Giving Thanks

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love the fact that my family has these amazing traditions that only we celebrate because there is only one “us”:  Everything from who we spend the holiday with to what we eat to the fact that we line up our games and movies way ahead of time.  And every Friday after Thanksgiving there’s always an outing:  We used to do Civil War battlefields when we were celebrating in West Virginia (I love my family but SNORE– except for the year that we got a personal tour of Gettysburg from the historian Gabor Borrit, who also happens to live in an 18th-century farmhouse on the edge of the battlefield– yeah, I have a cool family), but it could also be going into the closest city and sightseeing (one year we rented a van and went all over Boston together; the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, etc. and one year we explored beautiful Concord, MA).  Some years we’ve gone to see the Hunger Games movies and other years we’ve taken hikes and learned about John Brown at Harpers Ferry or gone shopping out in Berkeley Springs.

I love the people who I choose to spend this holiday with, and I love the fact that there are no presents, it’s simply just about being together (and OK, maybe the turkey.  And the stuffing.  And the pineapple soufflé and the sweet potatoes.  But I digress).  My family really knows how to do it up—we gorge ourselves without guilt and then lie around and spend some time debating between playing  games or watching movies (we usually do both, multiple times if we’re lucky.  We are masters at Balderdash, Taboo, and Wits and Wagers.  Well maybe not the last one.  You mean people don’t eat 100 lbs of candy a year just themselves?  That’s just us?  Oh).  And I love the gratitude that is in abundance and the fact that I don’t have to go to work for a few days and that SHL and I get some quality time together even though we’re with others (something about traveling together and staying in a hotel and just getting a change of scenery makes it feel special, somehow).

I’m so grateful for being forced to slow down and do a whole lot of nothing for a few days.  I try to take gratitude with me wherever I go, but I enjoy the fact that this is “THANKS” “GIVING”—two great words.  I’ve started my own tradition of donating to Feed America on behalf of myself and my whole Thanksgiving family at this time of year (I can’t stand the thought that some won’t have the comfort, joy and nourishment from food that we all do not just on T-giving, but every day).

And so, I encourage all of you to really be present with the festivities during Thanksgiving and try to translate them into the rest of your year (and your life).  (I know that not everybody loves Thanksgiving and a lot of family stuff can arise, but even if you can just take this time of year to focus on what makes you feel joyful and at peace, that’s great).

I like to start my day with an intention and end it with loads of gratitude.  Some days that’s harder than others.  I just got over being sick for 2 + weeks with a cold and then strep and I was so frustrated and concerned for my immune system.  Worse than that, there has been a lot of grief around my office lately with close family members of my colleagues passing away.  And after what’s happened in Paris and what our world is facing, it can be tough sometimes to see the good.  I’ve had days recently where I’ve felt really angry and sad and like the whole world is upside down.  Today my intention was to just love myself and let myself be, even if I’m in a funky mood.

But my gratitude—that list is endless.  I’m grateful for a family that wants to protect me, the comforts of home like heat and a cozy bed and the fact that I finally started to feel well enough again to make shortbread cookies for my loved ones (little things), and friends that enrich my life more than I ever thought was possible (big things).  My relationships just continue to grow and deepen and as dark as the world can seem, people still continue to surprise me with their generosity and spirit.  And in a crazy way, I’m also grateful not for the cancer of course, but for all that I have learned about myself since being re-diagnosed.   And that is what I will focus on, as the world spins upside down…

So I ask you this my friends and family: What are you grateful for on this Thanksgiving?  And what are you grateful for… Always?

Love ya Team Lozier and wishing each and every one of you a very special Thanksgiving filled with yummy turkey (or tofu), whatever your heart desires.  May you give and may you be thankful. xoxo.

 

 

 

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Goodbye Guilt…

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I am so great about preaching to others around living a (at least almost) guilt-free life.  I quote my therapist frequently when talking to my friends who feel guilty because they can’t be in three places at once for their kids or don’t call their MIL as much as they should or only make dinner four days a week instead of seven.  I say, “Guilt serves no purpose.”  But the truth is, just writing it makes me feel like a hypocrite.

It’s so easy to say, and hard to believe.  And yet, I do deeply believe that if we work on self-care, forgiveness (not just of others, but of ourselves as well), express to our partners what we need and want, and actually take the time deserved to serve our own minds and bodies, we can slowly shed this guilt the way a snake sheds his skin.  Did you know that sometimes snakes will even rub up against a rock or something else hard in order to shed that old skin?  Maybe we need to do the same; go right up to whatever you’re feeling guilty about (work, kids, husband, money, food)—really get up in there, face it like a demon, and then scrub scrub scrub.  Goodbye guilt!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I’m going on Day 10 of a cold, and my guilt lies in not being able to be there for SHL in any kind of “wifely way” (i.e. I haven’t made dinner let alone the bed in the last week and a half).  I know my hubby; he would shake his head and tell me that I’m being crazy, but there’s this thing called wife guilt that I’ve been perfecting for the last five years, where despite what SHL tells me his needs or wants (and honestly making dinner or the bed is not high up on his list), I decide that whatever I can’t give to him is actually what he should need or want.  This is an art, my friends.

The other piece of the guilt lays in just how much work I’ve had to miss over the last two weeks.  I took time off to go down to Austin to visit my bestie and her family, which was time well spent, but then came back and was sick and missed a few days of work last week, plus I was out yesterday as well (sleeping all day).  I dragged myself in to work this morning simply because I didn’t want people to whisper around the office that I’m a slacker, which makes little to no sense since everybody knows my work ethic combined with the fact that they can all hear me hacking in my office.  I even caught myself apologizing to a co-worker for being out yesterday and hoped that she didn’t get slammed with work!  So what if she did?  I’M SICK!  Oh Sam…

I can see it so clearly through the eyes of my friends, but when it comes to myself, it is much, much more difficult.  And focusing on our own self-care, forgiveness, and living an authentic life sometimes takes a little push… Like, “I’ll focus on that someday.  Today I have to… “(Fill in the blank).  It’s only because of cancer, quite frankly, that I’ve given myself permission to really live FOR ME, and nobody else.  Most of the time.

I for one desperately want to release the guilt that if I am sick, I am letting others down.  This combined with the worry that my immune system is compromised and I’m living with cancer is enough to make me truly batty.  I don’t need it.  It’s time wasted, when really all I want is to be in the now and to be content with the present.

What do you feel guilty about?  In what ways does feeling guilty serve us (if any), and in what ways does it work against us?