We all mark our time here on earth by dates and events, don’t we? Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and especially January 1st all signify that a certain amount of time has passed. We like to think about what we have accomplished, who we are as of this date, and who we want to be in the coming year.
I don’t mark my time that way much, anymore. In fact, I try not to mark time at all. It is difficult, especially because my brain wants to count the days in between scans, and make plans around them. So I do my best to just live each day in the present; which doesn’t mean that I don’t think that there will be a future of course, it just means that in order to get the most from it, in order to feel good about the future, I feel that I need to be really here. Grounded. Anchored to the day. What will happen today is what’s most important to me. What to be grateful for today. Who to see, who to talk to, confide in, laugh with. How will I take care of myself and others? What will my joy look like today?
Still, as the New Year approaches, it’s normal to think about the year 2014, and understandable to think about what 2015 will bring. Thinking ahead is what we humans were built to do. I wrote at this time last year about “remembering the light,” and I stand by that in 2014. That there can most certainly, through the dark, be light. I think (and hope) that I am living proof of that.
Last year I wrote about not just the pain that I had suffered in 2013 (which still resonates with me) but also the joyous moments as well. This year I think what I am most grateful for is that I only had to have treatment once, and that it was successful. I thank g-d for that. I am thankful that I got to spend so much time with my loved ones; whether abroad or close to home. I had others care for me, but I also learned a great deal about how to care for myself. This is an ongoing process—one that I’m not sure that I’ll ever have completely down, but I am proud of the fact that I have come such a long way this year in nurturing who I really am, on so many different levels.
In fact, just over this past week or two, I’ve come to not just see, but truly feel the benefits of taking the time to listen to my own body. My mind is grateful that I’ve listened, that I’ve found the time to tune out what the rest of the world may be doing, and march to the beat of my own drum. We’re trained to always be moving forward, to be monitoring progress with how much money we have or how many plans we have on the calendar or what our house or car looks like. Those are nice things, but I now realize that the joy in life seems more obtainable when I am mindful of the gratitude for the things that complete my life every day. The things that we can so easily take for granted. Love. Friendship. Work. A good, long, hot shower. Amazingly fresh produce. The ability to be in touch with each other in a matter of moments. Hearing your cat purr. And last but never least, g-d willing, good health.
Amazingly, what I’ve found is that the more that I connect to what I actually want to be doing (giving myself permission to release the guilt of not doing something else), the more in-tune I am to what my mind and my body needs. When I “give in to that” (i.e. take care of myself), I am happier. I feel healthier. Part of that I realized this weekend is disconnecting from social media, emailing, and texting. I am that person who always has her phone on her; at work, while exercising, in my car, and it’s always on my nightstand so that first thing in the morning I can check it. But for what? I love keeping in touch with my friends and family, but the other parts of it—checking Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, even my own blog stats—well, it becomes consuming, doesn’t it?
On Sunday I decided to leave my phone upstairs for most of the day while SHL and I juiced, read, watched TV, napped, worked out, meditated, and did some writing. I can only say that the combination lately of resting, spending time with my hubby at home, blogging, juicing, exercising, making time for meditation, and reading has made me feel more centered and I think in-tune with my body than ever before. During the year when SHL works on the weekends (perhaps because I don’t want to be alone?) I tend to make plans every second of every weekend. I’m either exercising, doing errands, cleaning the house, having brunch with friends, at a yoga class, cooking, grocery shopping, or blogging. I love all of these things. I love being busy, and clearly I love being around others (I miss my friends when I don’t see them often). But rarely do I find the time to just rest. I’m finally getting back into reading. I’ve now napped two weekends in a row. Instead of watching TV at night I’m looking through cookbooks. Something has shifted. It’s as if with SHL home more, I’ve finally given myself permission to just slow down.
So 2014 has been filled with all kinds of things—fear at being told that my tumors were growing, having to make a decision about what kind of treatment to get, being scared that my body may not repair itself, that my knees wouldn’t strengthen again after my liver ablation, that my back would ache, that I wouldn’t find the commitment to juice. Lots of fear. Anxiety. Making tough decisions (at least for now) that push up again my rib cage making me lose my breath when I think about them. But it’s also the year that my body got stronger. That I started exercising. Juicing. Cooking. And, towards the end of 2014, resting. It’s the year that my relationships strengthened. The year that I got a best friend’s girls weekend in the Dominic Republic where all we had to worry about was whether we were going to the beach or the pool that day. The year that my Mom and I drove up to Maine and took long walks and ate good food and relaxed at the spa and wandered around museums in autumn. The year that SHL and I explored Europe together for the first time; that we had authentic Greek cuisine and went on a gondola ride in Venice and drank real Turkish coffee near Ephesus. I haven’t lost my passion for traveling and seeing the world with my loved ones. I will never lose that.
I can’t wait to see what 2015 holds. I am eager to find the happiness in between the birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and vacations. I believe that as wonderful as those events are (and I truly love them), the sweetness of life actually lies in the nuggets of our every day lives. I want to continue listening to my body, soothing my mind, taking risks, and meeting goals (if I could get something published in 2014, what can I set my mind to for 2015?). Where will we travel to? What adventures will we have? How will I help to nourish others, and how will others help to nourish me? Will my words continue to resonate with others? What new foods may I be eating in the next year? How much more will my spirituality grow? I continue to strive towards being a curious, healthy, adventurous, and loving person who lives authentically. I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store. But time on this earth is what we make of it. Whether you keep track by days, months, or years, make every day count.
Having said that, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I don’t believe that when the clock strikes midnight we can just all of a sudden change something major in our lives (and if you can, then more power to you!). It’s not a bad thing to try and change something in your life that you may be unhappy with. It’s more the “overnight/resolution” thing that I find holes in. If I’ve learned anything over the last year, it’s that we need to set intentions for ourselves every day, January 1st or not. We need to be kind to ourselves and others, we need to listen to our gut and have more faith in our inner-ally. I don’t intend to all of a sudden wake up on January 1st and become the most organized person (though that would be nice) or stop craving chocolate or vow to call my Aunt Edna every week. I try every day to be the best that I can be, for myself and for others. Sometimes I nail it. Most of the time I don’t. But I’m learning that’s OK. The goal isn’t to get it perfectly. Strive for lightness and not stress, and the feel of the whole day (and year) may shift.
So as we watch 2014 come to a close and we open ourselves up to a brand new 2015, I just wanted to wish each and every single one of you a very happy and very healthy new year. Though I try to incorporate gratitude into my every-day practice, it does also seem like an appropriate time as the New Year rolls in, to let you all know how grateful I am for your friendship, prayers, support, and love.
This year, SHL and I have decided to end 2014 and begin 2015 with rest and renewal. We are listening to our inner-ally (who said that we were tired!) and instead of traveling as we were planning to do, we have chosen to take a “staycation” instead. We hope that these few days will be filled with lots of fun and adventures (as only we can get ourselves into!), but we also hope that it will be brimming with relaxation, quiet time, and connection as well.
Having said that, I am going to be trying something: Disconnecting from social media, texting, and emailing. This doesn’t mean that I’ll be off the grid entirely, I’m sure (I may even post here on the blog once or twice, but please forgive me if I don’t, and be sure to check back after January 5th). Basically, I want to try and “unplug”and not have my phone with me wherever I go (in fact, as I write this, I’m not even quite sure where my phone is at the moment. Victory!). I want to feel like I’m out of the country (we won’t get our mail, do any chores, pay any bills, or basically do anything that we don’t want to do during our staycation, hopefully!). My goal is to re-connect with SHL and continue to give myself permission to slow down and enjoy some peace and quiet. I know that you’ll all approve.
Wishing my magnificent Team loads of happiness, good health, green juices, quiet time, love, peace, good food and drink, rest, renewal and laughter. Happy New Year!