This post will come out on my birthday. Born in 1957, I am 57 this year. I call it my golden birthday but I have no plans for the day. It has been that way for years. My birthday is a quiet day to reflect on the year that is past. It is always a celebration because it is a day I think of those who have touched my life in the year past. It is a day I look back and intentionally notice the growth in the year.
This past year, in January, I had another bout of anxiety that took me down a bit. And yet, it was nothing like what I have dealt with in the past. 2 years ago when I had a stronger break after the death of my dad and a major surgery of my closest friend, learning about mindfulness was a part of the healing process. This time around, mindfulness was something like the exercise I learn in physio if I get an injury. Though my mindfulness muscles weren’t getting as much training as they needed, the knowledge of it was there to support me before the anxiety took me down further.
The anxiety was not as bad a thing as it sounds. It was a wake up call. I had allowed myself to isolate in become unbalanced in my self care in order to put my energy into my full time teaching job. I had allowed myself to put my blinders firmly in place so that I was ignoring the warning signs along the way. I was putting on my deity hat again, trying to take care of all the things in my life. It wasn’t a conscious choice to do this. It was more a choice made by not making choices to move beyond my safe walls.
Mindfulness had taught me to listen and accept my feelings. Joining a writing challenge helped me to articulate them rather than bury them deeper. This blog began for that challenge in January. It was my last ditch effort to break out of the growing isolation that was becoming my life. It has become a joy as it calls me to write and share the mindful gifts in my life.
– Those who wrote with me in the 31 day challenges that has now continued for nearly six months
– The people who welcomed me back into the community of faith I have been in and out of in the past three years because of past history
– The other teachers in my school who have been encouraging even when anxiety was so much on the surface
– My students who give me joy each day I am with them, sharing with me their enthusiasm and efforts as well as hugs, high fives, and special art.
– My children who keep touch with mom and make sure I am remembered on Mother’s Day earlier in the month
– My grandchildren who fill me up with hugs and stories and let me play with their toys
– And my closest friend who teaches me what it is to be accepting by his acceptance
Tomorrow is a day of celebrating life. I have everything I need to make this day special — connections to people I care about.
“Shade for a man
And shelter for animals,
Planted in your name,
May you be the same
for those around you,
Every year the same.”
― Nancy J. Cavanaugh