This year has taught me that …

This year has taught me that …

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· Adults so often forget the basics and we need to learn them again from our children – how to say “I’m sorry”, play fair, clean up our own mess, eat when we’re hungry and drink when we’re thirsty and enjoy an ice-cream without having to think about the fat content. How to run and play and sleep when we’re tired, and how to get excited about discovering a worm in the garden. And how to say “no”.

· The most important people in my world are Stephen and Kayla. And if I am getting THOSE relationships right, then I can start letting myself off the hook a bit more about the rest.

· I need to surround myself with beauty. That doesn’t make me a materialistic person, just one that feeds off the beauty of things around me. And so I plant roses, and light candles every evening and love to climb into bed and see the sanctuary I have created around me. And feel at peace.

· I have learned that when the world seems too much to bear and you don’t know where to turn – you should plant a vegetable garden. Tending to seeds and watering them while they are fragile is a great lesson in learning to water your own soul and look after your own needs a little better. It is hard to have a heavy and burdened heart when you are picking home-grown tomatoes.

· People will always have perceptions of me. There may be elements of truth, but at the end of the day, they are just that – perceptions.

· I tend to take things very personally. One of the best lessons I have learned this year is to ask “What can I learn from this?” – and for some inexplicable reason, it takes the emotion out of the situation and turns it into a life lesson. (I am still working on this – but I wish I had started the process years ago).

· Life is short. People die unexpectedly. And we are never the same again when they leave.

· It’s okay to grieve in whatever way you need to – if it’s by going off on your own or crying on a strong shoulder. It’s your grief. The only wrong way to grieve is to choose not to grieve at all.

· When someone dies, the greatest gift you can give to those left behind is to let them talk – about their last conversation with that person, their favourite memories, and about how they are feeling. Instead of trying to find reasons and platitudes that will make everything “okay”. It will not be okay for them for a very long time. Let them talk and feel what they are feeling.

· I am very lucky and very blessed – but I have also seriously neglected two important parts of who I am over the past five years. One is my need to be creative; and the other is my need to make a difference in the lives of other people. And that by ignoring these two very big parts of who I am, I have not been true to myself.

· People often don’t know what feeds their souls, what strengthens them and gives them energy, and what drains them and makes them feel exhausted. And that if I spend more time figuring out these basic questions, then I will probably be a much nicer person to live with.

· This year, I have probably learned the most about Grace – giving it to others, accepting it from others, but mostly about giving it to myself.

· I want to live more fully and in a way that is more present – without agonizing about the past or worrying about the future.

· Some of the greatest moments in life are when we laugh until our stomach hurts. I think there would be a lot less illness in this world if we were all able to laugh more.

· Success is different for everyone. I want to leave footprints behind me, lives that were touched – but most of all, I want my husband and child to know that they came first. In my heart. And in my life. And that if I achieve THAT, in will be the greatest success of all.

What is Success?
By Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people…
and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends

To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;

This is to have succeeded.

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