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Note to Self, Resurfaced

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The cycles of nature are fascinating. She has no concern for deadlines. Spring will come when it comes. Even if our calendars say its May and our thermometers say it is 30 degrees, the day still goes on. Nature doesn’t try to fix things. Nature is a master at living in the moment.  We have so much to learn.

But I tried to take on one of my spring tasks this morning. Cleaning out the closed-in front porch. Somewhere around Christmas it becomes a storage area for stuff, and the stuff stays there until it is warm enough to want to move it again and use the space. Is it warm enough? No. I just cranked up the heat and am taking breaks. You see, I really am wanting to re-create some of my spaces. To start fresh. To start new. After all, isn’t that what spring was about?

But, as it often happens when I am cleaning, I found something. Something amazing that stopped me in my tracks and almost put me in tears. Something from a year ago. Not that long, really. But, my, how life has changed.

A year ago

A year ago, I was grieving the sudden loss of my father. I was missing my siblings everyday. I was completely overwhelmed with work. I needed a break. I needed to rest and cry. We needed to settle my fathers estate and clear out his house. We needed to pay funeral bills. I was terribly sick with abdominal pain. All my tests came back normal. But I was clearly ill. I was terrified. I was scheduled for exploratory surgery with the assumption my gallbladder would be removed. I tried to take each day on its own. But even that was too much. I made the decision to leave my job. This was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. But even as I gave my resignation, I had to prepare all the projects, grants, and reports for my departure. I wasn’t in the clear yet. I still had to wake up each day, show up to work, try not to break down, and be somewhat available for two more months.

What I found on the porch this afternoon was a piece of paper that I carried in my pocket on each of those days. It was a comfort object. It was my reminder. I was terrified and felt completely alone. I wrote myself notes. This piece of paper was folded up into squares. A total of 16 areas to write on, on the front and another 16 on the back. When I heard or thought of encouraging words, I wrote them down on a square. When I needed them. They were there for me. And I knew them to be true.

These are the reminders that helped me have the courage to make the changes that I needed in my life, even if I was absolutely terrified to do so.

  • It’s important to know that today is all I really need to worry about.
  • It’s important to know that I am making a choice.
  • It’s important to know that I don’t have to work hard to be okay.
  • It’s important to know that I have friends thinking of me.
  • It’s important to know that I am breaking my dysfunction.
  • It’s important to know what makes me uncomfortable.
  • It’s important to know that I am valuable by just existing.
  • It’s important to know that I am not giving up.
  • It’s important to know what makes me happy.
  • It’s important for me to listen to the trees.
  • It’s important to know that possibilities exist.
  • It’s important to know that my husband loves me best when I am me.
  • It’s important to know that my children value time learning and working with me on the things that I love.
  • It’s important to know where to find myself.
  • It’s important to know what I love to do.
  • It’s important to know that I deserve to be happy (and am allowed to be).
  • It’s important to know that my health is part of my well-being.
  • It’s important to know that my home is my own.
  • It’s important to know that I don’t have to be strong.
  • It’s important to know, I can change.
  • It’s important to know I don’t have to give all of myself.
  • It’s important to know that things can be simple.
  • It’s important to know I am learning what I need.

What amazing, powerful words those are. Some of them still bring me to tears now. What amazing lessons we can learn from life, indeed.

dogwood

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About Rachel

Rachel is an independent artist and writer who thrives on sharing her deep appreciation for the natural world. She has taught college courses in wildlife identification, ethnobotany, environmental science, natural resource management, and cultural studies. She offers professional services to help organizations build and sustain projects in community development, sustainable agriculture, and environmental education. She writes a blog about her experiences becoming an entrepreneur at pagesofparadigm.com. She lives in North Dakota with her two boys, husband, dogs, cat, chickens, and ducks. She enjoys gardening, cooking, drawing, writing, hunting, hiking, and snowshoeing.

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