Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 in Review

     I just went through my Win List for 2017, an annual review that I love doing as a reminder of how awesome my life is, and how it continues to get even better.

  • Health: I recovered early in the year from pneumonia, and unlike last Christmas, I was healthy & well for Christmas 2017. I had successful cataract surgery in May, enabling me once again to drive in the dark comfortably.
  • Creativity: The BIGGIE--I published my second book, WHOA!, via createspace. A year's work went live on Amazon in October. Visual art became a fixture in my life for the first time, inspired by a Paint the Town adventure with girlfriends where I learned how paintings "happen." It was a game-changer. I subsequently did Zentangle drawings for my book, and took an acrylics painting class in the fall, and set up a dedicated painting area in the woman cave. I also started a three-person writer support group. 
  • Milestones: I passed 1,000 hours of yoga teaching. For the 20th year in a row, I swam over 100 miles/year. Dennis & I celebrated our 31st anniversary. I signed up for Social Security!!!!!!!! I ended my yoga teaching gig (over 4 years) at the Body Studio. I completed the second season of tax prep work, which funded much of the fun under "Travel."
  • Family: We had several great visits to Fort Collins to see our sons. Caila joined us as Derek's girlfriend. We enjoyed getting to know Aliza (Eliot's girlfriend) & Paisley (daughter) even more--Aliza is an accomplished painter, a joyful connection for me as a rookie. All five of them came to Wichita just after Thanksgiving, a time for the sons to show the girls their "roots." We had another super Christmas all together in Fort Collins. My Miller family back east is all alive and doing well. 
  • Travel: I organized & enjoyed a trip with travel bud, Lanie, to the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Seattle, Vancouver). A big driving trip back east included Camp Good Life, two new-to-me baseball stadiums and lots of family & friend fun. The annual Chicago/Cubs weekend with Cricket was in August. Dennis & I made trips to St. Louis for the annual Pockets reunion and Thanksgiving with the Hardin family. A trip to Minneapolis happily reunited me with grad school friends & got me to Target Field. I hosted another successful retreat experience at Timber Creek Retreat House in October.
  • Miscellaneous: We got new windows in our house, the last "major" necessary renovation complete. 

Loads of GOOD! Looking forward to even more in 2018!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

No Matter What

This is a "Note from the Universe" by Mike Dooley:
The path to enlightenment is not a path at all; it's actually a metaphor for the time it takes for you to allow yourself to be happy with who you already are, where you already are, and what you already have... no matter what. The "no matter what" part is big.
This is a challenge for me. I am generally happy with myself and what I have (plenty!), but the where-I-am part... I get into these funks where I just say, "Why bother?" It seems that most of the results of my efforts are average, mediocre, nothing spectacular, no matter how much effort I put into it. For instance, I put a full year of my life into writing and publishing a book, and in total I've sold less than 100 copies. I haven't even broken even on my costs. Why bother?
     I am well aware that this is self-defeating thinking. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to sustain a change in my thoughts. I also realize that I can't simply sit back and do absolutely nothing in life. It's an uncomfortable place to be. However, I know, mercifully, that "this, too, shall pass."
     Moving forward,


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Finishing Up

     I just finished my last regular Tues/Thur Forrest Yoga class at the Wichita Body Studio. Ending this regular class schedule after more than four years was my choice. While I enjoyed my time there, the decision to stop the classes feels right to me. 
     I simply want to say "thank you!" to my students, especially those who came faithfully over those 4+ years. It has been a great honor to get to know you and to support you in your physical and spiritual journey. I have been hugely blessed by your presence, and I have learned so much from teaching yoga these past few years. And we shared much blessed laughter!
     I truly appreciate all the gifts showered upon me by my students. Your kindness is exceptional. 
     My prayer is that the yoga community continues to grow, bringing the principles of the eight-limb path of yoga to bear on our world, especially peace. 
     I'll be in touch!
         With overflowing love,

Monday, December 18, 2017

Grace Reborn

     As I was walking yesterday at Sedgwick County Park, I was listening to Rob Bell's Podcast #176 with guest, Alexander Shaia, wherein they were discussing the "Mythic Power of Christmas." It is a very informative podcast about how our present-day Christmas traditions developed.
     As is usually the case with the Robcast I choose, it was just "what the doctor ordered." Mr. Shaia talks about darkness (as in the shorter days of winter AND the dark times in life) as being the place where grace is reborn. That brought me great comfort. As you can see from the past couple of posts, there has been much darkness surrounding me the past couple of weeks, including two unexpected transitions.
     Just as a human fetus takes time in the womb to develop, I feel like I have a tiny seed of grace to nurture in myself, and it will continue to grow and ultimately bring even more light within me. I'm holding on to that comforting thought, as I hold those who are suffering near and dear to my heart.
     Love and grace,

P.S. During my walk, I was delighted to discover this very unusual squirrel at the park. Being no nature expert, I'm not sure if this is albino or what? It sure stands out among the gray squirrels. I had fun playing with it to get this photo.

Friday, December 15, 2017

I am a candle. You can be, too.

     Right now, my candle flame is tiny and being battered by the winds on ongoing (yes, more) distressing news about loved ones.
     To back up... the big family news is our oldest son planning a temporary work adventure on the other side of the world, somewhere in Australia. That's good and exciting, and since that country is at the top of my travel bucket list, I'm happy about it. Nevertheless, that ongoing "letting go" thing with our kids continues to challenge me... my baby will be on the other side of the world!
     The other change I briefly mentioned in my previous post is a minor (tax prep) job change that is fine.
     Then yesterday, I received more bad news about several loved ones.
     I was discussing with my awesome prayer partner yesterday that I guess my role is to be a "life is good" candle in this darkness that is swirling around me. I was feeling so overwhelmed that I even sat down to paint last night. While I feel too much of a rookie at painting to title my works, this one has to be "Too Much Darkness," as that phrase just kept revolving through my mind as I painted.

The bottom center is my internal cave which is full of light.
     Then this morning, something happened which made me so angry, I could do nothing but soul-rinsing (commonly know as crying) which will ultimately make my candle flame brighter. I am grateful to friends who let me vent on them, which helps keep my flame burning.
     Lots of folks (LOTS!) are distressed right now. Angst is running way high. I think those of us who are aware of our nature as light truly can uplift others. It takes good self-care. It takes faith. It takes a close relationship with a power bigger than me, which, thank It, has things way more under control than I do.
     Please join me in keeping your candle flame going... we all need the light!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

But Wait, There's More!

     See previous post... Everything Has a Lifespan...
     As several friends can attest, earlier in the fall I claimed that I had a feeling changes were coming, but I didn't know how it would all play out. One change is dropping the two weekly yoga classes to make room for ???
     Well, over the last few days, even more change has been added to the pot that is my life. One change is so huge, I could never in a million years have seen it coming. It's all good, but it will be the biggest change in our family since having kids. Another potential change will be revealed later today. It, too, was initiated "out of the clear blue sky."
     To note my new book's title, WHOA! I feel like I set this cute little snowball called "Change" at the top of a mountain, Spirit gave it (me) a nudge, and that cute little sucker is roaring down the mountain getting bigger and bigger.
     I have mostly good feelings about all of this. I feel my faith in the goodness of life is strong. I have good friend support to keep me from overeating. I have the power (and will, if needed) to say "no." 
     I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Everything Has a Lifespan

     Note the title of this post. That statement can inspire good, bad or neutral feelings.
     This week, on Tuesday and today, I had the unpleasant task of announcing to my Tues/Thur Body Studio yoga class students that Dec. 21 will be my last time teaching weekly classes there. There were tears (mine and students'), and we all were bummed. Even though this move is my choice (and a decision considered for many months), there is still a grieving process I must pass through. I've been teaching on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for over four years. It will be quite a change to stop that.
     Alas, emotional upheaval like this for this addict makes me want to eat the entire universe. I am attempting to cope in a more productive fashion by writing. In addition, my husband is on a trip to visit a many-decades friend who is being treated for a very serious case of cancer. I am happy he is able to make the trip, but the concern for our friend is heavy on my heart. I swam this morning, which usually improves my mood significantly, but my heart (and body) couldn't even get into that.
     I am well aware that there is infinitely more for me to be grateful for and celebrate than there are downers in my life. I feel confident that there will be an end to my grieving, so for now, I'll just let myself feel the low feelings. Fortunately, there's plenty of food at home, so that I can stay away from the grocery store today! And I remember one of my favorite recovery phrases, "This, too, shall pass."
     On the way back up,