Gratitude Day 5

On Day 5 of 30 Days of Tessism I am counting my blessings.

Gratitude:  Today, I am grateful that I have finally learned to accept the gifts people give me.  For the longest time I was convinced that being a strong woman meant doing it all alone.  I could always give because that was the nature of my heart but I could never sit back and receive.  Surely, that would undermine that strength that I was developing.  Right?

Not quite.  Strength is an elusive thing with as many different definitions as there are people in this world.  Some of the things we call strength are used to mask the fear of the appearance of weakness.  Accepting help or anything from others appears needy to the untrained eye.  In reality, it is a gift to allow others to give to you.

I find great pleasure in giving to others and making a difference in someone’s life.  All those times that I strove to “do it myself” lest I be a burden on others actually deprived someone of that exact same pleasure.

Allowing people to contribute to me allows others to see the difference they can make in my world.  Doing so, I give myself another gift as well: acknowledgement of my self-worth.  Receiving without worry, limitation or concern is my declaration that I worthy.  I deserve all the generosity I encounter especially when my heart moves me to be generous in that same way with others.  I am grateful I can revel in the gifts that others give me and compound them with the gifts I give myself.

Challenge Day 30: Score!

I swear I have the 30-day challenge blues.  After pushing day after day, I’m pretty sad that there is no more challenge left and that sucks the wind out of my sails.  Funny since I expected Day 30 to be the day to end all days where I would stand atop the mountain of my achievement and look out with puffed chest congratulating myself for daring the impossible.

I’m sure that I have the blues.  Now that there is no challenge each day, what will I do with myself?  Haha!  Anything and everything. The interesting thing about challenges is that they beget challenges–a sort of challenge-addiction.  Tomorrow or later this week, I’ll ruminate about lessons learned.  In the meantime, let’s get on with our last challenge!

Today’s challenge: Take stock of the last 30 days.  How did you do?  What did you do well?  What did you not do well?  What would you like to continue to work on?  How did it go?  What did you learn?
I’ll be sorting through the lessons learned on this journey for days to come but in the meantime, here are the stats of what I attempted this month:

My closest friends can attest to the wonderful peace I gained in these 30 days as well as the struggle it was to complete these last few days.  I know I couldn’t have done it without them or you.  I also know that I’m not quite done yet.

While I was able to challenge myself to different things each day, I haven’t gained mastery over anything new.  I have an experience of what it is like to live a revolutionary life but I still have work to do.  Each day of these 30 days of challenges revealed so much about myself to me.

The greatest revelation is that this month was a buffet of challenges for me to choose from and work on extensively in the near future.  All the challenges have been interrelated.  They are all pulling for the same transformed, galvanized life.  The next step for me is mastery.

Gratitude: I am grateful for that I could complete this month of challenges when I’ve done nothing like this ever before

On the horizon: More results, lessons and mastery…the journey – to be continued.

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Challenge Day 28: Flow with It

My latest challenge is a culmination of sorts of all the challenges I’ve been exploring this month.  While all the work I’ve been doing has been about pushing beyond limits and reshaping my life, today’s practice involves a different way of approaching not just these challenges but life itself.

Today’s challenge: Stop fighting.  Go with the flow of life.  Use this flow to gauge whether what you’re doing is really what you want to do.  When it is not flowing, go elsewhere.  Go where you’re wanted.  Want where you’re going.  See where you can flow in all areas of your life.  Give up the struggle.

In all these years I’ve been good at powering my way through trouble spots.  I’ve used my will and stubbornness to achieve the impossible.  This hard-driving ambition has gotten me results all over the place, but what is the balance of these results in the overall scheme of things?

I have proven that I can get things done.  It’s time for me to stop proving.  It’s time to go where I’m wanted to–to pay attention to cues and do what comes naturally.  To flow, I need to pay close attention to what’s happening around and within me.  When I flow, I can live a life that is true for me.  I will love where I’m wanted.  Want where I’m loved.  There will be no struggle or sorrow.  Somehow, it will all work and make sense and if it doesn’t I will do something else…with great ease.  What does your flow look like?

Today’s victory: In a stupendous win for losing wait, I plotted out the rest of the entries for my blog this month and I have a plan to complete my NaNoWriMo writing challenge.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the solutions that show up even in the darkest hours.

On the horizon: Coming to terms with wanted things

Challenge Day 25: For-Give

It would be very obvious to post today about giving thanks since it is Thanksgiving after all–Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.   But I’ve been giving thanks all month and that would not be a challenge for me.   Instead, today is about another type of giving.

Today’s challenge: Practice forgiving. Wherever you can let someone or something off the hook.  Even better, let yourself off the hook and see where that leaves you.

Forgiveness is an interesting concept.  Many people feel that forgiveness is something that you give to others and often withhold it to punish others for transgressions.  Consider that forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself.

Punishing others is like taking poison & hoping someone else will die.  When you forgive, you release yourself from prison.  You don’t have to keep living in the transgression or the reaction to it.

This a practice that I have to concentrate on since, unchecked, I can hold a grudge.  Forever.  I have to remind myself of what life was like without the burden of upset.  To keep up this practice, I’ll have to literally keep my eye on the prize, constantly reminding myself of the life I want to live and what I have to shed to live it.  I’ll do what it takes.

Today’s victory: I spent time with a friend who I’ve had a tough time forgiving and I began to let go and was gracious with her.

Gratitude: I am grateful for the open hearts, home, family, food and welcome I experience this Thanksgiving Day.

On the horizon: Flowing

Challenge Day 14: Empty Your Cup

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing a bit of finality and fatalism in the conversations that I’ve been hearing.  I kept hearing “nevers” and “it will never be the sames” and so on.  At first I wanted to dismantle the absurdity of such statements with a cool dose of “how do you know?”  Seriously, I thought, if you know so much about the future, can  you tell me about next week’s Mega Millions?

Then I realized that I do the same thing in conversations with myself and others: predicting fate with a certainty reserved for oracles.  How do I know?  Why must I always know?  The antidote for that is today’s challenge.

Today’s challenge: Adopt a beginner’s mind.  Give up the arrogance that you already know.  Give up your view that you know everything and that your view of life is the only way that it is.

When you already ready know, there really is no room for anything new.  If you want to create anything new, there needs to be space.  The following story illustrates this:

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

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Since I am committed to building a life unlike anything I have already seen, Beginner’s Mind helps.  This is simply giving up being right.  It takes rightness to a place of cluelessness–a place where knowledge can be developed and acquired, not assumed or dug up. Such thinking entails the ability to encounter fresh experiences with the innocence of first inquiry.  Here are some characteristics of Beginner’s Mind:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Wonder
  • Naïveté
  • Curiosity
  • Playfulness
  • Fascination

Beginner’s Mind is curious, flexible and more committed to questions than answers.  Its delight is in wondering and it is willing to try out new possibilities without being stuck.  Amazement, wonder and awe are the realm of Beginner’s Mind.  When we adopt a mind that doesn’t know, we are open to unlimited possibilities and we discover that

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be enjoyed.  — Unknown

A Beginner’s Mind creates a new twist in this journey for me.  Anything and everything is possible.

Today’s victory: I was doing great today and then I wasn’t.  I’d put ego aside and I was so wonderful and then something set me off.  All I need to throw a wrench in these days of challenges is a conversation or two with people.  It’s very easy to be gracious while sitting in front of my computer.  It’s another ballgame when I take those challenges and involve people and their opinions and button-pushing.  Today’s victory was simply doing everything in my power to remain committed to my challenges.  I did not give up on the conversation.  I was able to step back and observe my reactions, ask for a time out and jump back in and try again.  In the end, I was rewarded with peace and all is well.  Now that is the little victory that could.

Gratitude: I am grateful for each day I awake with the mistakes of the past solidly lodged in the past, facing a brand new blank canvas awaiting my creation.

On the horizon: Compassion

Grateful Again, Day 2

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  (Thornton Wilder)

I am grateful for finally being able to look into the mirror and cast flaws into the wind, thoroughly enjoying the woman I am.  I often admire the symmetry of sweaty shoulders and waist perfect for me.  I am grateful that I can completely be delighted with all that I see in my reflection so that when you look at me I can glitter back and wink. “Yes, dear.  I know.  I fell in love with her first.”



Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel. (Unknown)

Today is short and sweet. I am grateful today and every day. This is my reminder to myself and maybe you that I/we need to count my blessings every day lest they abandon us.

Today I am grateful for the ability to move my body with little to no hindrance. The ability to move, express and experience joy through my body is today’s greatest delight. I acknowledge this now before I ever have to lament it being missing.



Once was a boy so beautiful that all I wanted to do was kiss his eyelids and drench him in adoration.  Not sure it was the eyelids or the overdue need in me to love before it burst violently through my ribs.

I had gotten it in my head that he was the one to give all to and though he was nice and seemed to somewhat care, what I had rattling around in my chest waiting to be freed was not for him.

Not now.  Maybe for him when he was innocent and could understand the endurance of my illogical love, once given always abiding.  Back when he believed.  Now, not.

Maybe for his future self that might lay down weapons formed from betrayal and disappointment.  But I think that when he does it will be for someone else who, like me, yearns to kiss his eyelids and live lips tucked into the crook of his neck, his scent her only anchor.

He isn’t a boy really, though until we grow into creatures who claim their dreams, we remain children seeking succor.   And though I may focus on him, I know that this has less to do with anyone than with my delinquency.

Time has come for me to love like first bite of mango in summer, dripping juice.  I am ready to be someone’s home.  Someone’s deepest comfort.  His greatest escape.  I am ready to crawl onto his chest and know no harm can reach me.  I am ready to give him every ounce of light this body has because he would reflect it, our love-force perpetual.  Ready.


Bottomless ache chokes.  No recipient.  Hurls you into an abyss of loneliness.  Leviathan ever awaits.

Suppress and wrestle. One day, she bursts forth, destroying sensibility.  Uproots everything you know.  Sense of self.  Sense of worth.  Timing.  Appropriateness.  Decorum.

She will smother with tentacles tightening with each rejection.  Indiscriminate betrayer of what you hold dear.

Until one day you learn to not fight her.  Feed her.  Let her leave love trails everywhere.  She will do it anyway.  This way, you’re less bruised.