The other evening we sadly paid our respects to a friend of my beau’s who passed away unexpectedly and much too soon last week. I only met her once a year ago, and I instantly got that she was a free, vibrant spirit who loved life with her entire being.
Memorial services for people I barely know always take me by surprise. I go thinking, “Why am I here, I didn’t even know this person?” Yet by the end of each service I find myself melting into a puddle of tears from all the stories shared by people who loved them. Whether it’s an elder whose body has given out or a younger person who leaves this world long before they’re due, the imprints they leave upon those around them are so profoundly felt in their memorial. The stories shared about people, their lives, the ones they touched leave me wondering if they knew? Did this woman who passed know that she contributed so much to so many by just being herself? One of her friends spoke about how she would light up the room with her trademark blend of elegance, poise and childlike playfulness. And then she said, “You know, these days, we celebrate people for their accomplishments, what they ‘do’, what they ‘have’… but we don’t celebrate people for just ‘being’. My friend was perfect because she just knew how to ‘be herself’.”
I saw how simply being herself touched so many people she left behind. And it got me thinking about how we position and posture for this thing & that and so often shove ourselves off the path of just being who we innately are and appreciating each other as such…even in our imperfections.
We meander around our relationships with friends, family, lovers and even strangers with the blinders of who’s doing what, and is it enough…and we miss actually seeing and embracing the spirit within them. We’re all here, trying to do exactly the same thing, which is living our lives for such a short time on this planet. So take a moment today to just soften our hearts. Drop the resentments and the defensive plays, and expand beyond that which holds us back from our own ‘being’. You might be surprised how special it can be in someone else’s life.
I returned back to the studio Sunday after the Thanksgiving holiday feeling renewed..a rarity amongst the holiday rush. After years of driving and spending Thanksgiving with family elsewhere, we decided to have a quiet Thanksgiving dinner with just the three of us here at home on Wednesday. On Thursday my beau and daughter went to his sister’s to spend actual Thanksgiving while I needed to stay home with our convalescing kitty who needed a few stitches after he encountered the neighborhood bully cat. I was thrilled because it gave me some great quality downtime. After my happy dance of sheer elation, my plan was to go for a hike, come home and do a long yoga practice, clean, organize, create our Christmas card, and read. I got the hike in, but after that little else was accomplished. It’s uncommon to get such a swath of ‘me’ time where nobody is home that I found myself simply wanting to stretch out on the sofa and watch movies. I was gaining more by doing absolutely nothing! Continue reading Embodiment: Gaining More By Doing Nothing
The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us! I feel grateful to have so many wonderful Thanksgiving memories under my belt. Growing up, we were relegated to the Kids’ Table at the far end of a long family table, but after the feast we’d make our way up to the head of the table where my grandfather sat. A bit tipsy after drinking André Cold Duck champagne, he’d put a few raisins in his glass and let us watch them float to the surface. Looking back I don’t even know why it was so much fun at the time, but I enjoyed hearing him laugh as my grandmother scolded him.In my 20s there was a period of time when all the women in my family went on strike from cooking and would head down to the Florida Keys where we’d stay for the entire week and eat Thanksgiving dinner out in great restaurants.
One year Thanksgiving was skipped altogether as I was traveling in Tuscany. While having dinner with friends we realized mid-meal it was Thanksgiving back in the States, so we toasted our families…and drank more Chianti!
Wherever you land, whatever you do, whomever you’re with, it’s a perfect time to devote your gratitude for the blessings you have in your life.
Once again, I’m sharing one of my favorite videos of all time. It’s 6min of gorgeous moments with the reminder to be grateful.
Do you think today is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day it’s the one day that is given to you today!
~Brother David Steindl-Rast
Tell me what you’re grateful for in the comments below!