Count the Blessings

I’ve been down with an intestinal flu the last couple of days.  Nothing to do but watch movies, drink ginger ale and ponder the year that’s about to end.  But pondering can be a dangerous exercise, especially when I’m sick and in the middle of an episode.  I’ve learned it’s never a good idea to give too much attention to the thoughts that swirl up then.  Too much darkness, too much regret, too much grief.  So instead, I’ll focus on a few of the blessings 2011 brought me.

A place to sell my art cards.  My last visit at The Perfect Setting was disappointing compared to all the other times I’ve sold my cards there.  Pam, the owner, placed another employee in charge of the greeting cards.  This person pulled a couple of mine as “inappropriate”.  It seems she and I don’t share the same sense of humor.  So, Pam bought only half of the bunch I brought in this time instead of all of them.

Even though I know better, I took it very personally.  I know every shop has to make careful selection and cater to the clientele, but it surprised me since Pam always seemed to love everything I brought in.  Every artist has to tailor their work to fit the market—I know and understand this.  It just caught me on a very bad day, and I haven’t been able to sit at my studio table since.

This isn’t sounding much like gratitude.  But I am extremely grateful to Pam for taking a chance with my work.  She hung my weird collages even though no one in Marshalltown will ever buy them.  She bought all my cards, even when her other employees raised eyebrows.  She let me be the square peg in the town’s round hole—no one else here has ever done that for me.  Yes, I’m grateful.  And eventually, I’ll start making more of the cards that the town will accept—along with a few naughty ones.

Healing.  This year I learned how to manage without psychotropic medication.  I developed my Bipolar Bad-Ass Training guidelines.  I graduated from the Silver Sneakers water exercise class to the deep water, high-powered, water aerobics class.  I pushed the envelope of my reading disability and actually finished eleven whole books this year.  I’m learning how to be a woman alone without being lonely all the time.  I’ve moved past my fear of cooking and can now fix supper for myself every night.  I’ve started again on the weight loss journey, losing 12 pounds since my visit with the allergist at the beginning of December.

It’s an important practice to remember all the healing this year brought, all the hard work and dedication I put into it.  The illness always grabs center stage.  The loss of Will, the scrambled routine, the swamping thoughts tear down self-worth and confidence.  It’s so easy to see only failure.  So, remembering the success and joy play a vital part in bringing reality back to true.

Saying Good-bye to my dad on my terms.  I am deeply grateful that I was able to spend so much time with my dad in his final days and participate in his funeral in a meaningful way.  It was a gift.  Just as easily, my illness might have flared like it did this past Christmas, incapacitating me and keeping me from any human interaction.  Frankly, I expected to be a nut case during my dad’s rituals, and the stress did eventually cause an episode.  But I was fully there when I most wanted to be.  A miracle.  A prayer answered.

These are just a few of the gifts the Heart of the Universe placed in my lap this year.  What treasures did you receive?

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 18:05:32

    I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling well, but even more than that I’m sorry about your cards. I’m so disappointed for you, as I know just how brilliant they are. You need another market that is more urban, Sandy. I’m not suggesting you give up what you have there; I just think you could do so much better. I also know this may not be possible now, but I want so much more for you, my friend!
    Hugs from a huge fan,


    • Sandy Sue
      Dec 30, 2011 @ 18:19:05

      You can’t know how much your words mean to me, Kathy. I felt really “unskillful” for being so hurt, but it was hard to let go of the pride and ego. It will all turn in time, I’m sure.


  2. kalima123
    Dec 30, 2011 @ 18:32:01

    You have accomplished so much this year, so much to be proud of! And although you’re not feeling well right now (stomach flus are seriously no fun!) it’s wonderful to hear all you’ve accomplished. It gives me (and sure other beepers) hope and strength to make our own goals and work to achieve them. Thanks so much for being such a great example and motivator!


  3. pegoleg
    Dec 31, 2011 @ 14:41:55

    Congratulations on all your accomplishments this year, including 12 pounds in a month – that’s a major feat! Here’s hoping the nasty stomach flu doesn’t hang around to aid your weightloss any more.

    Best wishes for a great 2012, Sandy.


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