Gratitude Friday (on a Sunday, and two weeks late)

I used to have blonde highlights in my hair. I like the silver ones better.

Have I mentioned lately how busy I am? Not exactly, because I’m so busy that I haven’t even been able to come here much to say anything about it, or about anything else. Work has been NUTS. So many big projects, so much extra effort necessary. Then there’s trying to get ready for Christmas, which includes Eric’s birthday (12-16). Last Friday I was at Shambhala Mountain Center at the Fearlessly Creative writing and meditation retreat with Susan Piver, and this week I got turned around about what day it was, so here we are after two weeks of no Gratitude Friday posts, and I’ve got plenty of stuff to be grateful for…

Shambhala Mountain Center

The view from my bedroom window my first morning at Shambhala Meditation Center

1. Fearlessly Creative with Susan Piver. This is the fourth time I’ve attended this retreat. I love it, the place and her and the practice, so much. Even though I write every day for a lot of the day, I can lose sight of being a writer. I know that must sound weird but it’s true. I think maybe it’s because so much of the writing I do is in service of someone else’s mission, and there’s so much writing I want to do that I just don’t have the time or energy for, and because of that what I’m not writing feels more present somehow that what I am writing. This retreat, three full days of nothing but mediating and writing what I want to and discussing those things, reminds me — this is who I am. This time there was an extra bonus — my room got upgraded to a junior suite! It was really nice.

I always bring a few things to make myself more comfortable, like my own pillow and blanket and some twinkle lights.

Rigden Shrine Room, Shambhala Mountain Center

2. Practice. After going on retreat, I feel reenergized, recommitted.

3. Good mail. Along with all the Christmas cards and notes, there have been a few special surprises. This mug came in the mail today from a big hearted friend, and I’m not even sharing it with Eric.

4. Christmas Vacation. We went to see A Charlie Brown Christmas on my first official day off from work. As a kid, I loved the dog, the music, the awkward characters, and thought it was a sweet story. As an adult, I’m also painfully aware how white and aggressively Christian it is. I watched a small boy sleep in his grandma’s lap for most of the show, the little girl in front of me spent the intermission dancing in the aisle, and at one point Eric was sneaking me Rolos. Tonight, we are going out for Chinese food, a Christmas Eve tradition that doesn’t happen every year but I’m glad when it does. We’ve also been spending a lot of time in the pool and sauna at the gym. I love our Christmas tree, and there’s a bit of snow on the ground.

5. Sweet Sam and Ringo Blue. A friend’s dog is really sick, and it’s making me extra grateful for how young and healthy these two are right now. This in-between doesn’t last for long, this moment when no one is a baby and no one is dying, and I’m doing my best to be present with it, appreciate it, and remember that like everything else, it doesn’t last.

Bonus joy: my niece had her baby (!!!!!), things went well and they are both healthy and of course she’s the cutest thing e v e r, Christmas treats, tea with a dear friend, brunch with another dear friend, plans to catch up with yet another dear friend, clean sheets, clean laundry, a warm shower, a cold glass of clean water, hot apple cider, snow tires, twinkle lights, Christmas trees, just enough snow to have a white Christmas, good tv, finding the power cord I thought I’d lost, warm toast with butter and honey, cooking, watching The Great British Baking Show with Eric (although it makes me hungry, makes me want to bake stuff), a clean bathroom (thanks, Eric!), clementines and oranges, down blankets, being able to have enough and then extra that I can share with those who don’t, the promise of unopened presents.

I'd love to hear what you think, kind and gentle reader.

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