| February 26, 2019 |
Nah, this isn’t going to be a post about Ziggy Marley, but I bet this song will be stuck in your head while you read this post! (It’s certainly making my toes tap right now, hehe.)
I sat beside teachers and students at Step by Step Learning Centre, spreading margarine on my sliced bread and passing bananas around the table, all whilst sharing ideas with my kaka and dada (brothers and sisters). Despite our different cultural backgrounds, we found soulful connection around the table. I engaged in side conversation with one of the teachers, who began by sharing how grateful she is for Americans who visit Tanzania: how giving we are with our time and money, and how our riches are vastly needed in Africa. She expressed appreciation for the knowledge we had been sharing during physical therapy lessons. Yet, in spite of the poverty of economy she and the other teachers/students face daily, this teacher saw the holes in my heart, and the weaknesses of our western culture. She saw through our economic strength, expressing that Americans are lacking faith and a relationship with God. Looking in her eyes, I knew exactly what she meant: We are losing our spirituality and are in a state of spiritual poverty and crisis.
Every morning at SSLC in Tanzania, I sat in the morning circle with children whose families may still make $1/day. Every child and teacher sang praise to Lord Jesus and thanked God for his gifts & prosperity. Seeing the light in the eyes of these children as they sang their thanks was humbling and grounding (to say the least). I felt consumed with love and union – the richest I have ever felt. It has since been my mission to find God within me, to better define my religious intents, and break through my own spiritual practice. I wanted to carry the love, community, and faith from the morning circle into my EVERY day here in the United States.
And so, this brings me to love: the love that I know lives within me and around me. Though I don’t feel I can entirely define this love and energy, perhaps this love IS God, and love IS my religion.More
| February 14, 2019 |
I am blessed. Really and truly.
I have been regarded highly for my optimism and effective communication by those close to me. It’s been reassuring to have these qualities both felt within me and interpreted outwardly. I hold myself responsible for maintaining optimism and effective communication, but also give myself permission to mess up every so often. Mistakes = self-reflection = growth.
What happens when communication breaks down? What happens when people misunderstand? Is it my fault for not speaking my truth clearly? Is it their fault for holding biases and making assumptions?
What happens when my optimism runs dry? Do I allow myself to be fearful and uncertain? Do I stop the tears from coming, heartache from consuming? At times, I believe it is necessary to be void of “good vibes” and optimism. To live in delirious optimism can be unhealthy. It means looking at a negative situation and making it positive, which feels like denial, repression, and avoidance of truth.
If I am to be authentic, there are going to be moments where communication and optimism are not my strongest points. There are going to be moments of misunderstanding and conflict. There are going to be times where I feel lonely, afraid, hurt, angry, lost, vulnerable, wordless, and insecure. But this makes me human. And it makes you human, too.
So, why am I blessed? Because through some of my missteps, I have learned. I have leaned into the discomfort of taking responsibility for my life situations. It’s always easier to blame others, but how can we grow without carrying our own loads? Together, we are responsible to each other for helping carry the burdens of life, but we must carry our own load and “burden of daily toil.” I must deal with my own “feeling, attitudes, and behaviors,”1 and carrying them makes me a stronger climber through this epic mountain of life.
The product is a more colorful life, and one filled with magic I created.
I am deeply, soulfully grateful for 2018. Read on to see the third and final installment of 2018 reflections. We are going to stick to “Cherished Moments” only on this one, because there were too many photos and moments to need adjunct! Suffice it to say, my heart was healing and revitalizing itself in many artful and colorful ways!More
| February 8, 2019 |
I feel there is immense power in reflection. I have been told I can be insightful, and I certainly benefit from looking at the inner workings of my heart & mind. I’ve needed to do this 2018 reflection process, and chunking my memories into three different sections per month (Treasured Moments, Professional Growth, Heartfelt Memoirs) is giving my brain a workout. This is my therapy, and I hope it’s somewhat enjoyable for you to be a part of the process.
It’s said that chunking helps our brain better to remember information, and it’s certainly making it easier and more feasible to process my year. I can see more clearly how much light was shining through my cracks in 2018.
The second half of 2018 was full of transitions. Life is constant transitions, of course, but June and beyond really forced me to take action in relationships, jobs, and living situations. Simply letting life happen was not an option. I had to weather relentless storms. I put my figurative poncho on time and time again, letting the negativity hit me but not penetrate into my mind. I realized how much I had been enduring. So, I picked up what was left of my self-worth, confidence, and courage, and made
a change changes.
| February 3, 2019 |
Outside, snow is falling and covering the world in a subtle blanket of white. I type on the screen of a new laptop in a home of solitude. I am alone with my thoughts, present with myself. I am given the gift of time to process 2018, as a way to uncover the lessons I have learned in challenging and rewarding times.
Looking back on 2018 boils a mix of emotions, as it was undoubtedly one of the most challenging years in my personal life. Yet, these challenges have ignited personal growth, courage, and clarity. Many of my personal relationships changed in 2018: I lost some toxic connections, and thus have gained more fruitful & loving relationships. I have also strengthened connections with those who share similar values and represent who I want to be as a person. It’s been hard to act the need for this shift (as I don’t easily let go of people), but in the long run it has benefitted my heart and soul, and shifted my life for the positive.
From a professional standpoint, 2018 was a year of opportunity. Since I stopped working as a travel Physical Therapist, I have been on a beautiful journey in Washington State. My path has landed me at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s North Clinic, working full-time with children from birth to 21 years old. I have taken more continuing education courses 2018 than I have in the last four years working as a Doctor of Physical Therapy! I continue broadening my scope of impact to Tanzania, Africa, and have increased my involvement with Outdoors for All as an adaptive rock climbing & skiing volunteer. My career is fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding. I am forever grateful for my work family, and having a job that I feel passionate & enthusiastic about.
The outlook for 2019 is bright, and full of courage & growth. But before I can even wrap my head around what’s in store for 2019, I’d like to take time to look back on 2018’s memories and lessons.More
| December 25, 2018 |
‘Tis the season for holding loved ones closer and reflecting on the year past. I can’t believe, once again, how much has changed in a year. With the nearing end of 2018, I am experiencing a rush of emotions. I am feeling ready for a fresh slate–a new year–to fill with meaningful people and experiences.
The last year hasn’t been the easiest for me, but it has certainly encouraged the most growth. As a chronically optimistic individual, I can find the light in darkness, the good in people, and can turn life’s challenges into my grandest lessons.
Self-growth is important to me, and a lot of my self-discovery comes through by writing, sharing, connecting, and expressing myself vulnerably. It’s cathartic to find a place for the thoughts whirling in my head on a piece of paper (or, on a pixelated screen with an relentlessly blinking cursor).
This holiday season, I have so much to be grateful for, and I’m sure you do, too! Sometimes we have to dig deep to find the magic of the season, and I urge you to do this today.More
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