The full prompt from Linar Studio: “What is one thing you did this year you think you’ll remember for the rest of your life?”
The last trip I took to the beach with my sweet Dexter. When we got back to Colorado after a month in Waldport, he was diagnosed with a fatal cancer, given a very short time to live. By some freak miracle, he’s still here, but we will never take that trip again, never spend weeks at a time talking long walks on the beach followed by long naps and then another walk. I will always remember how much he hated that long drive, two days in the car, how this last time he shook and panted and whined, but when we arrived, he knew just where we were and was so happy. I will always remember how he rolled in seal poop and how bad it smelled, how excited he was to find a tennis ball and a frisbee on the beach (“what?! free toys?!”), how he played and played, ran and ran. I will never forget that’s the first place he had a bloody nose, a reverse sneeze–the first signs of the cancer.
The full prompt from Besottment: “What storm did you weather in 2012? Big or small… obstacle(s) did you overcome? Feel free to be literal if you prefer… was there an actual storm that you survived?”
There were private storms, things I can’t really talk about here, don’t ever talk about here, ugliness that goes on “behind the scenes.” What I can tell you is how hard it is to love someone so much, to want what is best for them, but have to stand by, helpless and hopeless, watching them fail, struggle, and suffer. I’ve had to realize, accept that I can’t force anyone to change, and that I also can’t love them enough that they’ll want to change.
Year in Review
The full prompt is from Carolyn Rubenstein’s Reverb11 list: “As you reflect back on the happenings of 2011, what were your high points and what were your low points? What do you notice as you look back on the year as a whole?”
- In February, I stopped drinking. I’m not an alcoholic or even close, (although I have some significant relationships with people who are, and that certainly taints the experience for me), I just realized that I never felt good when I drank and it wasn’t fun anymore, so I stopped.
- I took vows.
- Hosted a Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop, facilitated by Rachel Cole.
- Blogging from the Heart and Unravelling with Susannah Conway.
- Saw Ani DiFranco in concert.
- Shambhala Sadhana retreat in Boulder with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.
- Was finally brave enough to say hello to Danielle at one of her concerts, helped her make her latest album through Kickstarter.
- Telling True Stories with Laurie Wagner.
- Fearless Creativity: a Writing and Meditation Retreat with Susan Piver at Shambhala Mountain Center.
- The Power of Vulnerability, a two day workshop with Brene’ Brown.
- Spent a month at “our” house in Waldport, Oregon.
- World Domination Summit.
- Dream Lab and Cultivating Courage, (my story was used in the course), with Andrea Scher.
- Taught another awesome section of Writing for the Web at Colorado State University.
- Open Heart Project virtual retreat.
- Celebrated 19 years of being married to Eric.
- Turned 45 years old.
The Bad and The Ugly
- Dexter was diagnosed with fatal cancer, and has had a few related issues that were pretty scary and sad.
- A cancer scare of my own.
- An ongoing struggle with being a highly functioning food addict.
- From time to time, I really struggled with my meditation practice.
- Our washing machine died.
- Some stuff I don’t even want to talk about here.
You know what I notice as I look back over the last year, kind and gentle reader? It was a great year, I have a lot to be grateful for and am so lucky.
What do you really wish for?
The full prompt, from Cam of Curly Pops and Kat at I Saw You Dancing: “Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven’t had the chance to accomplish yet? what steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?”
This is so hard to answer, because there are things I want to do before I die, but they might not be important enough to do if I only had a single year left. For example, I want to write a book. That matters to me, is important. I have something to say that feels like it needs to be shared.
And yet, if I only had a year left to live, I might want to spend every minute, rather than working on a big writing project, with Eric and my furry boys, with people I love, who make me laugh. Maybe get a house on the beach for four of those months, spend another four in a cabin in the mountains somewhere, and the last four in our tiny house that I love so much, doing the stuff we love to do.
The full prompt, from Meredith’s Daily Angst: “What brought beauty into your life this year? Was it a tangible thing or something intangible?”
Gifts: little and big, received and given.
Connection: with all the beautiful, open-hearted, brave people I’m lucky enough to know. Long conversations about life, love, impermanence, books, eye brow waxing, and dogs. Laughter.
Time and Mindfulness: All the hours, the moments, each breath spent experiencing nature and love and joy and rest, meeting reality with an open heart.
The sky: it has been amazing this year, a real show off, every season, any time of day–or maybe I’m just now noticing it?