It’s maybe time to revel in this place in a little…

I am thankful for my path as a human.  I say that jokingly a lot, but I think being alive and experiencing this world is a pretty magical thing.  All the extremes of emotions that can be felt as a person, all the experiences that can happen are amazing to me.  I sit in awe sometimes at how truly marvelous the world can be.  My life hasn’t been without challenges, but in a spectrum of existence, I know that I’m extremely lucky with the way my fate has played out thus far.  I am a lucky person that I have the ability to live the lifestyle I do and have the experiences I want.  I want to believe that there is a bigger plan in this universe, and that the things that I feel are missing my life are keeping space for adventures that are meant to be instead.  This is not a bad life and I am filled with gratitude that it’s mine.

The people in my life are inspiring.  I am not sure how I got so lucky to have the most amazing support network that a person could ask for, but I’m filled with gratitude that I’ve been able to nurture such deep relationships with such a broad range of people, especially over the last decade.  When I step back and look at the various families that I have added to my own, I’m humbled.  My Poser people, the Poltz cult, the Schmeers, my college crew, and everyone I’ve met since…you all make me feel like I belong to something.  I’ve reached this place in my life where I feel like it’s okay to be myself most of the time.  I feel like I’m accepted, validated and supported by some pretty incredible people.  To reject their praise and wallow in self-doubt is to deny their ability to select quality humans to surround themselves with right?  The same way I expect someone to believe me when I tell them they’re awesome, I need to not feel so uncomfortable with hearing the validation I so desperately seek.  So somehow, all of these people choose to love me and it’s amazing.  They guide me, inspire me, listen, offer patience and advice.  I feel like it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to be weak sometimes, and I feel like there is a line of people willing to put their arms around me and remind me I’m not alone.  I maybe discount that too often, but it’s a damn special thing.  I am so grateful that I’m not alone in this world and have such a diverse group of resourceful, caring people to reach out to.

I’m grateful for my career.  Maybe it’s luck, or chance that I got a temp job that put me on the path to be a marketer, but I love what I do.  I might or might not have loved being a teacher, but I am grateful my life took this pivot.  I really love evangelizing consumer products that people can be enthusiastic about.  I love finding new ways to bring awareness to tools that allow people to live their lives more creatively.  I am so blessed that my hard work has paid off and that I am recognized for my success.  I am well paid, appreciated, work with great people, and frankly, I am damn good at what I do.  It’s fantastic that I found something that pays me to do something I excel at.  I am so lucky that I’ve had so many wonderful, patient people to guide and teach me how to navigate the business world.  I have learned tons of lessons, been allowed to experiment and take chances, and given responsibility that helped me grow.  Being someone that gets so much of my self worth from my job, I revel in gratitude for all of the things that make such a major chunk of my life so pleasant.

It’s important for me to remember these things.  To be in this place instead of the darker place in my head where I feel like a rejected impostor, wallowing in what I’m lacking instead of what is thriving in front of me.  I need to do more writing like this.

Things I Love: Bella Gorgeous

Oy – last night, I thought I lost my poor little indoor kitty…and I was freaking the hell out. She got out, and didn’t come home until 4am – and I was a nutcase. I’m not sure what in the hell I’d do without her. So it seems like a good time to reflect on all the gratitude I have for this furry munchkin that I call “Bella Gorgeous.” (I also call her my ‘monchichi’ or ‘sleepy head fred’ depending on how I’m feeling at the moment.)

I may or may not have an unhealthy relationship with my cat – but damn, do I really love her. She’s my best buddy, and we’re very attached. We’ve been together for 7 years, and she’s not exactly friendly with anyone else. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for more than 3 and a half years, and you can count their interactions on your fingers. All of my cat sitters only know I have a cat because the food disappears and the box gets full…but otherwise she just kicks it under the bed when anyone else is around. I don’t mind, because it’s not like she hides from me…unless I’m being loud and clapping for sports. She’s always been sensitive to loud sounds.

We have some serious routines and traditions. She likes treats as soon as the alarm goes off. She’s not so much for the snooze button. Sometimes if I’m trying to sleep late on the weekend, she’ll get right in my face and start purring loudly with her cold wet nose on mine. She hangs out when I’m in the shower and likes to sit on the toilet when I get ready in the morning, or she lays under the heat lamps I have and gets her “sun”. (A friend of mine said it’s kinda creepy that she follows me everywhere, like she’s guarding me.)

She defines lap kitty – and really doesn’t care if you want her there or not. I call her the persistent, insistent cuddler. Sometimes she’s like a ninja. She’ll be head-butting my arm, trying to get me to put the laptop on the table so she can occupy the space, and I’ll resist and resist and then suddenly look down and realize she’s on my lap and have absolutely no idea how she got there. NINJA! She’s a great cuddler though, and I love when she plays “big baby” and just lays cradled in my arms like an infant, or lays along my side balancing on my hip. Normally when I go to stand up, she’ll just jump off my lap…but sometimes she does what I call “prisoner protest” and no matter how much my lap starts to slip away, she tries to reassert herself on my lap and get me to stay put.

She also likes treats as soon as I get home – and on days I come home early and give them to her, she also thinks that she gets them again between 5-7pm and will just sit at my feet and stare at me like I’m an idiot. She’s a total scrounger – and eating in my living room proves to be a challenge. I’ve set up all sorts of tricks and blocks to keep her away from my plates, sometimes resorting to just eating my turkey sandwich at the kitchen counter so I don’t have to do battle. No matter what I’m eating, she thinks she wants it. There’s been a few times when I’ve forgotten 1/2 a sandwich in my computer bag, only to find it in the morning spread across the living room. I figure at that point, she must have had a fun time and it’s my own fault for leaving things out. She may be quick on the draw, but at least she’s (mostly) good about staying off the counter and kitchen table, which is something. It seems like she’s always under my feet and when I travel, I sometimes forget that she’s not around and I find myself still extra cautious about where I put the water glass, or find myself looking for her when I go to get in the shower.

She’s never been a small cat, but when I adopted her, she wasn’t much smaller. Sometimes when she lays on my lap, my legs fall asleep fast. I’ve got her to recognize a few words over the years, and we’re currently working on “next to mama – NEXT TO.” I try and do this thing where I get her to lay next to me and cuddle to one side of me, so that way I can either move my legs, or work from home if I need to.

I recently started feeding some blue jays on my balcony, to her great amusement. Even when I’m out of peanuts, if the birds appear and I yell out “BIRDIES!” she’ll come running from where ever in the house to check them out. Unfortunately, my whole “birds are friends, not food” message hasn’t been fully realized by my little killer. I used to let her out on the balcony by herself during the day when I was home, but that’s twice resulted in causalities to the local bird population, so we don’t do that so much anymore. (Once I’m certain she plucked that thing straight of the air with a single claw…)

She’s a pretty good sport in general, but she is not amused when I try and amuse myself at her expense. She’s definitely not a fan of the belly love, and will not let me touch her paws, much less trim them – so we go through a lot of cardboard scratchers in my house. She’s also a big fan of her ‘salad’ and I try and always have cat grass on hand. (When you own a long haired black cat, you just get used to the hairballs, but it is good to try and deter them the best you can.)

I don’t know what else to say about this cat – except it’s been a pretty stressful week for both of us, and I’m really glad she decided to reappear last night. I would be truly lost without her.

Giving a Place for Gratitude

One of the reasons I started this place is to work on living more in gratitude. I wanted to give me a place to verbalize and acknowledge that state in my life more often, rather than wallowing in the negative. My life seems to be especially challenging at times. This last year or so, I’ve become a little hippie-dippie zen about it all. I’ve come to realize I’m not special or cursed, it’s just how life happens. I’ve learned to roll with it pretty well. It’s become about being grateful for the moments, the every day miracles, and the growth the challenges bring. I have always reveled in the wondrous gifts of sunsets and ocean breezes, long drives and loud music, but the gratitude for every day things has been quietly growing in me. Perhaps because despite all the challenges thrown my way, I seem to be extremely blessed with all this amazingness that fills in the space around them. I want to give more time to acknowledge the people and things that give me so much comfort and joy, and this space seems perfect for doing that. Not only will it be good to recognize those driving forces in my life, but in my weak moments it will give me a place to realize the collective of things that I’ve got in the positive column.

One way I’m going to share my gratitude is going to be every day posts like this one. Just quick notes of thanks and recognition. Another way will be more project based. I’ve started a list of people, places and things that have been a driving force or part of turning points in the path that led me to where I am today. I haven’t decided yet how I’m going to present that – but you can watch for that coming over the next few months. It’s something I’m very excited about. Please feel to participate – I hope we can inspire each other to remember to be in the moment and be thankful for everything on our path.

Until then…here’s a fantastic video by fellow burner John “Halcyon” Styn at TEDxAmericasFinestCity earlier this year called “Crap or Cone – Gratitude, Gifting and Grandpa”. It will make you laugh, and maybe tear up a little – but it’s totally worth your 17 minutes.