Gratitude is a powerful force for good in our lives. It improves our mindset as we go through life, changes the way we interact with others, and enhances the awareness through which we perceive our ego and personality. As I have progressed on my journey of personal transformation, I find myself transfixed by how increased awareness, and focusing on gratitude may have changed the course of my life, or at least more quickly allowed me to awaken to the impact my actions had on myself and others.
Gratitude is very much front and center in my thinking today. As I write these words this morning, I reflect back that one year ago today, I was celebrating my 50th birthday in Provence, France. I drank too much Rosé at Club 55 while playing on the beach of Saint Tropez with 12 incredible women, and would later miss my birthday dinner. My wandering had commenced just 6 short weeks before arriving in Provence. My Passport held one lone entry stamp from Madrid, Spain but was blank of any visas from the African countries I would visit in the coming months. I had no idea of the changes that would be unearthed inside me in the coming months of my travels, but I was willing to be vulnerable to letting them find their way to the light. My months of traveling were filled with deep introspection, struggle, a bit of regret, but mostly overflowing gratitude for the opportunity that I had given myself to explore the world and myself.
What has transpired in my 51st year, has been a rebirth of sorts. The three months after my birthday included falling in love with the Cotê d’Azur, supporting a friend’s first marathon in Berlin, exploring Italy for a month, returning to France for 6 weeks including my 3-week stay in Paris, and then traveling to Africa for two life-changing experiences on Mozambique Island and my safari in Tanzania. I arrived home from my travels a few days before Christmas. Frazzled, numb, emotionally and physically exhausted, but thankful that I was surrounded by the love of my family and dear friends.
As I regained my strength, the clarity of who I had become came into focus. With conviction and awakening, I knew the decisions that I needed to make regarding how I was going to choose to write the next chapter of my life. This included the very hard decision to end my marriage and to allow myself to be cared for by one of my three sets of incredible parents, as I allowed my new life to reveal itself, a second chance to live the life I was meant to live.
I accepted a contract position in March that allowed me to make a bit of money while I focused on finding a job that would feed my soul. I then moved into a brand new apartment in April back in Denver and began the exciting task of decorating and selecting photographs from my travels to hang on the walls of my new home, allowing me to relive the memories of some of the beautiful places I visited.
Today, I feel settled in my new life. I started a job in mid-July that truly inspires me. The personal growth I experienced during my travels is put into action every day as I interact with old friends and meet new ones. I have new perspectives about my strength and courage and the fact that they can coexist peacefully with the innocent and vulnerable parts of myself. I have an open mind about what it means to connect with people, and that I can show up without any power motives and see people without judgment. But what is most inspiring to me, is that my heart is open. Open to being loved, being scared, being unsure, and finding happiness. Open to treating myself and others with compassion. Open to connecting with someone at a deeper level than I ever thought possible, and allowing my true self to be seen.
I am spending my 51st birthday in one of my favorite places, my family’s cabin outside of Creede, Colorado. With my loving daughter and my parents by my side. Beautiful blue Colorado skies overhead. The sun, brightly shining outside with Bristol Head mountain standing boldly in front of us. And of course, a bottle of Rosé chilling the refrigerator – I’ll keep it at one this year though. I celebrate this new year filled with gratitude. I am happy, healthy and committed to living in the present moment. Thankful for the love that is ever-present in my life and for the wonder of what lies ahead for me.