Friday, December 18, 2009

Man I LOVE the holidays! Especially when it involves time off work, snowed in days, warm fireplaces, holiday parties with friends, wrapping presents and baking cookies! The thing I remember most about the Christmas holiday when I was growing up was baking cookies...and LOTS of them. My grandmother used to make at least 20 different kinds of cookies and then give them all away to seriously, everyone in the neighborhood. Not only that, but all her Italian lady friends would do the same thing! Josephina and Lydia are the two I remember. And "L'il Francis", the lady who lived across the street from us, well she would do the same thing! Up until she died two years ago, she would send me the largest box of amazing, homemade Italian cookies for Christmas. I so cherished every last bite.

Times are different now. For some of us families are very spread out geographically. I know for me, coming from now divorced parents, my kids aren't offered the same amazing "tribal" upbringing as I was. With relatives around all the time, grandma babysitting and holiday cheer with tons of family members....It's not a bad thing, it's just different.

And what does this offer them and us as a family? An opportunity to make our own memories based on the lovely ones I had. So every year we break out the mini-lighted houses and adorn the fireplace with fake snow and a little city, we put lights up inside and outside the house and we bake cookies! Up until this year, I was basically doing the entire thing by myself. I would put the kids in their high chairs, or bouncy seats on the counter when they were really little and they would just watch me. Then recently they would "help" by tossing flour and sugar all over the place and eating the sprinkles for the sugar cookies. This year was different. We made 8 different kinds of cookies and the girls actually helped! We had so much fun!

It made me think of how quickly time flies. Don't wait to make memories. Think back to what was super fun for you at this time of the year and do it! Do it alone or with someone you love! But do it!

I would love to hear your story .... what did you love to do during the holidays? And how do you celebrate now?

Peace all!

Monday, December 7, 2009

100th Birthday Speech

On a recent yoga retreat, I assigned Omwork to the ladies and just this past weekend we got together and shared it with each other. The assignment was to write their 100th birthday speech. What would we say at our 100th birthday? Sounds like an easy enough question right? But the task was all about visualization; visualizing who you would be on your 100th birthday. I was very impressed with one of the participant's speech. She compared life to a swing. It was so incredible I thought I would share it with you - with her permission of course. Thank YOU Julie for being an inspiration to me.

As we arrive, we come into the world and the light shines, a blanket is wrapped around us and somehow we manage to begin our journey from our little world from where we started.
Think about this for a minute, and realize that it is a bit like being wrapped in the arms of a loved one who holds you fast, as they sit on a swing. The next swing you might know would be the kind that holds only you with some type of support around you that wraps around you and supports you.

For a time in the unfamiliar world – you are held, rocked, and cared for before you begin to stretch out on your own, and you are provided with experiences for your life and your time to explore begins.
When the chair swing supports you and allows you to feel the air and one can begin to feel the wind on your face, smell the freshness, see the sky and you might wonder what else is there beyond the swing?

As we grow and stir allowing us the freedom to move about – support comes from your family and people you meet along your journey, as they nurture your growing needs. In time, this support brings each of us to a time when we can step forth on our own. We can meet people along the way who enter our world and some even become our friends.
We can now graduate to a flatter swing that can hold us, and we are moving into a space that does not surround us – we are allowed to move and yet hang on. By this time, we still have the gentle pushing of the people who love and care for us, but still allow us the freedoms we have to have in order to keep moving forward.

Our growth is happening – we are walking and running. We are growing and changing as our body and our minds develop and get stronger. We have been allowed to develop in our own way and to make choices about our own directions.
Are you still in your swing? Yes. I would imagine that you are trying different things in that swing and making choices about the things that you would like to do. How high to go, when to slow down, what to do if you stop – hanging on tightly, holding on with one hand, reaching for your friends who swing next to you, jumping out of the swing while it is moving – like decisions we make - all about life’s choices as we grow.

THEN finally - we are mostly on our own – looking forward to what might be ahead, searching for answers to our many questions - basically we are
Swinging free – feeling – looking out and beyond and sometimes when you pump while on the swing you may look behind…

During our development, each of us had many highs and lows but between those extremes of happiness and despair or heartbreaks, we have found that as we slow down, there is a life that does not need to be all or nothing and we continue to search for that balance between the swings.
That time, when you are slowing down, is when you can pay attention to the wind in your hair, the warmth of the sun on your face, enjoy the raindrops dropping from the sky – a moment in time, a balance to feel and to be suspended. A time to just be. The swing has allowed you motion, support, and given you the sense of freedom and suspension all at the same time. Your world is around you. You have grown and the peace and awareness is now your support as you begin to think about leaving the swing behind when we reach the point where there is no more movement.

We have searched and continued on our journey. Some of you have realized your goals – maybe looked for new ones and always continued to scan the horizon of opportunity. There is always movement.
As we grow older, we can still sit on the swing, but by now because of the passing of time, the movement is not so great – there might still be some highs and lows – always there is the continuing motion, constant change but it is so in life. Life continues in the time between the swings – always moving, searching, growing – constant change.

So, as I celebrate with family and friends and you have listened to my reflection about life and our individual swings, I hope to continue to sit in my swing or just be where ever I am and find the peace that I have found over the years during the time between the swings. At the same time, I hope to maintain the feeling of the support of the swing and of those around me who give me a gentle push to continue forward – and know that the time between the ups and downs is life and we are always where we are meant to be. Enjoy the ride. When the swing does slow down and that motion ceases I can let go and it will be OK.

And, when we are gone, someone else will know the feeling of being on a special swing and another journey will begin anew as each new life begins.

No truer words have been spoken Julie. To everyone ..... live life on a swing and let the wind blow in your hair!