Purging and prioritizing: housekeeping for the soul

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regrets mistakes memories

Hard, this life thing. Over the past few weeks I’ve engaged in significant housekeeping tasks that, below the surface, denote a clean slate—a ‘starting over’ in practice and in theory. On the home front, I’ve tackled clutter and tossed what is no longer necessary, bagged up things to be sorted through eventually and donated items I hope might bless others. My personal life also experienced a collective loss, which has become the catalyst toward a sense of peace and healing—an opportunity to put my priorities in right order, to live with intention instead of allowing life to happen to me. Every regret or mistake I’ve made is a lesson learned, a temporary memory purged much like photos that fade over time or are deleted off a hard drive. And then replaced by the truth of knowing I’m finally on the right path as I leave behind my self-centered ways and prepare to step into my fabulous new life.

How do you ‘get over’ regrets or mistakes?

Days 16 — 30 of thanks

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

As a continuation of my 15 days of thanks post, here are the remainder of tangibles and intangibles I am ever grateful for.  Of course, there are countless more objects of my affection.  These are just the tip of the iceberg.

16)    One less thing to worry about (the rental property sold!).
17)    The relationship I now share with my daughter after years of struggling with the parent-child dynamics.
18)    Franklin, as in day planner.  Without it, I may forget to write my blogs.
19)    Words with Friends.  Great for vegging out while maintaining an active mind.
20)    Moisturizer.  Or I would look like a lizard 24/7.
21)    My backyard, a private oasis.
22)    Roof rat-free attic.  Knock on wood, or last year’s chewed water line.
23)    Short Arizona winters a.k.a. long Arizona summers.
24)    Kisses and hugs.
25)    Hot tea.
26)    A rare cloudy day.
27)    Happy memories.
28)    “Firsts,” even at my age.
29)    Chips and salsa.
30)    My dentist.

What are you thankful for today?

To die tomorrow or live forever

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[Image credit: Jennifer Ellison]

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.
~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

It’s possible I could die tomorrow.  If that were true, I’d spend today with the people most important to me doing what I love the most: likely combing the shell-laden southeast beaches and writing the remainder of my story as a snapshot in time, building memories that will live on long after I’m gone.  There would be no time to sweat the small stuff, but just enough to cram decades of dreams into 24 hours of living.  But if I were to live forever, hopefully I would build upon each life lesson — always thirsting for knowledge, yet passing along to others the wisdom of my experience.  I think when it comes right down to it, however, it’s all about learning to live life to the fullest regardless — of time and of circumstance.  Always living, learning and loving.

What would your today look like if there were no tomorrows?

Bottling the joy

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[Image credit: markuso]

Joy is the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles,
which knows triumph. ~ William Butler Yeats

When my daughter was little, we enjoyed a particularly joy-filled day.  I emailed her dad something along the lines of wishing I could bottle the day, so that on the hard ones, I could pop the cork and remember our good times.  Over the years, on those not so great days, her dad made it a habit to forward me that same email and I’d reflect on our special day.  Although I haven’t seen the email for many years now, there are still times in my life I wish I could bottle, events I could replay — those instances where all is fleetingly right with the world.  Especially on days when I feel like I’m spinning my wheels in limbo or feeling the sting of rejection.  On days like that I would uncork the bottle and allow the sweet memories to bathe me in their heady tonic, reminding me of my worth.  Of course, it doesn’t work like that.  The highs are highs and the lows are lows.  But as Yeats suggests, when I overcome the obstacles, my joy will be waiting.

How do you “bottle” the highs?

A mother’s musings

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.  ~ Author Unknown

My mom let go over three years ago.  And before she passed away, she was trapped in a mind and body destroyed by Alzheimer’s Disease.  But I will never forget her hugs.  They were the kind that invited you to kick off your shoes, sink in and stay awhile.  She really knew how to be present in the moment, giving 100 percent of herself in each hug.  When my family moved halfway across the country and I would feel her absence or need a pick-me-up, I’d dial her number to hear her say her arms were wrapped around me.  I would close my eyes, recalling the soft feel of her body against mine and the faint hint of powder lingering on her skin — her strength seeping into me in spite of the distance.  So even though she let go, I’m still holding on to those memories … I hope I can give that same gift to my own daughter.  With that said, if you’re a mama with children of your own (human or otherwise), expecting your first bundle or have loved and lost, Happy Mother’s Day.  And may your hugs be remembered long after you let go.

Have you hugged someone lately?

That was then, this is now

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[Image credit: http://www.last.fm/music/%5D

Davy Jones and The Monkees were a big part of my ‘tween years.  Yesterday, the heartthrob of many young girls (including me) passed away at the age of 66.  Much loved TV shows from the ’70s and ’80s are either distant recollections or in syndication on a remote channel, while contemporary sitcoms easily slide into the new “favorites” category.  The year my daughter was born, Minnesota’s Mall of America, boasting its indoor theme park named Camp Snoopy, celebrated its grand opening.  After several years, the park transformed into Nickelodeon, with some rides the same and a few new, but with a different premise.  My old neighborhood theater still shows films for a dollar, but in place of the kitty-corner drug store, a wine bar and café — definitely an improvement in my opinion — welcomes an eclectic group of patrons.  Our pasts and our presents are intertwined so much so, that for me it’s hard to say goodbye to meaningful icons or landmarks … it’s as if I’m closing the door to a piece of my heritage.  But thankfully, the memories remain.  And new ones are continually filling in the gaps.

What people or places help define your journey?