Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Winter Solstice

I've always loved the Solstice. It is a time I try to sit quietly, reflect, let go and move on. I've packaged up my notes of gratitude and am starting with a clean jar. I am working on "slowing down". I'm backing off. I'm turning inward. I'm doing more things that bring me joy and fewer things that don't. I can't wait, but considering my goal is to slow down, I think I will be patient and wait. 
I will be still. I will be intentional.

Happy Solstice. I hope you take time to appreciate your blessings and to stand up to injustices.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Something New

It wasn't on my list, but yesterday I did the Sunday Service at my church, DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church. It was on Meditation and Meditative Practices and my own journey to find one that fits into my life. Gabriela and Marian Kraus introduced the congregation to a Gong Bath. There was a tremendous amount of positive feedback.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Life Celebrations

Disease + Accidents + Hospice + Birthdays + Anniversaries + Weddings + Showers = many, many life celebrations during the past five weeks.

These photos represent a small, small piece of "my people." 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What would you do to help another?

There are millions of ways people help. People donate time and money. People protest, speak to legislators, advocate, teach, learn, work, grow and reflect.

One of my 50 things is to really consider what would I be willing to do for another. Donate stem cells? A kidney? Foster children?

When discussing this with a friend, the friend said, "Well, don't you do that for a living?" Which is true. I do advocate for others. I volunteer, teach, learn and grow daily. But those things are normal. Those things are part of who I am. Those things are not on my list. My list is personal. During this decade I want to seriously consider what, if anything, I would be do for another human being that I was not necessarily 100% comfortable with, but would benefit someone else...something the other needed.

I told myself, when making the list, that I wanted to consider what I would be willing to do to help another. I don't have to do it. If the answer to myself is "no, I'm really not willing to do that," or "no, I really don't want to do that," I would be fine, as long as I really considered it.

I've thought of various scenarios. So far, the answer has been "no." Today, I am giving myself 4 weeks to consider a new one.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

the feet of a newborn

I have now been back stateside as long as I was in Spain. My muscles have healed, my bruises have faded, and my feet have peeled, much to the horror of a nail technician or two.

In the past three weeks I have continued my frenetic pace. Like many people, I have family and friends I see annually, at best. There have been joys; Traverrse City,

Chicago, Art Fairs, Flea Markets,  repurposed clothes, friends named Sara,

Concerts - Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, American English,

Baseball, Golf, a Fish Fry, a visit with my Dough Daddy's Dinky Donuts friends, several outings to Peet's, and even a chance to be back at work full time.

There have been sorrows in my community; hospitalized pets and spouses, a fire, car accidents, and deaths. It is rare that I get a message from my sister that says, "I need you to call me right now." It is even more rare when my cell phone rings and my dad's name pops up. That's the kind of week it's been. Loss and celebration. Loss and celebration.

With any luck the losses will slow and the celebrations will take over. Weddings, showers, birthdays, births, and the start of football/band season. That's how I intend on spending the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

walking to reconnect - self-discovery

A solo trip is good for the soul. I was able to walk silently and let my mind rest. My only responsibility was to walk and I had all day to do so.

When I returned, the kids were still alive and well, yet were happy I was home.

To end, here are some other favorite photos.

Thank you, Vanessa, Ashleigh, Wendy, Jennie, David, Vedya, and Jinny. Here we are at 100 km sign.

A special note found on the Camino, which I'm sure was written just for me.

km 0

After we arrived in Santiago de Compostela, I got my certificate of completion (with my name written in Latin), took a shower, got a foot rub, went to mass at the Cathedral de Santiago and went to dinner. In the square in front of the Cathedral is 0 km and the official end of the Camino de Santiago.

Some pilgrims choose to walk to the "end of the earth" at Finisterre, Spain along the western coast of the country. I chose not to finish there, as it is another 86 km and would require another 4-5 days. Jinny and I had a miscommunication out of the gate on the first day in relation to Finisterre/finish there. It pretty much kick-started our friendship.

Instead the trip ended with a fabulous dinner together with my fellow pilgrims and new friends, send-off churros y chocolate with Jinny and a trip to A Coruna, along the northern coast.

I stayed at an Airbnb. I was thrilled to do laundry, sit, read and play with the dogs. The dogs kept stealing the drying laundry.

I did venture to the sea for the afternoon one day, but sat in the shade and read a book. I was done with the sun.

I returned to Santiago two days later, met up with Heidi from Oak Park!

Tapas with some of my favorites was on tap for dinner and then a promise to return someday. I flew to Madrid and then home the next day.

I returned with very little money (less than 1 Euro), and a soul that is in a good place. In a few days, after the dead skin sloughs off, I'll also have the feet of a newborn.