Monday, July 21, 2014

Looking back at a Story

Last week was a very busy week for me.  I watched and supported friends as life took them on some dramatic rollarcoaster rides.  When I got tired or worn out, I asked myself a lot.  "Why is so much going on with those that I love?"   I left the present moment because I was tired and started looking for encouragement, support for myself and a chance to rest.

In the moments that I was by myself and looking for encouragement I ended up writing.  Some of the material I wrote is appropriate for the blog and some of it is just for me.  I continued thinking about my journey with this blog and started wondering if I was ready to be honest and open about why I write this blog, why I started it, and how the universe really does give you want you ask for.

So here goes, here is a story.   I started this blog soon after Adam and I got a negative pregnancy test after our first round of IVF.  I was in Dallas visiting Ashley and my Godson who had just been born.  She began talking about how she wanted to take a photo of her children everyday for the next year.  That planted a seed in my head.  That visit was a huge mixture of grief and joy, and I sometimes I was confused about which emotion I was even feeling.  Grief and joy are not so far apart, much like fear and excitement or pain and pleasure.  

That time in my life I was completely lost, I was working at an unfulfilling job, I didn't have a hobby I was passionate about and Adam and I were devoting a lot of our energy to gambling that IVF would work for us.  (Gambling is just one of the words that comes to mind during that time, I would also include bargaining, desperation, confusion, and hope.)  Adam really worked hard to get me to shift my focus, he would inquire all the time "just tell me one thing that made you happy today, that made you smile."   I usually didn't have an answer, however I was sending him photos during the day of my time with Sterling, or a meal I cooked, or something else that brought me to the present moment.  I began to realize that sending Adam those photos was a way for me to show him my happy moments, in a way that I didn't have the language for yet.   So I decided to start a blog, to post a photo a day of whatever made me smile.  (I limited Sterling to Sundays, it was too easy to focus on him.)

I decided a blog would keep me motivated and honest.  I told Adam no matter what happened, I wanted 365 photos from the year that I could look back at and say "look at all those happy moments!" All those little moments began to change my heart, by changing my focus.  I began looking for the things that made me smile, that made me happy.   Even on my heart breaking days, even on the days that I didn't want to get out of bed and face myself, I had a goal: to find something that made me smile.

Adam and I had wanted a child for years, now when I look back at those conversations I notice a theme.   We wanted to grow, to contribute, to nourish new life, and to help someone bloom.    God did answer our prayers, the life we breathed into the world was our own lives.  We were so focused on what it "should" look like we were missing our amazing lives and ignoring all of our blessings.  

I now KNOW, I have experienced how doing something very small consistently can change your life.  Just looking for the moments that made me smile, enabled me to see all the doors that were opening instead of focusing on the one that had closed.  It was not a smooth or easy journey, and I am still practicing every day, every hour, every minute, every breath.  The good news is that as long as I continue to take breaths, I continue to get the opportunity to practice and change my focus.  

When Adam and I were going through fertility treatments, he found this DVD.  He was going to give it to me on a day that I needed a little encouragement.  The funny thing is we recently found it as we were cleaning out his car.  He had forgotten about it, because I was creating my own encouragement. He no longer spent all his time worrying about me and how to distract me. By creating my own encouragement I also gave him the opportunity to use that energy in a different way.  Because Adam is so amazing he was able to shift that energy to growing himself, instead of attaching to his "hero" role in my life.     

Question to consider:  What will you focus on with your next breath?  the next one?  the next one?

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