It’s All About the…Attitude

It’s All About the… Attitude  – Come on, you have to admit that you now have a rather catchy tune floating around in your head.  Just go with it as you read on…

Anyone who follows me on social media has at least a small idea of how much my 2014 sucked.  It started out with a bad case of the flu and pneumonia and went downhill from there.   A relationship ended, my stepmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I had to change my “start a new life in Texas” plans to help care for her and my father, my dog died…and that was just January.

The rest of the year proceeded with the illnesses and deaths of a dear high school friend and my cousin and the rapidly declining health of my stepmother, until she too passed away in December.   I spent my year, not pursuing my career or personal dreams and goals, but being where I was needed and daily taking on dealing with illness, sadness, stress and grief and caring for the ones I love.

Yeah, 2014 sucked

Yet it didn’t…

In some ways, 2014 may have been exactly the year I needed…

We all have lessons in life that we say we need to or have learned…this year, I can honestly say I actually learned some of them.   My 2014 was spent exactly where I was supposed to be.  God (or insert deity you believe in here) put me exactly where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there. Where I was not only needed, but where I needed to be to learn some hard lessons and settle in to a new attitude and, hopefully, an even better version of myself.   It would be easy to wallow in the misery that 2014 brought and make a lot of excuses and rail against the unfairness of it all and get stuck in the negativity.   But, as we all know… It’s All About the Attitude…

That relationship that ended? I not only dodged a bullet that would have made the rest of my life hard and tumultuous, but having the strength to walk away from it left the perfect clearing in my heart and a clarity in my head to be open to something new and wonderful and perfect for me.

The career plans that were put on hold?  They left me with time to really discover what I love doing and what I want my work going forward to look like.  More on that soon, but just to give you a sneak peek, my consulting focus is going to be changing.  You will see a lot about that coming out soon, so stay tuned and be ready to book me to work with you or speak at your event!

The people I lost this year – Lovell, Celeste and Anita.  While the grief will stay with me, probably forever, the courage, grace and love they showed through their illnesses and their deaths was a huge beacon of what real strength, faith and living, and dying, on your own terms should mean to us all.   I will ever be grateful for having them in my life and for the lessons they taught me both in life and in dying.  The greatest way I can honor them is to live life as fully, as gracefully, with faith and as much on my own terms as possible.

Another unexpected lesson I learned in this year is we rarely really take the time to discover what we can live without.   Prior to this past year, I had a life that was constantly moving – work, volunteering, events, networking, friends, socializing, the general bustle of a full urban life… my life was in an almost 24/7 state of movement and forward progress.  It was wonderful! I loved it and I would not change a moment of it.  I thought it was all necessary for me to really feel like I was living a full life.

Then 2014 started and things in my life ground to screeching halt.  My time and energy were now needed for things that involved a lot of sitting and not actively doing.  I was forced to learn the hardest lesson for me – Patience.  I was forced into learning the value of just sitting still.   I had always done that, but it was in a few hour or at most a few day stretches.  This was days, weeks and months of just doing the day to day things that maintain life and a lot of sitting and waiting.  Never something I had done well or liked very much.   I discovered that, while I really enjoy the hustle and bustle of what my life was, I can live without it.

I also learned the lesson of what material possessions really mean.  I have lived the last year in the small guest bedroom of my father’s home with the only basic necessities of my possessions and almost all the rest of my worldly goods in a storage unit.  I also took on very little work this year and had virtually no income to speak of.  I learned that I really don’t need the stuff that I have surrounded myself with over the years.  Is it nice to have? Yes, it is and I miss some of it.  If I had to start life over with nothing more than what is in this tiny bedroom, I could easily do it.  That storage unit will soon be getting another thorough cleaning out and be pared down again to the things that I most need and that mean the most.

As 2015 starts, my vision of the next chapter of my life is a much better balance of time, effort, energy and things and a LOT of love.

 

Again, it all comes back to the attitude.   We can either choose to be beaten down by what crosses our path or we can choose to embrace it, good or bad, learn from it, live through it and continue on.   I can never say I was “forced” into the changes that 2014 brought.  I could have continued on with the plan that had brought me to Texas.  It was my choice to stay here in this small town, put my life on hold and care for the people who mean so much to me.  And it was the best choice I have made in a very, very long time.

 

So what does 2015 hold for me?  I don’t really know yet.  There is a lot of things that I still need to help with settling here before I can make final decisions about what is next.  I do know that 2015 holds a lot of promise.  I know that I am going into it with a different attitude then I have had in any of my prior 49 years.  I know that it will hold work that I love and am intrigued and challenged by, including more training and speaking opportunities – they are high on the list of things I enjoy most and want to do more of.  It will hold more time, effort and energy spent on the people that I love and less of those things spent on the people who are toxic and draining. It will hold time to just be and enjoy life whatever it holds.

Most of all, 2015 will be the year of Attitude…

There, but for Grace

In yesterday’s post, I made the observation “We get caught up in going through the motions and redundancies of life.”

Today, when I plugged in my headphones and hit shuffle on my ipod, one of my favorite songs, Keith Urban’s “But for the Grace of God“came on.  (I know not everyone likes country music, but I do, and the words to this song always make me smile.)  It seemed serendipitious that I had those thoughts last night and the song came on today.  Although in the song, he is singing about how lucky he feels to have found the love of his life, it always makes me think far beyond the limited scope of those relationships.

I grew up hearing the phrase, “there but for the grace of God go I”.  It was used by people from my grandmothers to my preacher, a lot of people in my life using similar phrases to describe how lucky we/they were be in a better situation than someone who was having a hard time in their lives.  The phrase has always had a special meaning for me.   Recitation of it was my way of giving thanks for the wonderous gifts that had been bestowed on me by my Higher Power.  Those of you who know me well know that I have a deep faith. (The rest of you can be appropriately surprised at this point.)   I’m not a religious person by anyone’s imagination, but I have a Faith that runs ocean deep and wide.  While not everyone carries the same beliefs or faith, none of us can dismiss that there are times we are faced with the certainty that our personal situations are infinitely better than others around us.  We walk by the homeless person on the street, we watch the news and see the poverty and devastation in other parts of the world, we listen to the story of the child that lost his only parent in a drive by shooting.  All of these things should give us pause instead of melding into our “going through the motions… of life”.   Our instant and constant access to information makes it easier to allow the images and words to occasionally flit across our conscience without deep absorption.

While I like to think that Thankfulness is a constant state for me, there are times that I feel the grace more poignantly than other times.  For example, being bi-polar, I know all too well the depths that a mental illness can take us to, physically, emotionally and financially.   All too often I am reminded how incredibly fortunate I am to have my mental illness easily managed. There are so many who do not have the resources, love and support to allow them to lead “normal” lives.   I remember daily that grace has allowed me to lead a life, that may not always be easy, but it is often full of love, laughter and happiness.

I know that not everyone is going to agree with me about a higher power having a hand in giving us better circumstances.  And that is OK with me, we all have the right to our own beliefs.  It is more important to me that we recognize our better circumstances, feel the appropriate empathy and take action.  That we not get so caught up in the living of our everyday lives that we lose sight of those less fortunate than ourselves.  That we, in whatever way fits in with our personal beliefs, remember “There, But For Grace, Go I”.