endings, beginnings and making light
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
If you've been coming to Chookooloonks for a while, then you know that I'm a big fan of gratitude practices. Besides the fact that I think having a solid gratitude practice just makes each day feel better, I've always believed that when it all hits the fan, it's a gratitude practice that helps you get through it. Having a gratitude practice helps make looking for good second nature -- a handy skill for when good becomes hard to find.
It's for this reason that even though life has thrown us a bit of a curve ball, and this month has been a pretty challenging one, we've been weathering it surprisingly well. This is mostly because we can't help but notice the little mini-miracles that we've all been noticing throughout this process: things like the fact that when our house was flooding, our daughter happened to be texting her best friend, who happened to have a dad who happened to have a kayak to get us out of our house. Or the bass boatsmen who miraculously showed up when we were trying to wade through chest-deep water to get to our daughter. Or the friend who offered us her empty 2-bedroom garage apartment to stay in while we figured out what we were going to do with our house. It's these little mini-miracles that are keeping us grateful. And as I keep telling folks, although our days are far more complicated than they used to be, there's no way that I can complain. Not when there is light everywhere.
Still, the last few weeks of mucking out our house, ripping out drywall and flooring, and cleaning what could be salvaged has made it clear that we're in for a long haul: our house is pretty much toast (removing the sheetrock revealed some unanticipated structural damage), and at this point we're hoping to rebuild a new home on the land (though who knows, things may change), a process that promises to last many months.
For context, here's what our home looked like this past weekend:
It's going to be a challenge, but I can't help but remember one of the big lessons that I learned when writing my upcoming book. As I was interviewing folks while writing Make Light, one of the things that emerged from their stories is that thriving (or, as I've come to call it, "making light,") is not about having a perfect life with a perfect body, and a perfect spiritual practice with perfect work-life balance. Thriving is about navigating life with mindfulness and self-compassion. It's about keeping an eye on your mental health, as well as your physical and spiritual health, and caring for them, even as you deal with everything that life is throwing at you. For me, a gratitude practice is certainly a huge part of making light. But it's also about noticing when your mental, physical and/or spiritual health might be taking a hit, and doing what you need to correct it (as I did after I had my little meltdown last week). It's about taking care of yourself as you take care of life.
It occurs to me that while losing our home has been hard, it's also a new beginning -- and an opportunity to chronicle how we make light as we rebuild our lives going forward. So with this post, I'm back to more regular posting on Chookooloonks, and in addition to my usual content, I'll also be sharing our Chookooloonks rebuild story, however that ends up looking. I hope you'll join me.
Have an amazing week, friends.
Soundtrack: The greatest, by Sia, featuring Kendrick Lamar. This song remains my anthem.