fall pictureIt’s Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s the first without my mom, so there is some sadness in the midst of the celebration. Two days ago, for example, the grief snuck up on me when I was at my favourite fair trade store and an elderly volunteer was talking to me about the christmas gifts she was starting to buy for her grandchildren this year, and suddenly I found myself resenting her simply for having the audacity to still be alive to celebrate with her grandchildren. My children (and I) should be so lucky. After the encounter, I went to the van to have a good cry.

The grief comes and it goes, it shape-shifts into anger and resentment occasionally, and then it subsides once again into a gentle whisper of remembrance.

Today, though, as I prepare to feast with my family, I am feeling mostly gratitude. Grateful for:

  • a blissful two week journey that opened my heart in new ways (see the video below)
  • opportunity to sit in the physical presence of so many of the people I’ve grown to love in the online world (Skype just can’t replace the value of a hug)
  • authenticity, vulnerability, and all of the beautifully imperfect ways people dare to show up in the world
  • the community of friends whose gifts made my journey possible
  • circles – whether they show up as mandalas or labyrinths, or the way we sit together and look into each others’ eyes
  • the opportunity to step onto the stage and share the story of how I learned to reclaim the pieces of my heart and step into the courage it took to lead differently
  • the gold and green and brown, set againts the blue, outside my living room window right now
  • the many people who have embraced Mandala Discovery in this first offering, who are sharing their transformation stories, and who are affirming my belief that there’s something magical about this process of mandala journaling
  • the new people who are already eager to step into the November offering of Mandala Discovery (registration opening tomorrow)
  • the nine new coaching clients who are opening their tender hearts to me and trusting me with their old stories as they step tentatively but courageously into their new stories
  • my three daughters and the faltering but courageous ways they are growing into their beautiful, authentic selves
  • the team of people with whom I will have the pleasure of co-hosting the upcoming Art of Hosting training – they make teamwork so easy
  • my mom and dad who taught me so much about humility, grace, gratitude, and God, and who loved me so much I can still feel it after they are no longer physically here
  • the undoubtedly delicious food I am about to feast on at my sister’s house
  • you, my readers and clients, who make this work possible, who share your own vulnerable stories, and who send me lovely notes of gratitude and grace that make it all worthwhile

Happy Thanksgiving! May you find much to be grateful for.

Here’s a video compilation of the pictures I took on my trip…

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