Navigating the Journey
Author: A Peaceful Hippy Girl Living a Peaceful Hippy Life
I recently read a quote written by Mother Teresa that sweetly says,
Gratitude is the Mother of Joy
Joy is prayer - Joy is strength -Joy is love
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
She gives most who gives with Joy.
I believe that consciously cultivating THANKFULNESS is a journey of the soul. A journey that begins when we look around our spaces and see the positive effects that gratitude creates. I find I do this more and more when I notice those around me whom gratefulness comes easily and I realize how much I enjoy being around these types of people. When I am with people who celebrate Joy in the smallest moments, I feel as if I can tap into their gift of Joy in the present moment and find deep gratitude for these human beings who are consciously more aware of their moment-by-moment experiences and can live fully within each moment with an open heart and mind. I live to learn from these sweet souls and I find them crossing my path more and more each day.
I thought I'd take a small moment and share how this season of thanks touched me as I took the time to focus on the small joyous wonders of this Thanksgiving.
The morning began with a pull of the heart-strings when the sensations hit me square in the chest that this would be the first holiday season without my mom on this Earth. My mom loved the holidays and always enchanted our home with her creative touches. A gifted artist, paired with an open heart of giving, equals magical childhood memories. My family (including furry family) came to my rescue with hearts open and just listened. I needed the softness and the physical hugs of support (or licks) so that I could release this lingering energy of grief (will it ever go away?) and begin to find joy in the present moment. Today is Thanksgiving 2018 and I have a lot to be grateful for.
I gave myself permission to revisit these precious and bittersweet moments on my mom's last visit to Colorado. I knew she would not be returning to Colorado ever again and I cherished each moment with her. The grief of what "could have been" visited me often that trip and still comes around. I realize guest emotions stopped by unexpectedly and that i should welcome each one with openness but sometimes when they come a knockin' I just want to slam the door. I'm a work in progress I remind myself often.
That brings me to this year, 2018. A year of many, many losses. Too many losses, but I am strong and I am wise, and I have the courage to keep taking one step at a time. Just putting the feet on the ground and stand up each morning has been difficult some days this year, but making myself get up and walk at a brisk pace has been what keeps me staying positive and focused on the NOW.
This year's Thanksgiving brings new family members. Jordan's mom Cindi, Grandpa Al, and Marley (Cindi's Boxer) AND new(er) friends, Stephanie and Maria, as well as the Damiani's who are faithful friends who come and celebrate this holiday with us when they stay in Denver for the holiday.
Cindi Jumps right in with the tradition of the "Regurgitating Squirrel" sounds and impressions. Always gets a laugh and a new rep each year. Cindi lost her mom recently too. We shared holiday stories that featured our moms. Jordan's grandpa just moved her from Nebraska after the loss of his wife and came to be supported and cared for on this first Thanksgiving without his spouse of many, many years.
The love between a Grandfather and grandson is always so special to me. My three male cousins all had a great bond with our grandfather. Seeing Jordan with his grandpa gave me a glimpse of the man he will be as he ages. Strong, funny, sensitive, tender, determined, kind, loving, smart, and just a decent human being.
The newly added family members bring a sense of fresh joy to the Spencer clan. We always welcome anyone through our doors and these two and Eary (Cindi's husband / not pictured) are wonderful additions. Oh, and Marley the tiny Boxer!
The Thanksgiving break has some wonderful momentum and brings so many more joyous moments. Friday found Dave, myself, Amanda and Ray doing a brewery crawl (we actually drove in Amanda's new car). Unfortunately, the pictures disappeared and I'm bummed because I took some really good ones of Amanda and Dave tasting brewskis. Maybe they will show up at some point and I'll add them. We hit three breweries, Four Noses, Odd 13, and Big Choice. Samples galore and although I don't really like the taste of beer, I sample it all and try and learn the difference between tastes and types since my daughter is a brewer! Our friends, Dave Bobko and Stacy joined us at the last stop and we enjoyed devouring complimentary nachos that the owner brought over.
Although only one image survived, I found a quote that reminds me of the moments I spend with my daughter and her husband, Ray. More abundance of joyous moments.
That it will never come again is
what makes life so sweet.
I would change the words "that it" to That this moment will never come again... BUT, this is an Emily Dickenson quote so it's already perfected.
Leftovers are the tradition and we all gather again to share a second meal in gratitude. Dave and Ray watching football games, shouting and getting Al all riled up, while Amanda and I work on Peaceful World Yoga's final 3o0 Yoga Teacher Training edits that will be completed by Sunday. I am truly grateful for this amazing woman's help. She can take all the thoughts from my head that I manage into semi-comprehensible words into these beautiful descriptions, learning objectives and manuals. She's got a way with words in a different way than both Kelly and myself have. Although our writing styles different, the blends of styles are beautiful and greatly appreciated! Yoga books of all sizes and shapes are scattered across the counter as we dive into each one with determination and purpose. I find joy in the moments of unconditional help and assistance from my daughter's heart.
Saturday evening found Dave and I at our neighbors having a delicious home-cooked meal of Modules Frite. Their three-year old son, Quentin was quite the little chef, equipped with his apron. I love how this tiny chef knew his way around the kitchen like a pro. He's so conscientious about how the foods are progressing and checks often and has quite the food vocabulary.
The frites are cooking up nicely here. I didn't get a chance to snap a photo of the Module and the Rattatoue before we all gobbled it up. A wonderful meal, with like-minded friends who raise the level of conversation to the point Dave and I always enjoy. The tiny chef joins us for dinner and devours his mussels and broccoli and of course the frites! He passed on the non-gluten free pecan pie and dutifully scolds his mom for enjoying a piece when she too is gluten free. He tries to scold his dad too but dad retorts with the fact that he's Not gluten free and therefore gets to have as much pecan pie as he'd like. The tiny chef raises an eyebrow to that.
Tiny chefs sometimes can't contain their excitement of their creations. How can I not find joy in these precious moments?
Alas, it's Sunday evening and I'm organizing the house so that I can begin the holiday decorating. The tree, the lights (inside and out), the nativity scenes that have been handed down through my family, and so many more shiny trinkets and treasures. Too many to name.
Tonight I reflect on all the gifts of gratitude, coming back to my belief that Gratitude is the Mother of Joy.
Gratitude makes us young
Gratitude makes us feel good
Gratitude promotes health and eradicates worry Gratitude draws people to us
Gratitude is the antidote for bitterness and resentment Gratitude cures the need for perfectionism Gratitude keeps us current in time and space
Gratitude opens our hearts
Gratitude spawns kindness and generosity
Gratitude joins us to ALL of life
Gratitude connects us to a sense of some form of Divine Spirit, whatever that means to each person and finally... Gratitude opens us to moments of pur Grace and Wisdom
I hope this season opens itself up to you, or perhaps you open your heart to this season of love and light.
The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is something much more basic than any technique: a change of heart.
Two of my favorite gratitude quotes by Richard Rohr can be found below. Richard Rohr is filled with a grateful heart and over the years I've read his quotes as they splash across the social media. He is one of those human beings that allows joy to overflow from his being, no matter his circumstances. I've always admired those who can face resistance with perseverance and strength. Those are the people who I find to be inspiring and wise.
I leave you with peaceful thoughts,
and peaceful actions that come from your hearts.
Until next time...stay safe, stay connected and find joy within.