January 10, 2022
Have you ever gotten a gift that you didn’t really want because it wasn’t even close to representing your personality or life? It’s an awkward moment because you want to be grateful and yet your face is struggling to keep the peace by showing glimpses of your real feelings.
I remember when my mom gave me a gift that she had done at one of those paint your own pottery places. I opened the gift and inside was a coffee mug. It was horrendous (bless her soul as she passed in 2012). The mug was painted in a so called dark turquoise-like color, which was not a color I associated with. You could see every uneven brush stroke. She also had my middle name (Kiyoko) painted horizontally on it - okay - that helped. Now, I must tell you that my mom and I had a very challenging relationship, so my response needed to be very guarded. I thanked her but, honestly, I was disappointed. The mug reinforced my feelings that my mom never really understood who I was. She didn’t see me.
Our relationship was a struggle; to say the least. I consider my mom one of my painful teachers. I am who I am in part because of what I have learned to overcome despite what she thought of me. We all don’t get the mom we want or needed, sometimes we get the mom that fosters growth through adversity. Like the mug, my mom and I were not a great fit.
So why do I bring this up? Because sometimes gratitude arrives later in life as we process and heal. We might not have gratitude in the moment or even for a while. I feel like 2021 has been a LONG extension of 2020 and keeps on going!!! (COVID Fatigue anyone?). What’s the point of all of this? Ugh! I remember how everyone was so excited for 2021 to begin and put the pandemic past us but what we’re finding is that 2022 is our third year of navigating it. And that’s the key: NAVIGATION. If there is one thing I have personally learned through 2021, which has held a lot of pain in our family, is that you DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS - you still go for them and learn to navigate what’s painful.
I learned how to navigate the painful parts with my mom and still learn how to go for what I wanted. If she was in a “good” space then I spent time with her. As soon as that shifted it was time for me to depart - navigation. I learned to IDENTIFY how I wanted to show up and what I wanted to experience with her. I got very clear on what wasn’t going to change and how I could navigate the rest. I was able to enjoy pockets of time with my mom and build memories there.
POCKETS OF JOY can feed a soul in the future. As I have done healing work around my mom, the parts that feed me are the pockets of joy I can remember and give grace to the rest. I also recognize my own RESILIENCY and the personal development and growth I achieved through doing the HEART WORK.
The past two years have required me to navigate life in a very different way; not necessarily designed with who I am or what I like but life is going to go on whether I change anything or not. I have a choice; so I choose to navigate so I can experience pockets of joy.
What if you find pockets of joy in your hour? Day? Week? Month? Year? What if you realize how resilient you are? What if 2020 and 2021 have been your painful teachers and you are overcoming things you never thought you could? What if you are learning to navigate so you can get to your dreams? What if some of the gifts are those things that are ready to be processed and healed? What if you have a choice in how you define the experience? What if it's okay to not be thankful right now? What if gratitude comes from the experiences that stretch you to find your voice, truth and being able to be seen?
Thank you 2021 for:
2021 was definitely another challenging year and I know I am not seeing or realizing all of the actual gifts that have been given and so I will give gratitude now and what’s to come knowing that some of the gifts will be revealed later when healing occurs. I also know that I can release things that do not serve me.
What if 2021 has helped you find your voice and to see YOU? What if the “ugly” in life has brought gifts forward? What if those pockets of joy feed your soul at just the right time?
“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass... get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it's the ability to deal with them.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
To this day, I still have the mug my mom gave me. It’s still not pretty. But what I realize is I increasingly learn how to find my voice and more importantly EMPOWER MYSELF. I see me. And because I am able to do that I can now extend the same compassion and generosity to my mom. I can look back and realize she did the best that she could with the capacity that she had (and trust me when I say this alone is quite a journey!) I chose to be stronger for having her as my mom.
I can now look at the mug my mom gave me and not feel disappointed; instead I giggle.
I see you mom.
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