All This Joy, All This Sorrow

The weather outside is delightful—snowy, cold and windy!  Perfect for sitting by a fire and reflecting on 2010!  I have been writing this blog in my mind for days.  Yet have found it very hard to sit down long enough to put fingers to keyboard and get something on the screen.

As I look back over the year there are so many moments of wonder and joy! Though in many ways 2010 started with sorrow. Last year the holiday was heavy, having just returned from being together with the Campbells and saying goodbye to Tom Campbell, CrisMarie’s brother.  As a result, Christmas was sort thrown together.  We went through the motions but without the inspiration that often comes with the season.

Still, life did move on.  We added boxer Bailey to our family and of course that bought a surge of new life and energy to the mix!  Bailey has definitely been a highlight.  However, there have been those moments when we have both wondered what we were thinking after our third run or walk of the day or when he is not quite ready to settle down and heads across the room with some precious object of ours, knowing we will be after him.  It has taken Sooke a bit longer to discover the joy of having another dog around the house but they have finally become friends.

I turned 50 this year.  For some this might be considered a sorrow; however, I am loving this transition.  It helped that I had an amazing ‘celebrating life’ biking experience in Croatia to mark the date.  We went with our friends Renee and Jim and a great group of folks through Vermont Bike Tours and the trip was awesome.  As I settled into my fifties, I realized it was time to discover what color my hair really was. I have been coloring my hair for so long and with such variety, that I wasn’t quite sure what it would be like.  Of course gray was expected; however, the surprise was how much I liked the short silver results.  (I personally think of it as silver, but I’m not kidding myself—anyone else would say gray!)

I lost a few friends during the year.  By far the hardest was getting the news that Dianne Anderson had left us.  In many ways I knew it was coming and this was moment of great sorrow (I will miss her laugh and our visits whenever I am at The Haven) and great joy. Dianne’s life in her body had been very hard for a while and I do believe I felt her joy as she let go of that heavy weight! Kumi was another shining star for me who died later in the year.  She was not as close a friend, but an amazing soul who had graced my life with some special moments.

The year has had many milestones: my Dad turned 90, we moved our business to Montana and marked it with the purchase of land and a new Subaru, and we had some great work experiences and became even more engaged with the Table Group.  Of course there were some great Haven highlights of joy and sorrow in sharing people’s journey through The Phase and Come Alive programs.   Here in Montana,  I discovered how great it is to hike in Glacier National Park, and I covered many miles on my bike before and after the Croatia trip.

I became Chairman of the Board for the school I am a part of here in Whitefish.  As a result, I discovered the challenges and responsibilities as we produced our first cookbook, took on the financial oversight of The Green Tea House, and worked with the staff and faculty as they wrestled through a year of transition with changes in leadership and direction.

This holiday season was kicked off in style as we headed to New York again with Jim and Renee.  Jim’s bucket list included being in New York for the holidays and taking in lots of shows, good company and great food.  It was a blast!

Indeed this has been an amazing year!  Maybe the best part has been seeing CrisMarie move through her grief and enjoy engaging in this holiday season.  She seemed to really thrive in finding the perfect gifts for giving family and friends.  That is what this time of year is all about.  The spirit of Christmas isn’t so much about religion as it is about magic and giving; being open to feel and experience all the joy, all the sorrow and all the promise of possibility that being human offers each of us.

May each of you have fun reflecting on your year and stepping into the new possibilities that 2011 brings your way.