Cheers to new beginnings and the mystery of the universe! October 30th will mark the one year anniversary of my divorce and it’s hard to believe that the person I was just one year ago embodies the same skin as the women who types this today. There have been so, so many changes. Must of them were painful, a few were joyful. And through it all, I’ve come to realize that I’m truly grateful for all of it.
To pay that gift of gratitude to the mystery of the Universe forward, I’m throwing a party (what else would you expect?) to help free other women from impoverished living conditions and sex trafficking through Trades of Hope and I’m calling it my Trades of Hope Mystery Hostess Party. What does that mean? It means that for the remainder of the month of October, every person who places an order with this party will have the chance to be chosen as the Mystery Hostess and receive all the hostess benefits! (Hint, that means incredible fair-trade stuff for free!). Weather you become the Mystery Hostess or not, I hope that you will consider Trades of Hope when doing your holiday shopping this season. They sell products from women around the world who create jewelry, home goods and gifts in order to lead their families out of poverty. This is a season of hope…please think of these women as you do your shopping and together let’s shine some light into the darkness. Thank you for your support! To shop, click here! To read about New Beginnings, scroll below 🙂
A Thrill of Hope this Holiday Season
It’s been a few months since we all fell back into the race: alarm clocks, bus schedules, school lunches, work, bills, homework, errands, practices, dinner, clean up, pack up, fall into bed, and start all over again. And yet, this year I am yearning for something new. I’m yearning for serenity in the midst of the chaos. And gratitude for the return of in-person school. And joy in day living.
I know I’m not alone when I say that last year was rough. Real rough. And yet, when I look back at distance learning and teaching from my bedroom in my pajamas while my kids went to school in their rooms in their pajamas, there was a beautiful pause from the busyness of life. That pause was essential. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have made it through my divorce and all the challenges of finding an appropriate mental health treatment center for my oldest son and the grief of losing our family pet if I had to show up to school everyday with pants that buttoned and shoes that didn’t include fluffy soft edges. The pause saved me from losing it completely.
I was able to add an extension to my pause due to my 5-week bed rest that followed my Hallux Limitus foot surgery in June. It was during my recovery last summer that I finally allowed myself to rest, emotionally and physically. As I wrote about in The Art of Nothingness, the rest was difficult at first. But after about two weeks, I found extreme peace and joy in my rest. Not only did I find peace and joy, but I also found something that I didn’t expect:
I found clarity.
It makes sense. It was like a 5-week long meditation. I had time to settle my mind in ways that I never have before. What I realized was that, at the end of the day, I have complete and utter control about how I choose to respond to events around me. I can take things personally and allow myself to get upset and watch my joy fly right out the window. Or I can take a deep breath and realize that it’s probably not about me. I’m just a little speck of dust bouncing around in an endless universe (Horton Hears a Who says what?). And also, I realized that I have so many unspoken expectations that usually fall short of how I think things should go, and when that happens, I allow myself to feel resentment and anger and frustration. And I don’t need to do that either. Now, I realize that not everyone can take a 5-week long staycation on their back, but everyone can read books that speak to their soul (like the 4 agreements did to me). And everyone can carve out just a few moments everyday to sit in silence (or drive in silence, or cook in silence, or walk in silence). And everyone can choose how they want to react to any given situation. It’s a simple concept, but it does take practice and commitment. And I believe it starts with the breath. Why not try it right now? Take one long, sweet deep breath in…..hold it….and release it. Ahhhhh. Repeat as many times as necessary throughout the day.
Moving on up
As a result of my 5 weeks of limited movement, I got real clear on what I want in my life and what is no longer serving me. One thing that shocked me completely was to discover that my beloved house in Boise was no longer serving me. It was haunted with memories of a life that didn’t play out the way I thought it was going to (expectations) when we moved here 4.5 years ago. For weeks I thought about what this house meant to me: everyday I’d have a cup of coffee out on the back patio while I iced and elevated my foot. I would watch the birds flying overhead and listen to the stillness of the foothills. I LOVE this space. I mean, I really love the serenity of my backyard. But what I didn’t love is when I hobbled inside to no one. No husband. No kids. No dog. Just me and my scooter and memories of a life that didn’t exist anymore. It became clear that it was time for me to say farewell to my beautiful home and search out a new beginning.
I love how when you’re really clear on what you want, the universe conspires to bring it to you. That’s exactly what happened when I saw my new home for the first time. She was cute, half the size of my current house, and in a lovely neighborhood within walking distance to the kids’ school. She has lavender bushes and a gorgeous tree with a swing in the front yard and grapevines, pumpkins, rosemary and even a hot tub in the backyard! She felt like me. I could visualize my kids there, around the kitchen table, laughing or doing homework or perhaps even rolling their eyes at me as I hang another picture of a llama on the walls.
“I’m rested and I’m ready to begin…”
This is a line from the Avett Brother’s song, February Seven, and it resonates with where I’m at today. I am rested and ready to begin my next chapter as Andrea Blythe. I’ve had a year to get my feet back underneath me, and even though there’s still pain in that right foot (a reminder always of my summer of the Toltec Scar), and a bit of lingering pain in my heart, I’m rested and I’m ready to begin. I’ll continue to take lots of deep breaths. I’ll continue to carve out time for silence. I’ll continue to spread the word about good works in the world, like Trades of Hope. I’ll continue to love my kids and the people in my life the best I can. I’ll continue to learn and to grow and to get back up every single time I get knocked down. Yes, I’m rested and I’m ready to begin. So now’s as good of a time as ever to bring on a puppy, right???