Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A good frame of mind

Iwish I could sleep, but since I can't, I might as well blog. Earlier today, I was at Get a Grip, a blog I've just recently discovered but wish I had a long time ago. Her entry on Thanksgiving was a good reminder to me. It's easy to get caught up in all the food and the holiday rush, but Thanksgiving is a holiday that has given me a twinge of discomfort ever since I outgrew a kindergartener's view of the Pilgrims. Its historical roots of a harvest celebration with a people viewed as inferior and worthy of extermination if they couldn't be convinced to believe as the newcomers did are a rich example of the hypocrisy within our nation.

Despite that, I still think it's important that we, as a culture, set aside a day to give thanks. We need the reminder. Gratitude is one of the best tools for sanity I've ever discovered. Honestly looking at the flaws in the history gives one humility, another significant and vastly under-rated sanity tool. Gratitude and humility also seem to be two of the significant themes for this year in my life.

When one has had the problems with depression that I've had, a wildly wavering self-esteem seems to be par for the course. At the low times, it's easy to forget that humility is something that is necessary. I think that springs from a deep misunderstanding of humility. It's most often viewed as a type of head hanging shame when it's really a vital component of a healthy self-worth. Humility is truly honesty about one's self; not letting our gifts and talents inflate themselves beyond their proper scope, being able to give one's self proper credit for accomplishments and abilities and being willing to work on the real shortcomings. Without humility, neither staying true to self nor making significant change is possible.

However, humility is a heck of a balancing act, and acquiring it can really be uncomfortable. In fact, it stings like an antiseptic applied to a fresh wound, and just like mercurochrome, it kills off what doesn't need to be living there. Accepting these losses of pride, being able to admit that you can't do everything on your own, admitting your interdependence and weakness in a world that disparages both is not easy.

It will eventually sink in
that worry is a fruitless
waste of energy.
The healing is worth it, though, and the great thing is that it doesn't leave a scar. You emerge better, stronger and more flexible for having been humbled.

I look at the debris of my marriage now and feel humility and hope. We had some really wonderful things and screwed them up. Being able to see what went wrong gives me hope that I can make things better, either with or without my husband, and for that I'm grateful.

I have been loved over the last 20 years, and my husband is beginning to realize just what a poor job he's done of showing that. That he hasn't expressed it well doesn't mean that he hasn't felt it, and for the love he's felt I'm grateful.

I'm grateful this has been a terrible year in my industry. When you start in a field during the fat times, you don't have to be as diligent or learn as much as you do when it's lean. This year has made me feel like a failure several times, but conversations with people who've been working in this field longer than I have shown me in what a good position I will be in thanks to the skills I've developed. I'm grateful for mentors who will help other people along.

I'm grateful for loneliness. When it's only you for your own company, you learn how to be your own friend. It's good to care for myself again.

I'm grateful for friends. Real life and virtual, you have enriched my life so much.

I'm grateful for having a teenager. Despite the teen angst and drama, the rebellion and normal head butting that we have to do now, this is a rich and exciting time of life, and seeing my daughter transition into such a strong, cool woman while I'm transitioning into the next phase of womanhood myself is a rich gift. I used to think that mothers and daughters pairing adolescence with perimenopause was a cosmic joke. I've learned that it's also deep, deep wisdom.

I'm sitting here tonight, very calm, very peaceful. Earlier today, I was in a small panic over a few troublesome issues that I still don't know how I'll resolve. I just have faith that they can be taken care of, and I'm grateful for the many times I've had to relearn that lesson this year. It will eventually sink in that worry is a fruitless waste of energy. I'm grateful for the calm.

Tomorrow, I'll be baking pies and casseroles to bring to the multiple Thanksgiving dinners I'm attending. It's good to have people in my life who want me to be with them, and it's good to go into this holiday with my heart open and grateful. I hope you can all have a moment of that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loneliness teaches us many things. Enjoy the holiday, Cynthia. Try to get some rest! You deserve it!

November 22, 2006 2:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

What I wouldn't give for YOU to be part of my Thanksgiving celebration. I am truly thankful for you, for your wisdom, for the things you inspire in me.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving, Cyn. Now I have to go write a Thanksgiving entry of my own... :-]

November 22, 2006 2:43 AM  
Blogger redsneakz said...

And I am grateful for your friendship as well. I had forgotten how well you write.

November 22, 2006 6:48 AM  
Anonymous andrena said...

Peaceful "Thanks Giving" to you, Cynthia!

November 22, 2006 8:11 AM  
Blogger Stephen Bess said...

"Earlier today, I was in a small panic over a few troublesome issues that I still don't know how I'll resolve. I just have faith that they can be taken care of,..."

Yes, that faith will move mountains. It's great that you were able to spend time with yourself. It surprises me how so many people cannot.
Many blessings~


November 22, 2006 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Cynthia. Lisa is right -- maybe some year we need a blogging Thanksgiving meeting in person!

November 22, 2006 6:56 PM  
Blogger Wenda said...

And I'm grateful for the all the pleasure I've had in reading here tonight. I want you to know I was back and forth while doing other things, so I've probably seemed parked here for a while.

November 29, 2006 12:16 AM  

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