Another day has begun, with a few days left before I embark on my twenty-ninth year as a teacher. How can that be? Another day to work hard at what I love, to appreciate the life that Dan and I have built together. Another day to commune with my animals, to learn from them as they live ever in the moment. Another day to climb to the top deck to see the view that never fails to inspire me. Another day to work on living better, trying to be a better human being.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the every day drama, forgetting to feel gratitude for the little things that make up our lives. It’s those “little things” we take for granted that make such a difference in the quality of our lives; our health, our relationships with friends and loved ones, the peace of our homes, the jobs that hopefully stretch us and allow us to give back to our communities in some way. So often, I catch myself grumbling about the news, the traffic, issues at work…but I am trying my best to stop in my tracks and count my many blessings instead of my troubles. There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how challenging our lives are. When I look for the positives, it puts me in a better place, making it easier to face the difficulties that come my way. It’s not always easy to do that when the troubles in our paths seem insurmountable…but I try to remember that there is always someone who has it worse than I do. Always.
This summer has been a time of growth and change for me, with the first anniversary of my dance with grief coming up on Saturday. I took control of my health and have lost thirty-six pounds so far, eating so much better and exercising faithfully. I have worked on calming my mind through meditation and yoga, and am learning to not feel guilty about taking some time for me to recharge. I seem to always put my needs last on the list…but when I do that all of the time, there comes a point where I don’t have anything left to give to others. I’m finally learning that it’s all about balance, and I am working on what that means in my life. I see so many things about myself that I want to improve, but it doesn’t scare me anymore- I look forward to the trial and error of the process of change. I really hope that I will keep being open to change and growth until my last breath….when we close ourselves off to change, we begin to die inside, and that’s no way to live.
I have a long to-do list of things to accomplish before faculty meetings and classes begin, both at the office and at home. Every single day filled with opportunities to find reasons to be grateful, to make reasons to be grateful. I feel as if I am starting this new school year a very different person than I was last year, broken as I was less than two weeks after my mother’s death. I feel strong and confident, excited about my new students, my returning students, the new music I am learning, the recitals I will perform, the new leadership in my department…the many possibilities. As I sit at the desk in my home studio looking out at the lush green of summer, I feel inspired and ready to get to work. One more day to be alive…and this time, with feeling.