Friends, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for many things this year – one of which was the Friendsgiving I attended. I spent the morning cleaning and cooking and missing my family, but as I walked into my friends’ home, I could hardly believe how much life and joy was gathered there.
Partway through the meal, I realized my cheeks hurt from smiling, and friends, this was truly a Thanksgiving miracle. For the better part of the last few months, I’ve been feeling very down. I miss a workout; the dishes stay in the sink overnight. Junk mail begins to clutter the bench in the entryway. I think about going to the gym, but it’s dark and cold outside. I wash the skillet but cannot…possibly…tackle the water bottles, which gather condensation from the old water I didn’t even bother to dump out, which probably now has Legionnaire’s disease, and then, suddenly, it’s all too much.
I’m a privileged person. I have a wonderful family and lots of friends and a very good job. I’m physically healthy. I have lots of opportunity. But sometimes, for whatever reason, I get pulled under. I often experience a tremendous amount of anxiety. Things dial up louder and more insistent until I don’t feel at home in my own mind, and that is hard to sustain. So, I think, my precious body tries so hard to protect me by dialing everything way down, making it (ironically) harder to work out and cook and meditate and do all those things that I know make everything better.
When these feelings get out of balance, it’s hard to feel like a good and worthy person. It’s hard to imagine feeling better. Sometimes the best I can do is to remind myself it won’t always be like this.
So I go to the gym, even though it actually feels impossible and foreign. And then I feel like I can wash the water bottles, which, come to think of it, probably aren’t filled with Legionnaire’s disease. I do a 10-minute meditation. I pull out the cutting board and chop some vegetables. I make a coffee using my beautiful new Nespresso machine, and for a few quiet moments, I delight in how the brewing coffee, which smells like heaven, has fogged up the front of the machine.
I find myself with sore cheeks from laughing at a table filled with friends. I lay down on my bed, where my dog (who really needs a bath) has curled herself in between the pillows. She is breathing deeply and smells like sleep, and she rests her head against mine. As her whiskers tickle my eyelashes, I am bowled over by how good my life is – how real and sweet and vital it all is.
So today I’m grateful to be here, exactly where and who I am in this moment. The prodigal daughter returning home to myself, where life is waiting to welcome me back with joy and beauty and bounty.