These last days of December have been good for me. I feel like I’m settling into my body after this blustery fall, figuratively and metaphorically. I’ve spent most of my time staying put in Sonoma since taking some time off.
I’ve been in the Sonoma Plaza, visiting friends and shopping for books to read this winter. Russ and I went to the Sebastiani Theater and saw the movie, The Darkest Hour. I can’t get enough of Churchill films!
I love the new sign on the Plaza. A big red heart with the message The Love in the Air. That’s the sentiment around here after all the smoke cleared up from the Wine Country Fires.
Finding my hiking legs
I’ve gone for walks in the Sonoma Regional Park over near Glen Ellen which was hit hard by the fires. I love madrone trees. They have such smooth finishes. These are great kissing trees. I highly recommend you put “Kiss a Madrone” on your bucket list. The bark is so sensual.
I thought twice about kissing these madrones. They look so bloody red, don’t they? Most of the madrones I’ve seen have more of a cinnamon brown bark. I’ve never seen them this red. Could it be from the fires?
Lingering coffee breaks
If I’m in Sonoma in the late afternoon I love heading over to Peet’s Coffee & Tea on Broadway just off the Plaza for an extra hot almond milk latte. Sometimes I bring my iPad to do some writing. Other times I bring something to read. Lately, I’ve been doing not much of anything but sitting quietly, sipping slowly. That rhythm is working for me.
Reflecting and homing in on what’s important
Gosh, I savor time for reflection and I’ve been getting it. I have a couple of regrets this year, mostly about a couple of projects left undone. But I’m constantly trying to invite compassion for myself. I truly can’t think of a summer/fall season that was so full of “I never saw that coming” events. You know the saying as well as I do: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Amen!
Coming back to center
I meet over the phone a couple of times a month with Iliani Matisse. Her title is Certified CoActive Life Coach and Holistic Health Coach. She was my lifeline through the layers and layers of grief I had after Mother and my brother Todd died within months of each other. She’s helped me navigate loss and health issues. Now she’s a fine coach for helping me get clear about what’s important and then checking in to see if I’m moving toward that. She helps me be kind to myself.
Clarity isn’t always easy to find. It makes me think of throwing darts at a dartboard. Sometimes I get close and other times I feel like I’m way off the mark. This month she helped me hit the bullseye. She asked great questions and as we talked about what matters most to me, I could see a list shaping up. I like lists.
The items on this list represent all the things I can think of that when they’re present in my life, I feel whole and complete. Iliani suggested I write these statements down and turn them into a collage so I could review them often; so I could keep from getting lost.
When I’m scattered, running around, succumbing to distraction after distraction, I get anxious and worried. I’m planets away from feeling whole and complete.
Something that would help me keep my eyes on the prize sounded like a really good idea. I went to Canva.com, found a template and created my “Brenda’s Glorious Life” blueprint. This represents the “good life” to me.
I printed it out and slid it into a plastic frame and placed it on my writing table. That way I can read it first thing every morning when I sit down to do my writing.
It’s really helped me! When I read the list it calms me. It informs decisions I make during the day. Do I push myself or do I give myself a break? Do I go for that walk or watch TV instead? Do I spend time in prayer and meditation or do I skip it because I’m too busy?
I’m Don Reiten’s girl
Although I was a serious teenager growing up, my dad says my inner child was always playful. Where did he pick up the term “inner child”?
I’m heading off to spend time with him and the rest of my Minnesota family. We’ll be spending New Year’s together.
Something I do every day is to check the temp in Dent. (I love the rhythm of those words: Check the temp in Dent.) Dent is a small town near where Dad lives in assisted living and where Mom and Dad’s house is on the lake. One of the things I’ve done three times now is to walk from the shore of their lakefront property across the lake to an island and back. In the winter of course, on top of the ice. It’s exhilarating!
When I looked at the temp in Dent I saw very quickly that I won’t be walking across the lake this year. Take a look at those highs and lows on Friday and Saturday. Those are my first two days there and they’re not walking weather. Although this is where I come from I feel like a novice. I’m packing every layer of warmth I have and plan to wear it all at once and possibly not freeze to death if I’m lucky.
Dad turns 92 in January. I get such a kick out of him and he’d say the same about me. Hearing him chuckle and giggle is one of the best sounds in the world. He didn’t do that for a couple of years. His chuckles had dried up. But a year ago I started hearing those sounds again. It was a miracle.
We talk about everything. And we cry together too. When I found out I had a rare disease and had to go through every test imaginable and go for a second opinion, I was scared. I talked to Dad about it. He said, “Brenda, I sit on the powder keg with you.” Hearing that, I knew I could face anything. I wasn’t alone.
When I called him and said, “Dad, this is going to be manageable”, he cried. And so did I.
I love visiting him and the other elders at Briarwood. I want to be like them when I grow up. It’s on my bucket list.
One of my commitments reads, “I am committed to being more present to the magic of life.” This time together twinkles, sparkles and is magical. I can’t wait to see him.
Whatever you do to ring in the New Year, be safe. Be you, wonderful you, and I’ll see you on the other side! Can’t wait!
What do you feel committed to in your life? Would you feel comfortable sharing?