Finding Gratitude

Estimated read time... 4 minutes

2020 is not going the way any of us thought it would. So much is changing, in upheaval, and we are learning that the world was never a certain place and that we have always had to adapt and work for the kind of world we want to live in.

One thing I’m still mourning is the loss of a couple of short recitals to help me prepare for a full length one that I was hoping to do in 2021. I thought I’d be involved in a community orchestra, or playing in some kind of group.

I thought I’d be able to see more herbal clients, or sell more products.

There are so many things I had been planning and wishing for, so much has fallen by the wayside.

What I have been given is: the ability to tackle some projects that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. The biggest one was doing an herbal inventory and massive reorganization. It’s been a great project, and I’m so glad to have it **this close** to completion. I have a huge apothecary of dried herbs.

Soapbox moment: Sadly not many people want to work with dried (aka raw) herbs in tea or decoction form these days. It’s unfortunate because this is the best medicine: made with your hands, with your care and attention, with your intentions. It is the least processed form of herbs one can take, apart from harvesting your own herbs that is, and for me the most effective. (I’m getting off my soapbox now.)

I’ve set up a financial plan and spreadsheet that makes me smile every time I open it up. (I’m not one for using apps for things like that.)

I have a lovely work from home setup. And I even installed a new hard drive on my 8 year old laptop to get me through as long as possible with it. (So grateful for internet tutorials on how to do this!)

I’m grateful for working from home, and especially so with many of the things I planned for and thought were going to happen in my life fell apart.

I’m grateful for the time and space to learn and remember what I have to work with and where I can go from here.

Grateful that I’ve built as much of a haven in this crazy world as possible with the means that I have.

I am ever grateful for my network of friends, family and colleagues reminding me that I am not alone and that whatever happens we all will get through this.

I am so grateful for being able to have a meal prepared with produce from my little deck-plot and my sister’s garden. (And of course for having the means to have a fridge filled with healthy foods.)

I’m grateful newly returned to things in my life, and the things in my life that give me joy that I do simply because I love doing them:

I had a big pot filled with beans that died back in the heat, so I reseeded it with yet more beans this past weekend. They are springing up! I filled another pot with chrysanthemum greens seeds which are all sprouting beautifully. And another pot has cilantro popping up in a pot that had peas, there’s cat grass for Ms. Martie too. The grapes are coming along, and I’ll get a few teensy bunches if the birds and squirrels don’t beat me to them first. Not too shabby for a small deck in Brooklyn, I’d say!

Next year I’ll remember to prune the tomatoes a bit more efficiently – they’re awfully leggy! I have so many ideas for next year’s deck garden, but I won’t get attached to them! 2020 has taught me to not be attached to any path or outcome as everything in life is in a moment of change.

I’m also trying to utilize this time working from home to get back into making art again. I have such fond memories of my apartment in Rhode Island filled with sunlight and tables, where I’d stay up until the wee hours of the morning drawing and painting. Because these memories are more and more persistent, much like my memories of playing the violin prior to returning, I’ve decided to try to get back into some semblance of an art-practice. Yet, I’m so out of practice it’s going to take a while to get back into the swing of things. Just as with the violin, I’m frustrated at my lack of agility after such a long time has passed. So much has changed since I last seriously made art, I don’t even know what I have to communicate anymore. Guess I’ll find out.

(Speaking of: I’ve been slowly adding my older artwork to an Etsy shop, here it is if you want to check it out, and support a maker to continue making her work:

In July, I took a week-long violin workshop “intensive”. It lived up to its name! I learned that I can no longer avoid some things in my playing that I’d rather not look at or work on. And since then, I’ve mustered up the courage to start learning the Bach Allemande from the 2nd Partita (Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin are considered the epitome of classical violin in terms of not just technique but artistry as well.) You see, until this workshop’s message about my playing, I felt like I could not tackle this massive body of repertoire (there are six pieces in total in this collection) as it felt very intimidating. I’d be upset prior to even starting about me not having the ability to do the work justice, or perfectly. (Talk about self-sabotage, right?! I was quitting before I had started, and perfection most certainly does not exist!) Me being me, I figured the only way to work on these aspects of my playing was to work on the very pieces that I had been avoiding… Lo and behold, I am loving working on the Allemande, and have been spending nearly all my practice time with it!

I guess that’s the biggest lesson of 2020 for me: stepping into and up to my life with courage, and being acting on what arises from my Heart. In years past, it took a long time to hear what my Heart was saying. This year, I feel I can hear my Heart enough that I’m able to take action because the messages are loud and clear for me.

While we are all adapting to the upheavals of this year, what things in your life are you grateful for?

What are you learning about yourself that is surprising you?