Most people think of the big moments in life as being the happy times (like babies, graduations, vacations, weddings, parties and celebrations.) These are great events that bring joy but are few and far between. But, the kind of happiness I’m talking about is so much more. It’s a bit like the 80/20 rule—where eighty percent of the time you’re feeling really good and twenty percent of the time you’re feeling other stuff.
I prescribe to the idea that our learning is never done. Truth is, I love to be a participant at a workshop as much as I enjoy teaching. Every year I immerse myself in a week-long experience where I become the student again, opening myself up to growth and transformation.
Last year was a highly productive year. (And by that I mean, busy. And oh so fun.)
With a new book out, I was all the way out there as I promoted and launched that baby. From Heartbreak to Wholeness is a book that I had to birth. It was a project with a long gestation period: ten years of healing. Little did I know a decade ago that 2019 would hold the birthday of these healing words.
Many of my single friends are driven to obsession with finding a mate—whether again or for the first time. Yet, despite my widowhood, I wake up happy and rarely feel lonely. Sure, there are times I would love to turn over at night and hug my partner in bed. But mostly, I’m sleeping peacefully these days and waking up in joy.
I had a comical moment with my kids recently. They suggested I might be getting a bit forgetful. I must admit that I felt a little defensive about that. After all, I was one week in to overcoming jet lag and switching my days and nights around. I had traveled from the Bay Area to the mountains—from sea level to 3,700 feet. And, I’d just changed my diet from having a carb fest in Italy to a low-carb Keto diet. There was just a tiny bit I was asking my body to acclimate to—don’t you agree?
About ten days ago, I woke up at 3am, feeling restless. Several friends from my Italy retreat had decided to travel on with me to Florence, and that night we were settled right in the heart of one of the most gorgeous cities in the world. I was eager to get up to watch the sunrise over the Pontevechio.
I wonder what my younger self thought I’d be like in mid-life. I suppose I thought I’d slow down, rest more, move more carefully. And now as I sit in bed writing this blog at 4:55am, with a full day ahead of me, I chuckle to myself. So much for slowing down!
Do you ever think about the word retreat as it’s used in battle?
When troops retreat, they make a choice to leave the fight for a while. Battle requires intense perseverance and extreme focus; it’s exhausting. After all, even the bravest warriors reach their limits.
As I sit here and ponder my book launch this past week and a half—yet another book born into the world, now ten days old—I am thinking about the events of the past days... all the podcast interviews, the Hallmark Home & Family show, the book launch parties and events and signings yet to happen; it’s all been a whirlwind of joy.
When you are in the early days of loss, happiness can feel like a long-forgotten dream. Any little inkling that vaguely resembles joy feels surprising, in fact—a snippet of emotion so foreign amidst a sea of grief.