A thanksgiving jar full of gratitude 

We are finishing off our thanksgiving weekend in a blissful turkey and pumpkin pie coma. 

I am so happy that our first thanksgiving back, Jennas first one in Alberta, and our first one without Dad was such a raging success. There are holes in my heart from the sorrow of losing Dad, but I also feel like my heart grew four times bigger with joy, love, and happiness because we are able to spend time with our loved ones. 

Tonight’s part deux thanksgiving supper was another throw back to old times and was held at my aunt and uncle’s place. The only difference being this time I was seated at the adults table (usually I snag a seat at the kids table. It’s where all the fun happens). It worked well until the usual political discussion got heated, and then a couple of us vacated the room to make tea. It took a long time to make that tea. 

We laughed, we shared, we were together. It’s been a long time since we have had our family to be together like this with. Not a rushed visit, but a simple drive over to visit. Something to be thankful for. 

The entire day was one of focused gratitude. I woke up to this: 

Just in case there is ever any question as to whether or not I have things to be grateful for, the Universe gifted me with this breathtaking view from my home. 

I spent the day with my tribe, loving the fact that my kids are becoming such a comfortable part of this wonderful extended family we have. 

I finished the day with the kids and I starting a new thanksgiving tradition. We decided a few days ago that it would be a good thing this year to write down at least one thing we are thankful for and put it in a jar. We will keep the jar and add to it every year. That way we will have a record as time goes by of all the things we have brought as gratitude to thanksgiving. It was time to bring some new life to thanksgiving and we believe this will be an excellent way to do that. 

It was a big happiness day today. A whole day of gratitude and happiness. I am blessed. Happy thanksgiving everyone. 


Jump into fall

I took a cold induced nap this afternoon. When I went to sleep it was rainy and gross, when I woke up it was warm and sunny. Welcome to Alberta.

After I rolled off the couch and assessed myself – coughing less, breathing easier, thankful for that  – I looked outside and saw some of the family up at my cousin’s trampoline.

I headed across the field and spent a wonderful chunk of time watching kids (and once my sister) bounce and flip and generally have a great time defying gravity.

I’m loving the beauty of fall this year. This is my favourite view on earth. The view from home.

My happiness moment. Standing outside watching our kids – cousins- spending time together. We are so blessed that they are getting the chance now to grow up knowing each other. Standing in the beauty of the place I love so much. Happiness really does begin at home.


Opening the gates

One of my favourite childhood memories is of grabbing my horse and heading off through the fields for the day. It wasn’t until I started learning about meditation and the importance of connecting to Source (or God, or Nature) that I realized that this is what I was doing as a kid. Riding has always been a very spiritual activity for me and I have been blessed to have been able to ride for miles and miles in quiet freedom with the companionship of a beloved pony.

I haven’t come across a lot of really difficult gates in my adulthood – either they’ve made them easier to open or I’m not heading into difficult fields, I’m certainly not venturing as far on horseback as I used to. But, when I was a kid there were some incredibly difficult gates. I’m sure part of it was my age and size, but a larger part of it was those gates were made from insanely tight barbed wire – they were made to stay closed. Once in a while I’d be lucky enough to come across one that had a stick wrapped around the wire for extra pull – or I’d get really lucky and it would have that metal snap that went over the top. But, often I’d be stuck at some gate that was just barbed wire wrapped around a pole.

They were so hard to open. I’d stand there with my patient pony beside me pulling and struggling at the gate. Harder yet was when it would open and we would go through, because closing those tight gates was so much harder than opening them ever was.

For some reason it never occurred to me to just not go through the gates. I was busy exploring the ranch and if there were places I needed to go, then I needed to get to them.

Today when I was driving into town I saw a man come out from one of the fields where they are shooting a movie. He was standing at the gate trying in vain to close it. He didn’t have the technique down at all – the posts and wire were only half way up as he was trying to snap the gate closed – and I knew he was going to be there for a while. As I drove past he turned and looked at me with a face of frustration and impatience. I actually thought of stopping to help him, but there were a few other men standing around and I figured surely one of them would help him out. I was late for kid pickup, and things have changed just enough that I’m not comfortable stopping on back roads to help strangers the way I once was.

It made me think though, as I continued to drive to town, how much time I used to spend struggling with those gates. I would have been out all by myself, and have opened the gate so there was no option but to close it. I had been well-trained in the rule that if you come across a closed gate you alway, always, close it after you go through.

I am grateful for that part of me that felt like quitting was never an option. When I come into struggles in life now I think back to how I was as a child and I used to just keep moving ahead. Even if it seemed impossible, if I had a goal in mind I just kept working at it until I reached it. I think about it now as I’m on the quest to be the best me  which has involved stripping myself down and looking at the deepest and darkest parts of my soul. Walking away from that is also not an option. I can’t turn away from that anymore than I could have turned away and left one of those gates open. There’s certain tasks that need to be completed.

Sunrises seem to be my happiness scene these days. I started the day off looking at this:

The sun rising over the barn where I spent so many hours of my childhood. There are bits of all of my family’s souls in this building my grandfather built. It brings me constant happiness to be able to look out my kitchen window and see the barn. My happiness moment today was watching the barn be awoken by the sun this morning.


Putting down roots 

To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul. – Simone Weil 

My cousin put this quote on my Facebook wall yesterday saying it was something that reminded her of me. A lot of time over these past few years have been spent figuring out what grounds me and what to do about it. 

What grounds me? I rediscovered last summer that this grounds me 

I remember laughing about this fact years ago when I was riding all the time the only stable thing in my life is my horses. Over the years I’ve thought about that statement and refined it (I was in my early twenties at the time and if you’d told me I would be moving away from Calgary I wold have laughed hysterically)

Being home grounds me. Home in the larger word than just a house. Home where family is. Home at the ranch. Home where I look outside and see the barn. Home where I walk outside of my house and the first sound I hear is the gentle zerbert sound of a horse sneeze. Home where little Melissa ran around and played with her sister and cousins in the same yard her mom played and in the same yard her grandpa played. 

Like roots attaching into the ground I can feel myself grounding back in here. A different and more purposeful grounding than I had before when I took it for granted. 

This morning while driving home from the school drop off I had to pull over and take in the view of the mountains. It was breathtaking and I felt my soul smile as I stood outside of the car breathing in the morning air. As I stood there I thought about being grounded and being home and sticking my roots in. 

But then when I got back in the car the song Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond came on the radio and it brought me to Rhode Island summers. We had some beautiful summers there at the beach and driving to Newport and to Boston   That song is the song they play at the Red Sox games and Jacob became such a Red Sox fan there. 

I realized we had left roots everywhere we have been in some way, shape or form. 

One of the churches in Roanoke had this on their sign: bloom where you are planted and it became a mantra of sorts for me during my time there. I tried (perhaps too hard) to bloom and flourish no matter where I was. I have to say though, there are certain conditions that are absolutely better for growth than others. 

Learning about Ayurveda has taught me that a lot of my sense of being ungrounded is a Vata imbalance. I knew this, I studied this. I practiced a Vata pacifying lifestyle   And yet no matter what I did I remained unbalanced. 

Calgary physically is about the most Vata aggravating  place on the planet. It’s dry, windy, and cold, cold, cold. 

I knew that a lot of my imbalance had nothing to do with anything physical. I could live in a Vata pacifying place, eat Vata pacifying foods, and practice Vata pacifying routines and it wasn’t going to solve my problem. 

My issue was and is spiritual   And it’s being balanced in this most Vata aggravating of places. Where my roots are.  

Happiness moment: a little couch nap this afternoon with Ella the Cat being a purr machine on my chest. Part way through she rolled over, leaned down to where Dottie the Dotted Dog was lying, balled her paw into an unclawed fist and punched her a few times in the head. When Dottie looked up, Ella rolled over on her back and cuddled up to me so Dottie knew she was missing something. They pretend to hate each other but they actually have a pretty special friendship. Shhhh don’t tell anyone.