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As the years turn over, I normally write a Shit List for the year, and toss it into the dying embers of the Pizza Oven. Sending away all the crap that has come or hung around. It’s very cathartic – both the writing and the burning. It gets some of those circular thoughts out of my brain; some just for a while; some permanently. It’s a way to cleanse and move on

This year circumstances meant we didn’t run the Pizza oven. Covid and stuff has meant it’s been a much quieter Christmas season; so, in a step in the right direction – stopping over committing myself – we ordered in, and I relaxed!

I still wrote the list, and just flamed it in the fireplace…

But earlier in the day, within 2 minutes, 2 friends from the other side of the world asked me to name a positive for the year; and to write a blog on my Gratitudes for 2021… obviously my Higher Power thinks I need a gee up lol… And they were both right. While 2021 will go down in the annuls of history as being unbelievably, slightly worse than 2020; there were definite pockets of joy. And just as I need to exorcise the bad, I find I need to celebrate the definite pluses…

So here we go…

In a world ravaged by Covid, and its halting of life as we know it. Amongst all the anger and rage and frustration and grief; this Kiwi chick found things to enjoy, and cherish…

I started the year with an AMAZING 2 week solo roadie. The first time I had ever done anything like it. I had been a little nervous, but found the loose schedule, hours singing badly in the car and visiting both places from my youth and places I had never seen; to be the best therapy out there. I live in arguably one of the most beautiful countries and there is a privilege, that I try to not take for granted, that most of it is accessible and free…. I spent time in my old hometown, retracing my teenage steps, meeting ghosts around every corner.

I had a night in a remote camp that had no internet connection at all – Me! 24 hours off the grid – my only regret was that it wasn’t 2 nights.

I saw the sun rise in the city that sees the sun first, before anyone else… and I caught up with friends and whanau along the way in bite sized pieces… I wrote blogs on demand to hone my writing skills; and I just sat, still and rapt with some epic views

I came home refreshed, and having let go some old old wounds…

My Recovery was harder this year than last. Having done the first year “pink clouding” as the old timers like to call it; the 2nd year has been hard. Uncovering old wounds; letting myself work through things I have never wanted to face… and moving on..

But I am grateful for the toolbox I am assembling; “Tricks and ideas” shared from my friends.

I learned to meditate. Longer and more often. I found I can now finally just sit and be in the moment; not thinking ahead, not overthinking behind… My greatest recovery gift has been those pockets of Zen, those moments when my brain is still….

And I have found, unbelievably for cynical old me, the power of a group meeting. Never in a 1000 years, would I have ever thought I would not only attend group meetings, but now I structure my week around them. There is so much power to be found in shared experiences. Sitting, listening, and talking to people who really get where you are, where you’ve been and where your hopes lie. The upside of Covid has definitely been meeting and hanging out, online, via zoom, with some very special souls. Some have become very dear friends, and when the world opens up again, I have a trip planned to meet them in person..

keeping time with Miss Milly

Living in the moment – neither reworking the past in my head, nor looking too far ahead – the whole One Day at a time thing. It kept me present for the last few weeks of our old dog’s life – The Miss Milly I wrote about earlier ( https://chrissiestable.com/2021/02/18/a-beagle-and-a-pair-of-blue-doc-martins/) ; and gave me hope on those days when the dark clouds assemble – that it won’t be the same tomorrow. It has taught me to really enjoy the day I am in, not wish it away.

Journaling. I don’t do it as often as I should. But I have always found writing a thought down really does help shortcircuit the “circular” thoughts racing around my head.. In 2021 I finally put a few ghosts to rest, by having a written conversation with myself… and then letting go

Outside of Recovery, but linked to my desire to live better; I have finally found the time and space to tackle decluttering this old house. Having the painter in, room by room; has meant I have sorted and really pared back our possession. Doing it this way – drawer by drawer; shelf by shelf; cupboard by cupboard has made it manageable and not completely overwhelming. Not finished yet; but the house already feels lighter; smarter in her new paint job. Less “Busy”

One of my biggest gratitudes has been the idea to take over my daughter’s old bedroom and make it MySpace. Collecting all my art materials, finally in one space; and having a space that is just mine. I realised everyone else in the house had their spaces; but I shared mine with everyone else. I have an old desk under the window, and I can shut the door and work, write in peace, or just stare out the window…

And ironically, my ongoing knee issues, that effectively grounded me – apparently taking up long distance walking in your 50s is not as healthy as it would seem – have made me look for and learn other self-care techniques. From hydrotherapy to day trips, to now biking.

But by far my biggest gratitude has been my kids. All have had health issues over the years; but I can feel them finding their spaces in the world now. They are remarkably kind, well read, aware of all the world around them. Socially conscienced. I am so lucky that I get to just chill with them. We had tough, tough years, but now we get to just enjoy each other’s company. And when my son returns home to visit, I get to sit quietly and just listen to them hang out. I know that some families never heal their wounds, and the fact that these 3 get on so well is such a precious thing for me…….

the gang of three n me

So that’s just a few things I am grateful for from 2021. The ledger is actually in the credit for me. I have banked memories, new skills, and lower expectations. Not a bad place to be…..

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions as such, but am going to continue my Recovery work, build on what I have learned so far. Keep sharing my story with others, so that they may find peace too…

….and write more….

Ka whãia te wãhie

mo takurua ka mahia

te kai mõ te tau

If you look for firewood

in the winter, you will

have plenty of food

all year round

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