For the last seven years February had been a horrific month for me. Over those years in the month of February I had lost my husband, my cousin, my best friend, my dog and two relationships. This was in addition to experiencing a host of illnesses, injuries, upsets, and hating the cold.
In late January, I was sharing with a friend how I was dreading February once again. She said, “I wonder if there is anything you can do to make February better this year?”
She said, “Why don’t you make a list of some things that feed your soul and plan to do them in February?”
Just thinking about her suggestion made me feel better. So I took her advice. I spent extra time with girlfriends, scheduled a massage, flew a kite with my kids, and took an afternoon off and read a book one day.
Lately I’ve been examining the past seven years since Mark died. I was trying to figure out what one thing has contributed the most to my happiness.
I considered; lunch with friends, going to my yoga class, playing tennis, time with family, nature, and many other things. Each one definitely contributed to my happiness.
However, there is one thing that I do, that has had the strongest and most consistent impact on my happiness and positive attitude. And that is this…
I am thankful for my life.
About three months before Mark died, our family started a tradition by accident. At our Thanksgiving dinner we all went around the table and said what we were thankful for that year.
There is incredible power in the gift I am going to share with you. You may have moments where you start laughing hysterically, break into tears of joy, feel deep relief, reach an understanding that was previously unclear, or feel pure excitement.
Do not be fooled because this tool is so easy and doesn't take much time. It has the ability to completely change your mood, attitude and life. You will begin to understand it's power more and more each time you use it. I have made a habit of using this tool once a year in January for the last 23 years...because it works.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and get in a comfortable seat. Read through this first part and then do it. Then move on to part two.
It seems as if life always has a way of reminding me that it is magical.
For the last few months I’ve been keeping an eye on the homes for sale around my house. My parents are moving to town in the next couple of years and we would love for them to live near us.
One day about two months ago I received an email saying the home next to mine was going up for sale. My heart started racing. I thought, “It’s a sign! It would be so great to have my parents next door!”
Long story short, I got the home under contract, but after ten days of struggling and strife I finally realized it wasn’t going to work. And in the middle of lots of tears, I let go of that home.
Over the last year and a half I bought and remodeled a home for us that is closer to the boys new school. The first day I set foot on the property, before I even purchased it, I knew I was going to live there. I also knew that between that moment, and when we moved in, it was going to be a back-breaking job to remodel. I knew it so deeply in my bones that I sat in the back yard on a wall (that first day) and cried.
The home was 40 years old and needed almost everything. But, it was just over a mile from their school, had “good bones”, was on an acre and had an old basketball court that the boys loved.
As we head into February it shocks me that it has been almost 5 years since Mark passed away. In some respects it seems like yesterday and in others, like when I look around my life and see almost nothing the same as it was 5 years ago, it seems like a lifetime ago.
That said, the universe seems to always tip it’s hat at us and say, “I’m still taking care of you, remember?” This was evident last November when I took the boys on our first cruise together.
One of our stops was in Cozumel. If you have read my book you will know this location holds a deep meaning in our lives, but one the boys are not aware of.
This morning my yoga teacher put us into a very hard pose, and left us in it for a long time. When I was about ready to fall over and cry from exerting so much effort, she moved us into the next pose. My mind screamed, “Thank God!” And then I heard my awesome teacher say, “Enjoy the release.” And something in me woke up.
I knew that as part of the class she meant we should enjoy the experience of the physical release of the effort. Which her comment made me realize I did, immensely! My legs were now tingling rather than burning and it felt wonderful. But my teacher takes her physical yoga ideas into other areas of her life. Which tends to make me do the same. And I kept thinking about her words.
“Enjoy the release.” What a novel idea.
April has unarguably been the busiest month in my entire life. And yet amongst the whirlwind of activity we adopted a new dog from the pound. Jasmine.
When we brought her home I realized she wasn’t going to be satisfied with running around the back yard. That she would require lots of walks, and even runs on occasion. So, several mornings a week after dropping off the boys at school instead of rushing to work, (like I should have been) I’ve been heading to the park for a fast half hour or so trot with my ball of energy.
The first time I met Dallas she looked at me sideways, as if to say, “I’m not sure you are good enough for him.” I respected her immediately.
Dallas was Mark’s dog. She walked beside him step in step wherever he went. She laid under his desk when he worked, she sat at his feet at the dinner table.
The only time she wavered was when one of the boys dropped crumbs on the floor. But right after she gobbled them up she was right back with Mark. Until the day he died.
That morning, she was lying beside our bed. That day, I wondered if she knew he was gone. That night, I went outside to bring her in and there were tattered shreds of metal all over the yard. She had torn down a gutter and ripped it to pieces. She knew.
As we go into the fall season here in central Texas I’m reminded of how weather has affected mine and Mark’s lives.
The night before we were married there was a huge thunderstorm that rattled through our town. Mark, who was raised in Texas, barely noticed. But not me, I adore the storms. My best friend Tab, who is also from California, and I watched out the windows in wonder.
For me the excitement of the lightening and thunder were a sign of the excitement that was brewing as Mark and I got ready to join our lives together in marriage.