I am so very fortunate to be dancing thru life on earth in 2016. It is no all easy by any stretch of the imagination. It is mostly an affront to my ego. But this is how it is supposed to be. My ego needs to be drop kicked as often as possible.
While the daily ego bashing continues, so do many amazing opportunities to savor some very beautiful aspects of life on earth. Vivid color. Celebrations. Gastronomic innovations. Simple good food. Heart-opening artworks. Flowers and fauna. Kinship and kindness. Recovery and new beginnings.
These are the true gifts of the season and of life. Here are some memories of this year’s holiday celebrations I shared. Parties have an entirely new meaning from a sober point of view.
Merry Christmas to all of us. May we each have a chance to take in the gifts and the lights of the holidays.
I acted and behold, service was joy.…..Rabindranath Tagore
today i humbly present tracey thorn’s new vid and song. i
i do believe that this holiday season will be the best i have had in several years. although i am busy, i have tapped into peace of mind that i have not been able to access in the previous sober years. whatever this is or whatever this means, i am thrilled that there seems to be no major crisis going on in my life. i am not in conflict with anyone of real significance. my relationships with friends and with co-workers are smooth and without much strife. my family and i are simpatico and i am feelin’ good.
ebenezer scrooge woke up on christmas morning after having been visited by 3 spirits that had rocked his world and his world view. as i imagine, he was stunned for a few moments wondering if there would be more visitors or if this “awake” were real. he runs to his window to confirm that he is in his house, in his time, and “in” his mind. he calls down to a young man passing asking “what day is this?”. upon realizing that his bleak future that was forecast by one of the nighttime visitors had not become real, he felt a sense of relief and hope that he probably had not felt in years.
To dispel darkness and usher in new day,To light up the path leading towards glow;There is celebration marked along the wayOf perfumed oils, lamps and delicacy stow.The Festival of Lights brightens the East,To reflect in jocund spirit Occident love;It symbolizes time for triumph and feast,Day by night that is blessed from above.Call it what you may or celebrate whenever,Give it form of will or meaning filled a-new,It epitomizes the victory of peace over sever,And regenerates space for all that is ever true.Spelling the onset of winter, frost and cold,Bringing on the warmth of glow and light,All festivities center on creating fresh mold,Awaiting with discrimination, end of night.Harkening the forces of prosperity and joy,Calling upon the auspiciousness of deed,Festivities strengthen deep faith to destroy,Forces of evil and hate, to harmony cede.Designed around the need to retrace intent,To question and analyze with mental rites,May the universe unfold in genuine assent,To spread felicity during the Festival of Lights.
after the tryptophan of the few days off in november wanes, the swing of the winter axis takes place. it is the celebration of lights that is my north american holiday. it coincides with the winter solstice which is the shortest day of the year and accordingly the longest night. the lights that symbolize this may very well be an attempt to light that darkest part of our year with the sunlight of spirit.
it occurred to me today in a meeting that the emotions that stir in me around the holidays are very much paralleled to the decorations that i unpack each year to adorn my mantle, windows, and doors. my memories are nudged from slumber as i dust off mementos from previous winters and i connect to a deeper part of self. the very fact that i have my own symbols of light and sparkle speak volumes to the idea that the energy that swirls at this time of year is very close to my center. and my culture has taught me to collect sparkle during the longest dark to remind me that there is light in the world.
“Shall we liken Christmas to the web in a loom? There are many weavers, who work into the pattern the experience of their lives. When one generation goes, another comes to take up the weft where it has been dropped. The pattern changes as the mind changes, yet never begins quite anew. At first, we are not sure that we discern the pattern, but at last we see that, unknown to the weavers themselves, something has taken shape before our eyes, and that they have made something
very beautiful, something which compels our understanding.”
– Earl W. Count, 4,000 Years of Christmas
went to see “black swan” yesterday. didn’t see the girl on girl soft porn scene comin’. but i did love the way the actual storyline of the ballet came to life in the film. it was dark. it was not expected, but it was thoughtful. it’s good to still be surprised though.
am working a lot this coming week. may not post as often as i have been. had a friend over for dinner and a movie last night. fell asleep 3 or 4 times during the film russel crowe and ben affleck in “state of play” shhh…. i had seen it before.
working a party today in parker. hope it doesn’t run terribly long. as i am going along this holiday season, i am posting drag queen photographs on my fb profile and 90’s pop songs both here and on fb. i have using a couple of “best” lists including the once delicious face magazine. today’s pick is a paul weller cut from 1992. he’s seen in this clip performing live in milan..
We also often add to our pain and suffering by being overly sensitive, over-reacting to minor things, and sometimes taking things too personally…..Tenzin Gyatso
this is the my second year working at the hospital, but the first year on the main campus. i work 1/2 time each at 2 clinics in 2 separate buildings, with 2 distinct teams. each has its specialty and both work with an extremely large number of persons without insurance, low health literacy, multiple illnesses and conditions, many of whom are homeless. needless to remark that sometimes the work can seem endless.
in one of the clinics, i realized that there was no recognition of the holiday-i.e a potluck or party scheduled. i made a few inquiries, then spent a few hours gathering consensus and planned a get-together for this coming week. i had included as many departments as i could, came upon some compromises, disseminated the info to all teams for collaboration, emailed the team leaders for okay, then sent out an invitation. i felt pretty good about how easily it had gone.
but then 3 days later, a co-worker came up to me and asked why we were having the party in the location decided. i retorted that a consensus had been reached. she responded with the notion that they were always in a different location and would be much better there. she then asked if i had started a sign-up sheet. i replied with a no- that people could just bring what they wanted. again, she offered that this strategy would never work and that people needed a sign up sheet. i guess i got a little miffed, but her tone was direct and felt intrusive. i asked her if she would like to take the thing over. she said she would.
i found myself angry, not because i wasn’t in charge, but because i felt ignored really. i didn’t (and still don’t) have any real jones to take charge here. i just wanted people to get-together and have a few smiles during what will no doubt be a very tough week for us. but here i found myself, feeling slighted because someone disagreed with me. so i went to work the following day, after i found my head and heart spinning in the shower about the whole situation, complete with the intention of making an amends to her.
that morning at the other clinic, my supervisor shared with me that she would be taking time off work during this clinic’s holiday pot-luck and was putting me in charge of organizing this one. of course, she asked if i would mind. but really, how else am i supposed to respond besides- of course.
so imagine my humility when i go to the afternoon clinic to make my amends, i have been validated by my morning supervisor and given a voice, and now i was set to eat some humble pie. and i felt good about it. so i asked my afternoon co-worker if we could talk. we stepped away and i asked her to understand that i regretted getting upset about her criticism. i didn’t have an emotional investment about the party, i had just felt that i had covered my bases and then she burst that bubble.
she kindly informed me that she had been fired from the committee that morning. our supervisor had informed her that she overstepped her role as assistant and took it over. she then said that she has a habit of doing this in her life. this was just another example. she liked me and she said she didn’t want any animosity between us. she also laughingly said that when she told her sister she was fired from the committee and that it was a 1st for her, her sister replied that my co-worker had been kicked out of bars and out of family members homes before, so this was completely in line.
her grace and humility and welcoming reception of our conversation punctuated my week. i am very thankful that i feel accepted here. i realize once again that a first glance, a first look a first encounter is not indicative of the whole enchilada. a relationship, a painting, a any work of art worth its salt, is comprised of many, many such instants, glances, and brushstrokes in order to get the final product. i am reminded that not over-reacting is my first order of business- always.
Wrap Yourself In All The Holidays Have To Offer This Year. Here is the image on this year’s cards and the letter included. Defnitely SWAK!!!!
I continue to work with private chefs at small dinner functions throughout the year as well. This pays well, and gives me a peek into a world that is both fantastic and ordinary. I am allowed to be around great food and some amazing ambiance, and find that much of this seems to come quite naturally.
After all these years living in Denver, this summer I started taking road trips around Colorado this year. Places like Salida, Buena Vista, Estes Park, Grand Lake, Trinidad, even Taos and Santa Fe, and the family-famous Idaho Springs have provided the backdrop for an incredibly beautiful summer in what so many refer to as God’s country. I hope to continue this trend in the coming years. Feel free to plan a trip with me in the spring, summer, or fall.
I visited Chicago once again this autumn. Blue and I had dinner with Laura at a fantastic tapas restaurant in the newly remodeled Blackstone Hotel. Good call, Laura. She reports getting a delicious promotion at her workplace and seems more content and at peace with each year. I still love that city and get a warm and fuzzy feeling when there. I was able to catch up with about 15 or so cronies and definitely had a hoot. The new wing at Art Institute is amazing and is recommended for your next visit there.
I was introduced to a book this year written by a Canadian physician named Gabor Mate called ” In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.” Since I work in the field of addiction, both this read and his philosophy have had a profound impact on my approach. I am reminded that our behaviors do not define us as human. Our souls do. People always have a reason for doing what they do- we just don’t always agree or like the reason. But that’s why we need to walk a mile in their shoes so to speak. This change of perspective is a work in progress for me. Every day I practice letting go of my judgments. Some days work better than others.
Many of the LGBT issues in the news this year have stirred some echoes in my heart and mind and I would ask you to indulge some thoughts I have around some of those. When I think of DADT, Gay marriage, Teen suicide, and Bullying, I feel very close to these issues. Growing up and feeling different can be extremely challenging, especially for young people. I don’t remember hearing so much that my “behaviors” were unacceptable, but more that I was less than acceptable. And growing up feeling that way causes a lot of invisible destruction. I find that I am still working through this internalized self- judgment started so many years ago, even after 6 years of being substance free.
Mind you, I am not complaining. 25 years of living with HIV, I know I am lucky to be here. 2010 was never part of my plan. 52 was never an age I expected to walk around. Yet here I find myself undeniably happy, inspired, and full of life. I write this in hopes that you will feast on just as much from your life’s banquet this holiday season. May joy be abundant and keep you warm. It’s the giving , not the getting that matters.