Having an Attitude of Gratitude

It’s been a while (OK, a really long while) since my last post.  My friends, both at work and at home have asked the same question that I’ve been asking myself … “Why did you stop writing?”

The most obvious answer was … minutes, hours, and days seem to pass away with ease.  Like most, I get ready for school and work in the morning, try to make sure the dog has gotten sufficient attention (which never seems to be enough), cook in the evening, do the laundry, homework/projects … need I go on? And then, try to make sure to fit in friends, family, and some “me” time.  Oh yes … and then there’s the little matter of inspiration.

Well, part of the “me” time recently has been a further embarking on my spiritual journey.  And, on this path to enlightenment, I found the profound impact that simple meditation can have on balancing life, renewing appreciation of everything, and on providing inspiration.  In fact, this post came to me as I was sitting on a plane with my son heading for Arizona for Spring Break.  Thoughts of my recent meditation session last Saturday night came racing through my head.  In that session, I found myself amongst 30 individuals, all on their own journeys, laying on my green yoga mat, eyes closed, covered in a tweed blanket, purple satin pillow under my head, lights dimmed, new age music playing in the background, and Donna, the studio owner, walking around and through us and setting the intention (or the focus of the evening’s meditation) on “Abundance”.  She slowly walked, and explained that we need to take the time to be thankful for all the things we have … you can imagine my surprise when she said “I’m thankful for my refrigerator … can you imagine having to get blocks of ice to keep your food cold?”  And then it clicked …

Visions came flying across my mind’s screen … everything from the obvious, such as I’m thankful for the love, support, friendship, and health, my family and my kids, to the less obvious, such as even though the dog still has accidents in the house and she howls in the morning waking us up at 5:30 am on a Saturday, I’m thankful for the unconditional love and protection of that mutt (my refrigerator didn’t initially come to mind but on second thought I am pretty thankful for that as well!)  I continued … the smell of the ocean, the feel of the sun on your face, tears, sneezes, the internet, Iphones, love, firepits, having propane during a storm …

And then I thought about my colleague who unexpectedly lost her mom a couple of weeks ago, and thought … abundance … be thankful for whatever time you have together.  Or my friend who lost her job, went back to school, and is now enjoying a fulfilling new career … abundance … be thankful for opportunities that may not always present themselves as such at first.  Or friends who have struggled with addiction … abundance … be thankful for available support networks, the courage to move past challenges, and the strength to get through each day.

Don’t let minutes, hours, and days pass away without thinking about the Abundance in your life.  The simple thought of appreciating the things in your life (even if it’s your refrigerator), will provide you with an “attitude of gratitude” and put things into perspective.

And that’s my two cents … for whatever it’s worth …

You Don’t Have to be a Father to be a “Father”

It’s been a short 18 months and yet it feels like forever.  I remember the nursing home and the 2 hour drive to get there, first of endless highway then of winding wooded roads.  I can still see my dad during his last months and remember his concern that his once thick, straight, jet black hair, now thinning and white, was getting too long.  That the nails on his once strong masculine hands, now too weak to even hold a fork, needed to be groomed.  I remember reaching for the hair  buzzer he had carried with him to his new room and standing behind him while he tried to keep upright in his wheelchair and respectfully and lovingly beginning to buzz his hair.  The hands that used to hold me to the ceiling as a child while he would dance around the room singing “que sera, sera” were now in my hands and those of my brother and sister.

Today as I sat by his graveside, eyes closed, hearing every bird, smelling each blade of grass, and feeling the wind on my skin, I know that the connection remains and that a big part of who I am today is because of him.

And it made me realize that it begs the question, especially on Father’s Day, what is it to be a father?  Anyone can biologically create, but it’s a select few who can truly be a dad.  It is those who have the ability to unconditionally love, to sit back and, while it may pain them,  watch us make mistakes so we can learn and then help to put the pieces back together when we fall.  They sacrifice time and pieces of themselves for us.  They wearily pick up the phone at 4:00 in morning because their daughter calls to say there’s a flood in the bathroom.  it’s coming to the rescue when they get a call to say their child is stuck on the highway with a newborn;it’s hearing, “Dad, I don’t know what to do”, and without giving the answer, he says something that puts you back on track.

But what about those who have lost a father, either due to illness or other circumstances?  Or to fathers who may have lost a child to an accident or  untimely sickness?  There are men in our lives, uncles, brothers, friends, who step in to provide the same loving guidance and sacrifice that many “natural” fathers don’t or can’t.  Without even knowing it, they have significant impact on a child’s life.  So, today, let’s take a minute to appreciate and thank all the men in our lives who have been a “father” and who continue to shape our lives and our selves.

And that’s my two cents for whatever it’s worth … Happy Father’s Day!

Hello World!

When growing up, most of us were so certain of our lives ahead. We were going to be dancers, or veterinarians, playing for the NBA, or travelling through space. We were going to fall madly in love, have 3 kids, a house and 2 dogs (or, for some of us, we were going to maintain our independence, climb the corporate ladder, all while sipping wine in a different country as often as possible (without the kids or dogs!))

At some point though, reality hit. Many of us wound up in careers that we never knew existed. We either had kids we didn’t expect or didn’t have the kids we anticipated all along. We fell in love not wanting to, or out of love not expecting to. And we either learned to play the hand we were dealt or we asked for a re-deal.

Take me for example. I knew I was going to be a journalist and write for a major newspaper. I was going to have 4 kids, a dog, and a house in the suburbs (I never was quite certain of the “love” part!) Instead, I “fell” into Human Resource Management while in undergrad school and have grown a successful career in Corporate America ever since. I’ve fallen in and out of love, experienced interfaith relationships, have rolled on the marriage wheel a couple of times (and fallen off!), lived an alternative life style for a period of time, and tolerated city living until I conjured up the courage to move myself and my kids to what my daughter referred to at the time as “suburban hell”. I’ve raised 3 millennials, am working on my 9 year old now (I’m not sure what generation we’re at.. Gen Z??), and, as a mother, have dealt with everything ranging from the physical and emotional destruction of bulimia to the devastation of totaling a first car to the excitement of being accepted to a top tier law school, and pretty much everything in between. (Now that I think about it, I realize the only part of my life that I had actually expected was the 4 kids and the dog!)

So, how does this all tie into Sheri’s Two Cents? While I never did make it to the NY Times, I still love to write. And what I have come to realize is that I have been able to make an impact on people’s lives through my words, which are based on my own experiences and my own life’s journey. My hope is that this Blog will touch one of you in some way. Whether it’s to provide some stimulating controversy in your life, or to provide you with a new window from which to view your world, I’ll offer you my two cents (for whatever it’s worth.)

 

ps – My first blog is also my “about” … enjoy!