Friday, December 30, 2011
Grace & Gratitude ~ Happy New Year!
As this year of 2011 comes to a close, I am feeling an array of emotions brought on by days past and an excitement to eagerly step into the New Year. It is needed; it is time. This year has evoked every human emotion for me, all the symptoms of life choices and important journeys taken. Each emotion and feeling has stretched, pulled, pushed and tugged me in every which way, but all, as I sit here today in reflection on a bumpy flight from the east coast to west, have left me breathless and sated with two feelings that outweigh the others, grace and gratitude.
I do my very best in every life situation to handle whatever comes my way with grace. I certainly don’t always succeed and sometimes I fall, but the simple word itself conjures such inspiration and tranquility that it makes you want to try even harder to incorporate its true essence into your life.
Gratitude can prove more challenging than grace, or so I’ve experienced. We can all focus on what didn’t happen, what dreams didn’t quite come to fruition or live up to our expectations. We can choose to live in those empty spaces of unfulfilledness or realize that a journey is a journey and along the way life shows up to offer guidance or shift our glance, always knowing better than we. I have learned in 2011 what it means to consciously wake up every day and choose gratitude. It has become an inherent part of my life and it’s as powerful and important as choosing a life-partner, or making an important decision that alters your course.
I can honestly say that the combination of choosing to live a (gluten-free) life of grace and gratitude has opened me up to see the abundance in my life and within the lives of all those around me. It has reminded me again and again to embrace every soul that I’ve drawn to my life, whether they are close-by for the duration, or leave their individual mark of influence while passing through.
Just the other day I toured the Tennis Hall of Fame Museum in Newport, Rhode Island with my brother. I’ve been back east for Christmas with my family and exploring my brother and his family’s new city of residence. My brother and I have shared a deep love for one another and tennis our entire lives. One of my fondest childhood memories was spending hour upon hour hitting tennis balls against our wooden garage door together, honing our shots, saving our competitive juices for when we hit the court. He usually beat me and still does to this day, but the bond that one sport can form between siblings is priceless and enduring. Wandering through the museum we arrived in the “Andre Agassi room,” a special section dedicated to Andre’s career and accomplishments due to the fact that he was inducted this past July. As we made our way through the room we were both stopped in our tracks by Andre’s induction speech that was being played as a loop on a TV monitor above. Taking in only part of his speech would not do…no, we listened and watched the emotional speech in its entirety.
Having read Andre’s book, “Open,” this past summer, I felt a stronger connection to the heart-felt words of life that he was so eloquently expressing, while fighting back his own tears the whole way through. One of the most moving parts of his book and consequently his speech, was the story of his encounter with Nelson Mandela, while visiting Africa en route to safari. The words that Mr. Mandela imparted on Andre were life changing and helped guide him to the next steps of his journey, but this time by making more “careful choices” along the way and living a life with more care. That really stuck with me. By the time Andre’s speech came to a close my brother and I felt tears welling and were so moved by the transformation of a life that one man was so willing to share with all of us, with the world. Whether you’re a great athlete, famous author or a simple person moving through the world while struggling, growing, stretching each and every day, none of us can truly find our greatness until we’ve “spent a little time at rock bottom and gotten comfortable there,” as Andre so perfectly expressed. For it is from that space that we all find ourselves and relearn what is truly important to take with us on each of our journeys.
If you haven’t read “Open” read it. The book struck me to the core and has lingered in a very significant way. Now, I realize that at one point I had a raging crush on the guy and my brother in turn, only dressed in Agassi gear (yes, we were obsessed), but the point it this…we can all get in our own way, we can fight destiny, we can even choose to ignore the whisper of our authentic self until it bursts through, but without question and as difficult as this is to grasp at times, everything in one’s life happens for a reason. Period.
Along those lines, I wanted to share two of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year that have come to me through other blogs I so enjoy reading, and both arrived at just the right time. I hope these powerful quotes fill you up in a way only you can know, as they have for me. How life changing a quote can be. Words, powerful words.
“Expectations are premature disappointments”
“Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty"
A very blessed, abundant, and gluten-free New Year to you and yours ~