Embarking on my second blog is a different journey than my first blog, “Habitual Gratitude,” has been. On Habitual Gratitude, I post most days and the focus is on practicing gratitude and mindfulness, working to stay present in this day. Topics are random, but woven together with the theme of appreciation for what life gives us when we pay attention.
“Late Bloomer and Slow Learner” will take a different approach. It is more the weaving of a story-my story. It won’t be chronological, but rather will focus on seven “growing seasons.” I will categorize and tag each post with one or more of these:
“Baker’s Dozen” (my family of origin) Being raised in a large family brought both blessings and challenges. Today, I respect the job my parents did and how both the pleasant memories and the difficult times have shaped me into the person I am. My way of honoring it all, and hopefully my parents and siblings, is to share some of each with readers.
“Stride for Stride” (running and other sports) I didn’t know what endorphins were when I was young, but I was sure feeling the benefits of them. Running has been my saving grace in so many ways. Even when figuratively running from pain, I was still literally running to better physical and mental health. And the connections that came with being part of a team are some of my fondest memories.
“Line by Line” (writing and journaling) If I hadn’t picked up a pen and paper before I picked up alcohol, I may not be here to write this. Dozens of journals are piled in various places in my home. They all hold my life energy along with the myriad of emotions that flowed out of my head and heart and on to the pages. Just as importantly, they hold names, dates, and other details to spark memories that would otherwise have been lost.
“From Escaping Myself to Finding Myself” (alcoholism and recovery) Alcoholism is a disease that is progressive and fatal. It was my escape before I even understood that the person I was trying to escape from was me. There is no cure, but there can be ongoing recovery. I trudge this recovery road daily, with fellow alcoholics and addicts to travel with, and a Great Spirit that shows me how not to take myself and life so seriously all the time.
“Worth the Wait and the Work” (marriage and motherhood) I didn’t become a wife and mother until well into my thirties. Any earlier and I wouldn’t have been ready. That is what hindsight tells me anyway. To me, work means there is something or someone in my life that I treasure and want to keep treasuring. If I don’t put effort into these relationships, they slip away. Time, honesty, respect, kindness, and unconditional love are all part of the labor which is indeed a labor of love.
“Other Health Conditions” (gratitude practice, breast cancer, and more) In 1995, I started regularly and intentionally practicing gratitude. It was like putting an accelerant on the healthy things I was already doing, like running, writing, and recovery. In 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, following previous diagnoses of two of my sisters. Gratitude practice has led to an upward spiral in my outlook on life and my energy levels. Breast cancer shattered my youthful sense of security and led to body parts being removed. Yet, in my story, the dichotomies of gratitude and cancer have each had tremendous impact on my overall well-being.
“Messengers and Menders” (a Great Spirit and great human spirits in my life) Call it Great Spirit, God, Higher Power, or whatever you would like. The important aspect is that I believe there is a force beyond human that is looking out for us and guiding us if we choose to live in awareness. This force has put amazing and impactful people in my life all along the way. Some have been here throughout, others came and went. They have each been immense gifts. Those who came along earlier helped mend my broken spirit and thoughts. Those who followed bring me the messages that help me move forward.