Sunday, October 26, 2014

Growth in Vermont

I find growth and change and hope and guidance in many places. This weekend I attended a spiritual retreat in Vermont, my 9th year attending. Our group of women ranged in age from 41 to over 70, we come from many walks of life. Some of these women I've known for years, others I just met this weekend. Many of these women have been attending this retreat far longer than me, for others it was their first time. What we all have in common is the goal of being women of grace, dignity, and honor. We all strive to be useful in our lives. We prop each other up, help each other along and generally trudge the road of happy destiny together.

Throughout our weekend, we have many group meetings, shared meals, private conversations, laughs, and tears. We leave time for private reflection, a walk in the woods, or a quick shopping trip in the next town over. Mostly, though, what we have is sisterhood...a family bond that is the family-of-choice sort.

From these women, I received some insightful feedback over the weekend. They shared with me how they had watched me grow over these past nine years, observed how I am living today, and suggested ways to further improve upon the life that I have. While I already saw in myself some of the things they observed, some I did not. Regardless of the observations they made, they delivered them gently, respectfully, and with love. They offered possible solutions to blockages I put in my own way. I asked them to hold me accountable for the growth I hope to continue and foster. I asked for their help.

At the end of our time together, one woman shared the following reading, which I was able to find online here:

This image, by Jen Delyth, can be found at 

I Hare have been the clever one,
up to my tricks, always a winner,
fooling man and beast – but not now,
not you, pretty lady, holy one.
You untwist my deviousness.
I huddle at your feet 
in your garments’ folds, 
and am simple hare, fool hare, hunted hare.
I have doubled and doubled,
am spent, blown, not a trick left
to baffle pursuers.
A leap of despair 
has brought me to you.

Like the hare, I seek the shelter of these women. I seek their protection. I seek their guidance, their advice. I seek neither to trick, nor to deceive, nor to run any longer. I seek to be left bare and to be in their care, under their tutelage, allowed to grow, to make mistakes, but mostly to become the woman I seek to be.



Honestly, I can't be bothered to go back and load all the missing I'll start with meals when I returned home.

Thai veggie curry, mixed veggies, and cauliflower
cheese ravioli and cauliflower

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Being an Adult

I'm ecstatic to share that I've heard and seen so many pieces of good news lately...engagements, births, foster placements/adoptions, marriages, birthdays, anniversaries, travels...all kinds of good stuff. All the good stuff about being an adult.

Unfortunately, being an adult also comes with some not so great stuff. Stuff like mis-communication, difficult conversations, hurt feelings, confusion, learning that taking a hard long look in the mirror doesn't always reveal the person we aspire to be, and vulnerabilities that we wish weren't exposed. Yeah, the weekend is getting off to a banner, but necessary start.

It's never pleasant when we realize that we did or said something that negatively impacts another. Especially when the other person is someone who we care about and don't want to hurt. What's worse is when we realize that the feedback that was given has been given before by others. That this is a behavioral pattern that I should have been aware of.

Because I don't want to hurt this person, because I care for this person, I want to modify the behaviors that I didn't realize were hurtful. Unfortunately, this information is still so new to me that I find myself being defensive, angry even. I certainly wish that I had been made aware sooner and that this news had been given to me in a different, gentler way. The important piece is that I now have it...and there is value in having received it in a way that I found hurtful and unpleasantly surprising.

Right now, I'm in a place of thinking that modifying my behavior to fit the needs of another is tantamount to censorship, not being truthful to who I am, that the other person should be less sensitive. I also know that I need to quickly move past this feeling. Feelings aren't facts, and this is not the attitude of the person I aspire to be. It's times like this that I need to fall back on some readings that have guided me and helped me find serenity and happiness.

"...And acceptance is the answer to all
my problems today...Unless I accept life completely
on life's terms, I can not be happy. I need to concentrate
not so much on what needs to be changed in the 
world as on what needs to be changed in me 
and in my attitudes"

"...grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.
To understand, than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven..."

And those of you who know me, certainly know that I am not a religious person...but the prayer from which the second reading comes embodies the values I seek to live. I am far from perfect in that quest, as evidenced by recent experience. I have much work to do. Today, I seek to change my attitudes and behaviors.

No photos today...just a processing of thoughts and an attempt to re-frame my feelings so that I can learn and grow from my experience.