Gratitude

This week I am grateful for…

FullSizeRenderThe pure sensory delight of the gentle winter sunlight coaxing my skin to a satisfying glow whilst wrapped in the taste and scent of rich, smooth coffee, with the soothing sounds of Moby in the background.

My youngest bouncing through onto my bed with his stuffed, knitted and stitched animal friends, charming me with delightful stories about what mischief they get up to at night while we’re sleeping.

The fleeting, captivating colours of sunrise.

Sunrise in Salt Rock

Buying my first pair of red shoes, painting my toenails red and noticing the light joyfulness of how brave and happy I feel wrapped in strong, bold and beautiful colours. It feels like an outward expression of greater confidence in showing my true self to the world, regardless of how how I might be judged or criticised.

Quotes that feel perfectly supportive of where I am, and what I wish to remain aware of: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall

Finding more courage each time I tackle difficulties at work directly, clearly, jointly and with determination, and see that far from creating conflict it often opens the door to more creative solutions than I could have found alone.

Relaxing in the bath watching dancing steam-angels with light joy and deep contentment to be just there, in that moment, in this life.

Hugely supportive feedback from someone I greatly value and admire at a moment in which I had lost sight of what I have achieved, and how much faster I can often now regain my inner clarity and choose not to get defensive when feeling under attack.

The reminder that sometimes things need to go awry to motivate us to tackle deeper, underlying issues that we’ve been avoiding or not noticing.

The incredible support of one of my dearest friends, far away in London but only a moment away thanks to technology, throughout the week. There is such a deep sense of safety in having friends with whom I can be completely raw and honest about the darkest of my shadows, and still feel completely wrapped in love, acceptance and support.

Breathing in the greater sense of clarity, integration, growth, strength and happiness washing over me this morning after a tumultuous few months.

Gratitude

This week I am grateful for…

The soothing company of Passenger on the road.

A very tough and enjoyable Pilates session well before dawn this morning (my first in many years), finding great satisfaction in feeling my muscles stretch, strain, and still hold me with greater strength than I thought they could.

Laughing out loud to myself with pure happiness, thinking that I have seldom believed life could contain so much contentment and satisfaction.

Finding new depths of peace with a process that hasn’t gone as I had hoped, but has delivered immensely constructive knowledge and connections nonetheless.

Enriching conversations that opened me to new ideas and perspectives.

Returning home after three early morning runs, seeing dawn start to lighten the horizon with a smile of tired satisfaction.

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The tight excitement in my chest when I think of impending events, visits from loved ones, and many other joys in the coming months.

Sleep. Deep, glorious, peaceful sleep without the restless dreams of work that have disturbed my nights for many exhausting weeks.

The messy, fun, sometimes stressful but ultimately satisfying process of making gingerbread men with the kids, and laughing together at their crazy colours and jelly-tot eyes and buttons – because jelly tots were all we had:-)

Cosy, beautiful new slippers that warm both my toes and my heart.

Watching the gorgeous sunset colours flow from subtle oranges to eye-catching pinks and purples this evening with a welcome sense of peace, knowing that after a great deal of hard work we’re prepared for the exciting weekend to come as we host and play at the Durban International Canoe Polo tournament.

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Gratitude

This week I am grateful for…

A wonderful birthday weekend spent with family and loved ones, with just the right mix of winter sunshine, delicious food, adventures, rich autumnal colours, visits to favourite haunts, conversations, exercise, gorgeous gifts, and happy children.

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My first 5:15am run with a new running group, after which I felt strong, inspired and content.

Finding my acceptance of whatever may come just in time to handle a work disappointment in a calm and constructive way.

Watching the growing confidence and independence of my children with quiet delight.

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Making time to write again.

The precious friends that hold space for me to just be me, with endless love and acceptance, as I do for them.

Friendship 2016 2

5 Years Gone

How did I mark the 5th anniversary of my mother’s death?

With tears, of course.

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And music, as I naturally do.

With memories, and smiles, and more tears.

With an amazingly productive day of Strategic Planning at the organisation where she once worked, and where she brought as much passion as I now bring, in her own unique way. Wearing her necklace, and touching it often as I thought of what she would bring to the process.

With emails from my siblings that mean more than I can express.

With love, gratitude, and sorrow.

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Mom and I in Cornwall

 

Weekly Gratitude

This week I am grateful for…

Creating moments of calm in the midst of all the busy, busy, busy-ness!

Favourite films that never get old.

Ticking a satisfying number of urgent work emails off my to-do list.

Fun projects with my wonderful kids.

Meeting one of my favourite people’s gorgeous little daughter, and remember quite how captivating and cute newborns can be.

Loving my work, even on the most difficult days.

Comforting arms and soothing words from my husband when I needed them most.

Learning and growing each and every day.

Deep, deep sleep at last after restless weeks spent tossing and turning.

Hope, and cautious optimism.

 

Gratitude Remembered

Exactly one month ago I was on an aeroplane on the way the Valencia, Spain, for the World Forum on Access to Land 2016. I was eager and excited about what lay ahead, not knowing that the weeks to come would bring enormous professional challenges. I recently stumbled across a gratitude list I wrote that night, and it made me feel both nostalgic for how much more straightforward things seemed then and, simultaneously, grateful for all that I’ve learnt since.

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Today I am grateful for…

Flying to new places with a heart open to the experiences ahead – without specific hopes or expectations, just a trust in and excitement about what will unfold.

Glancing out the aeroplane window at 00:30 to feel my heart suddenly stirred by the glowing half-moon, illuminating the sea of soft clouds below us.

Noticing the way beauty can stir in me a mixture of heart-lifting joy and tears – a welling up of intensity that feels as sharp as a knife; a pain that isn’t quite sorrow. It feels as if my heart just isn’t big enough to hold or understand the magic of being.

Seeing the day dawn in a country to which I have never previously travelled.

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Transit at dawn, Istanbul

Listening to the flow of many languages I will never understand, and being reminded that there are millions of lives vastly different to my own being lived out across our incredibly diverse world.

Day-dreaming, and the way in which my body can re-experience pleasure and joy simply in the imagining of it.

Feeling how every moment – even just hours spent waiting in an airport – can be rich if we choose to bring ourselves to it fully and gratefully, and not focus our attention on where we are going but where we are.

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Valencia

Articulating Grief

Brene Brown, in her brilliant book “Rising Strong”, writes about what she calls the process of “Rumbling with Grief.” What she describes is probably the closest description of some of the things I have most struggled with in grieving, but found very hard to grasp or articulate. I was moved to share some quotes from her book, as I am sure it will resonate with many others too.

“As someone who has spent close to fifteen years studying the emotional landscape of the human experience, I can tell you that grief is perhaps the emotion we fear the most. As individuals, we’re afraid of the darkness grief brings. As a society, we have pathologized it and turned it into something to cure or get over. Owning our stories of heartbreak is a tremendous challenge when we live in a culture that tells us to deny our grief.

…What I want to share here is what I’ve learned about grief from the research. Specifically, the three most foundational elements of grief that emerged from my studies: loss, longing, and feeling lost.

Loss – While death and separation are tangible losses associated with grief, some of the participants described losses that are more difficult to identify or describe. These included the loss of normality, the loss of what could be, the loss of what we thought we knew or understood about something or someone.

Grief seems to create losses within us that reach beyond our awareness – we feel as if we’re missing something that was invisible and unknown to us while we had it, but is now painfully gone. Continue reading