to ourselves – we fixate on an idea of what it means to be successful, to “live in the big city,” to have the stellar career (whatever it may be) that has us leaping into the stratosphere.

And this is good – it’s part of discovering ourselves. It’s part of listening to our longings and yearnings and understanding what they mean.

But sometimes our longings and yearnings point us toward something not so we can do it or possess it, but so we can own the qualities it represents to us in order to be who we are.

Our definitions of success are usually strongly merged with our perceptions of ourselves. This is why when we talk about success, we’re often really talking about identity, about what we know about who we are.

So at age eighteen, my definition of success was something like “being a sought-after actress who lives in New York City.”

Twenty-plus years down the road, my version of success is radically different — today, it’s “knowing and understanding myself better and better, and helping others do the same.” (Read more about defining your version of success, here.)

When it comes down to it, for me, success is a feeling within me that reinforces to me who I truly am.

Something about New York City – its aliveness, its diversity, its bigness, its vibrance – felt like what I wanted. And I thought I needed to live there to have it.

But as I began to recognize that that same aliveness, diversity, bigness and vibrance that I associated with NYC was actually within me already – as I started to own those aspects of myself – I no longer needed to be in New York to feel that way.

As a coach, so often I see clients cling to a dream, to a version of success, that they have started to outgrow, or that they’ve always been sure they need in order to be happy. But they’ve never really asked themselves if this is actually true.

How do you find out if you really want that thing?

By asking yourself how you think you would feel if you had it.

It’s the feeling of having that thing that you want, not necessarily the thing itself. (Get really specific here about what feelings you think having that thing would bring you.)

Once you’re in touch with the feeling you want – once you realize you can generate that feeling inside yourself without any particular circumstances attached to it – ask yourself if you still truly want that thing, if that “thing” is still a valuable part of your path. The answer may be “yes.” And if so, go for it!

But you may find out it’s like me and New York City: it may be something you thought you needed when you didn’t know yourself as well as you do today — when you simply weren’t owning the brilliance that, today, you know you possess. Whether you live in New York City or Timbuktu.

What about you? Are there any old definitions of success you’re ready to let go of? Does your current definition of success support who you are today? I’d love to hear, in the comments.

(Below, living vicariously through Woody: I still love New York.)

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The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do.  This post is part of The Declaration of You’s BlogLovin’ Tour. Learn more – and join us! – by clicking here.

Image is “Rainbow Over Manhattan” © Andrew Kazmierski | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Starting 2013: The Bitter and the Sweet

The tree; the culprit.

The tree; the culprit.

I’m welcoming the New Year a few days late, thanks to getting hit with the flu just as the old year was ending.

As usual, I don’t want to take down my Christmas decorations. Sometimes, I love the after-Christmas “hush” more than Christmas itself. I like to sit in my dining room and stare at my little three-foot fiber optic Christmas tree on its table in the corner, where it has sat for the past seven Christmases. I like to reflect and be still, preferably with a manageable coating of snow outside, to make everything sparkly and glistening.

But this may be my little fiber optic tree’s last year of service. Because of:

The Bitter

Eight days ago, while I lay half-asleep in bed and the flu wormed its way through my body and I flashed hot, cold and sweaty, there was a crash in the dining room.

My cat, ever-fascinated with my little Christmas tree, had jumped up on the table, gotten scared by the aluminum foil I’d put around the base of the tree for the sole purpose of keeping him away, and bolted, bringing the tree down with him.

“Good God, no,” I thought. “Don’t do this to me today, when the ibuprofen hasn’t even kicked in yet.”

I shuffled into the dining room and the tree lay on the wood floor like a slain animal, ornaments rolling in all directions. My cat lurked in the bedroom doorway, surveying the destruction with rapt curiosity, as though he had no part in it.

At first I thought that, amazingly, no ornaments had been broken. Everything seemed to be intact. But then, the carnage came into focus: a red flocked deer leg, delicate and tiny, lay on the floor a few inches from the tree. It was from my very favorite ornament ever — my vintage deer with the white wreath around its neck.

“No!” I moaned, cradling the tiny leg in my palm. “No!”

But more carnage was revealed: the Puss ‘n Boots ornament my boyfriend gave me for Christmas last year was smashed to pieces. A paw here, a boot there, his sword flung all the way to the kitchen doorway.

I cleaned up the mess, sweating and shaky. By the time I talked to my boyfriend, I had accepted that things I love had been ruined. Puss ‘n Boots, at least, was beyond repair.

And, I discovered later, the tree no longer lights up.

“That is so terrible,” my boyfriend kept saying into the phone. “That is so terrible.” He’s very into Christmas ornaments, and he’d helped me decorate the tree.

His reaction helped me put things into perspective. It was disappointing, but not terrible. My good friend’s dog had passed away unexpectedly just a couple of days before, and I stared at my little twelve-year-old kitten culprit and felt such deep gratitude that he’s healthy enough to wreak havoc with the Christmas tree.

Fast forward several days, to:

The Sweet

I read a beautiful, magical short story by Kij Johnson, called “26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss.” Of course, it’s a fact that I am completely obsessed with monkeys, but I don’t love this short story just because of the monkeys. I love it because it reminds me of how the everyday and the tragic are always, always, interlaced with the magical and the mysterious, if we look closely enough.

And: New clients to begin the New Year, clients whose authenticity, brilliance, and willingness to go there remind me of why I wanted to become a coach. Thank you, brave souls.

And: I’m flu-free!

I hope that you, too, are starting the New Year with hearty glimpses of health, magic, brilliance, and bravery.

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© 2011-2014 Jill Winski
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