Every year on my birthday in October I set an intention for the year. Without getting into weighty details, I spent a lot of my younger years in the grip of serious depression and darkness and have worked very hard to free myself from that over the years. Year after year in my twenties I have shed the old, unhealthy patterns, shaking up my life and allowing the pieces to reorder themselves into a bold new future for myself, and as they came along, for my family.
Finally I arrived at my 30th birthday, healthy and happy, but still on some level, skeptical that all the beautiful, wonderful things I had cultivated in my life could really be true. It came to me one evening just before the beginning of my new year that this year would be my Year of Love and Joy.
This year has thrown serious challenges my way. 9 months of unemployment, a challenging and sometimes frightening pregnancy, the birth of our tiny little boy, financial struggles and health struggles for both me and the baby. And yet, I think this has been my best year ever. I think the difference between this year and others is a sense of perspective. I'm learning to slow down, pull back and take the long view of things. To stand in this moment and see it for everything it is, the beautiful and the frightening and not back down from it. With this in mind I have been taking Prayer Walks lately. I got the idea when a friend and I visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, WI and saw the Rosary Walk.
As I walked today I couldn't help but feel grateful for this life I lead. There is such magnificent beauty all around me. It was nice to quiet my mind and just take it all in, the holiness and and peacefulness of it. The heron standing peacefully in the pond, the wild raspberries growing on the edge, the gardens and the trees.