There was travel and camping, and picture taking expeditions. Yes, this is the year I had cancer, but even that is good.
Among the lessons offered by said disease is the need to let go, and the need to get past obstructions. The way to get past an obstruction is to let the thing go.
Meditation is something I do almost daily. Mine is a hybrid of meditation-hypnosis as they occur in the same level of consciousness. Often I start with writing, be it gratitude, free writing, sorting out something on my mind, whatever.
Then I move on to the altered state work. In it I take whatever gets dredged up and look at it.
In the past I would simply acknowledge the incident, admit it, and move away from it.
Now I add one more step. Because of the lessons of 2014 I learned this:
Leave it to its time.
Recall an embarrassing moment? A stupid thing you did, said, believed? They come up at the most annoying times. When they do it is because they've something to show you.
Acknowledge them, accept them, and leave them.
If it happened when you were 12, then it is a part of your past and stays at 12. You can't undo what happened, you can only get beyond it.
If you did it last week, leave it there. Granted that's still pretty fresh. It may take some time and distance to get beyond it, but if it is important to your growth it will come back to haunt you.
When that happens, let it bubble up and then leave it to its time.
It is a part of your past. That is where it belongs.
The experience of it stays with you and that is what is important. What you've learned, how you've grown, those things matter.
Keep the lesson, leave the incident.
With that I acknowledge 2014 and those matters which may be perceived as bad. I am grateful for them, and I leave them to their time.
Have you ever wondered what happens if you don't use fixer on a photograph?
As part of my journalism training way back when I learned how to develop film and photographs.
We were told what happens if one doesn't use the fix after developing a print.
All that did was make me more curious as to what a print looks like without it and how long it lasts.
So one fine day in fall of '79 I decided to find out.
I put the photo through the developing chemicals and the stop bath and then took it out to the light.
This is the result:
I like the effect. I think I'll call it The Farm at the End of Time.
Salt and pepper are almost everywhere we go. They finish a food. They set off flavour. We tend to use them automatically whether what we are about to eat requires them or not.
It isn't until they aren't where expected that I realized I am grateful for them.
We were in Cuba in 2010, a land of very plain, bland cooking, at least for the tourists.
Salt would do wonders for the food, but it wasn't always available.
Pepper was even rarer.
When we did get a small bit of salt it was usually a victim of the humidity.
This rarity reminded me how these common condiments are taken for granted.
About 20 years ago my doctor found I had borderline high blood pressure. The wisdom of the day was to cut back on salt.
I tried an experiment wherein I didn't add any salt to the food on my plate. I did this for two weeks. It went well at first as I found foods like onion gave good flavour.
But one day I had cramps. As I enjoyed them I had the idea it was due to needing salt. I had nothing to go on leading me to this conclusion beyond it was the only thing different in my life.
I ate some salt.
The pain disappeared
I went back to using salt.
The alleged borderline blood pressure left of its own accord.
As for pepper, it varies. I've gone without it from time to time based solely on what I felt like at the time.
Currently I use fresh ground. It sets off a simple fried egg beautifully and among its flavouring uses it enhances ginger in gingerbread.
Salt and pepper.
So simple, so ubiquitous in most of North America, and so important, yet rarely considered. For them I am grateful.
It's good to try new things. If you restrict yourself to the things you know you're good at, then your life will be restricted, too.
Follow your interests. The speak from the deepest part of you. We all need to be heard, even if the only person who hears us is our own self.
I have mentioned on this blog I have taken up drawing.
I bought some drawing books including one specific to dragons as I am fond of them.
It stared out in all innocence. I had a picture in my mind I wanted to draw believing that seeing it would help me write it.
I never did write that scene. I no longer needed it. But through practice and drawing and having fun, I got better at it.
Better is not great, but it is improved and that's important. I may never be great at drawing.
I don't care.
I wanted a picture of a wolf howling.
Here it is:
Last week I saw my cancer surgeon. The meeting lasted about two minutes because the news was good.
I had a blood test earlier to check for the increased presence of a particular antigen, CEA.
It wasn't there.
I am grateful.
This test will be done every three months. It is my position similar results will be found.
Yesterday marked seven years since the day I was diagnosed with heart failure. Last year I finished weaning myself off the medication for it and now only take low dose ASA every day.
I am grateful for that, too.
Today I had planned to go see my cancer surgeon for a follow up visit.
It had been planned since the first follow up in September. But last week the appointment got shifted from today to tomorrow.
This means that my husband can't come with me. He'd taken today off to do so, but can't have tomorrow off.
I have to go to the hospital rather than the doctor's office and that means I have to pay for parking.
It is hardly serious, but when one looks for things to be annoyed about one finds them.
But I am still seeing the surgeon and it's only one day after I was supposed to.
Rather than stay irked I have decided to see it for what it is, a change in plans.
Life is fluid. It ebbs and flows showing areas in an ebb that are covered in a flow.
This is a minor inconvenience that may well turn out to be a blessing. Even if it doesn't so what?
I am grateful I am still going to see the surgeon, and I am grateful I can see this change for what it is, an ebb in the flow of life.
Today is the 26th anniversary of my first day on the job as senior reporter for The Mountaineer.
I am grateful I was hired.
It meant I got to move here to Rocky.
Yesterday I celebrated the anniversary of the day I moved here. It was the best move I ever made.
This is for a variety of reasons, notably it is where I met and married the nice man who is my husband.
It is the chief reason I stayed.
I no longer work for the newspaper. Instead I spend my time at home writing books.
I am grateful for this, too.
The underlying reason I am able to do this is I was hired by Brian Mazza. He had taken over as editor of his family's newspaper a week or so earlier. He needed a reporter.
Be it fate, providence, or a simple case of right place, right time, I am grateful.