Thursday, December 31, 2015

Peace Out, 2015!

Planning 2016 in my new passion planner
The end of 2015 is upon us and as always at this time of year life has spiraled beyond my control. 

But that's okay. 

2015 is the year I've been more present. Not always but more so than before. Practicing mindfulness has magnified my thoughts and actions so that I've learned to counteract the negative. 

As I type this my dad is sitting in the emergency room where he was rushed to this morning. Third year in a row and it's always in the back of my mind but I just hoped this year was different. Did I also mention I have an upper respiratory infection? 

My thoughts would have run the gamut of why would this happen now? To why can't our lives ever go right? It's not fair we can't go out now! 

Instead I think to myself I'm grateful that my dad is doing okay because it could have been worse. I'm thankful that I only worked half a day today so I could rest before picking up my mom at the hospital. I'm grateful for the health of my family. 

I look back on the past year and don't think in good or bad terms. It was neither good nor bad. It just was. 

I've learned to embrace the bad with the good instead of resisting it. I've learned to look at situations in a different perspective where I choose my reactions carefully. Trust me, I've failed many times but celebrate when I react wisely. 


Goodreads says I've read 44 books in 2015 when I only challenged myself to read 30. People often ask me how I manage to read one book with my crazy schedule but I don't think about it. Reading is like eating. I must fuel my brain with books. 

Out of the 44 I've read I have to say Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear made the most impact. Since I borrowed it from the library I took copious notes in my journal and reference them almost daily. 

With my writing and photography I've learned from Liz Gilbert that "there is no dishonor in having a job. What is dishonorable is scaring away your creativity by demanding that it pay for your entire existence." I'm not so restless at the cube farm after reading her book. I don't have to quit my full-time job to unleash my creativity in my writing and photography. I create because it is sacred to me and only me. 

This year I was told by three doctors I couldn't run any longer. I went to three doctors hoping I received a different answer because if you've read my past blog posts running is my crack. Running burns off the crazy. I truly believed I would be running half-marathons in my eighties alongside my grandchildren. 

In June I could barely walk and suffered from acute sciatica. I found out my running exacerbated my degenerative disc disease of the L4 and L5 along with my childhood scoliosis. Seeing my curved spine on the x-ray was proof enough. I can't run. Ever. 

No one could see how deeply I grieved and mourned the loss of my "anti-depressant." I hide my suffering well. But Ray noticed how I longingly watched every runner we drove by on the streets. Ray heard the anguish in my voice when I'd tell him which friend ran which marathon. 

I gained twenty pounds in the months afterward as I sunk into a deep depression. The pain was unbearable on most days. But I was tired of being in pain and being a pain the ass. I researched extensively on sciatica and degenerative disc disease to better understand my limitations. 

As 2016 looms in the horizon I can say that speedwalking, elliptical training, stationary bike, battle ropes, punching bag workouts, sparring with Ray, and clean eating have helped me lose 11 out of the 20 pounds I've gained. But I'll talk more about that in another post. 

Another loss that resulted from my DDD was shooting long events and weddings. My heavy cameras are too heavy for my back to bear. I didn't grieve this loss so much as I did my running. You see, sometimes your body will reveal where your true creative voice lies. 

Portraiture, specifically, families and newborns, is where I can freely create my art. It is where Elizabeth Gilbert describes as having an affair with my creativity. (Head over to my photography website to view my latest sessions by clicking here. ) Had my back not gone out on me I would have continued to do weddings for the money, cheating myself out of my true creative expression. 

That's what I meant by embracing the bad with the good. I don't attain that runner's high I was so addicted to but it wasn't the end of the world for me. I became creative in my workouts and managed to lose 11 unhealthy pounds. I can't make money from shooting weddings but I'm forever free from the high stress and anxiety that pervaded my mind each time I shot one. 

My arms are wide open for 2016 waiting to catch all the abundance, joy, grace, prosperity, truth, beginnings, endings, and love it has for me. 

Wishing all of you, no, I'm DARING all of you, to dream BIG in the next 365 days!