Next week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving: gratitude, the giving of thanks. I have many blessings: my 25+ year marriage with a man who still loves me; two healthy, loving, and interesting kids. We have lived in lovely parts of the country and been able to travel to many wonderful places. The fruits of our labor and the luck of the draw have been good to us.
I also have gratitude for the parts of my life that are a struggle for me—not just the blessings. Some yoga teachers remind their students to give thanks to the poses that we cannot do, even when those poses are difficult and stressful. Just as I learn to be grateful for the poses I can’t do in class, I chose gratitude for the issues in my life that bring me stress. I see how they reveal my potential. I chose to embrace my struggles. A fellow blogger posted this 1 minute video about stress on her blog and it hit home for me:
Here some of the things that I am currently mulling over in my head — next week they could be different. I am grateful to these issues as well as all my nachas.
1) I struggle to live a creative life. I still hear the words of a grade school art teacher telling me I didn’t have a creative bone in my body. Unfortunately that man’s voice was in my head for years. Even after writing a best-selling book, Fortune is in the Follow-Up®, I struggle to express myself creatively. This blog is one of several current creative endeavors of mine. I love this quote from the historical novel, Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan about Fanny van de Grift Osbourne, the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson, who also struggled to live express herself creatively:
“She really was an artist, but her art was not something that would be viewed in a museum or contained between the covers of a book. Fanny’s art was in how she lived her own extraordinary life. She was her best creation.”
2) I struggle to be the wife I want to be: less critical and more easygoing. I hope I am less Olive Kitteridge (another book I highly recommend) and more Camille Braverman from the TV show Parenthood. I have yelled over ‘split milk,’ made mountains over mole hills that were a complete waste of time and energy, and I have spent money that should have been saved. I want to be patient and loving to the man who is my life partner. Yoga and counting to ten helps, but this is a work in progress!
3) I struggle to be the daughter I want to be with my mother. The good news is that since her Alzheimer’s diagnosis 18 months ago we have been on a positive trajectory that pleases us both. But the bad news is that we live across the country and short visits every few months are not ideal. I feel pulled to her in ways that are new and surprising to me. Still trying to figure out how to solve this one.
4) I struggle to find a community of women with whom I can share my joys and sorrows. I had such a community years ago when we lived in the Bay Area from 1993 to 1999. After moving back in 2008, I expected that I would be able to find and/or create one again, but it has not quite happened. I have made friends through my different interests: yoga classes, stitching guilds, book club and a few other activities that keep me out of trouble. One friend called these micro tribes. But it feels segmented and I yearn for a more communal feeling from my circle of friends. Look for more posts on this one!
None of these are life shattering. I appreciate that my struggles are all first world and that I am a work in progress. I claim these struggles and the issues I work on that both stress and interest me. What are you struggling with in your life? Can you relate?
As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!