a month of soulful gratitude

by rebecca on November 5, 2012

Post image for a month of soulful gratitude

Nothing makes me happier than listing the things for which I’m grateful. The simple reason is that, as I notice things that make my life wonderful, the Beauty of the thing GROWS. Why is this?

Focus brings clarity.

So I’m beginning my gratitude month with photography. I have a cadre of photographer friends who have brought new Light into my life.

My first photography friend/mentor was Haley Kay. I traveled with her to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary where we both held kitties and walked dogs. The scenery there is beyond gorgeous and Haley encouraged me to take off the auto focus and simply trust myself to do the seeing.

“They began to change when I allowed myself to decide what was the central focus,” said Haley. I know she was talking about photos, but to me I was drinking at the fountain of Zen. “They” could mean my kids, my clients, the meals I cooked. I used the camera to drink in a Life Tutorial.

While I was swallowing, my son served up some mud. He recently helped a friend of ours who was raising money to combat child abuse. The two of them headed into the woods of the ski area above our house to build an obstacle course and I was one proud Mama. I was also out of breath.

The first 4 minutes I ran up the hill I’d spent the winter teaching people to ski down. Then, while people sprayed me with something the size of a firehose – oh, but lightly – I crawled on hands and knees down the muddy slope, through a tunnel and up  and over a 15 foot slippery log ladder.

Because my son and I were a team and the rules of the race stated team members needed to remain in sight of one another, the announcer, in this moment was saying to my son, “Logan you need to wait for your mother.”

About this time Sue Rodda, famous local photographer, snapped this picture of soggy me, simultaneously cheering me on. “You go girl!”

All parents who take the family photos will know how few representations there are of my face in the albums on the shelf. It bolstered me for the hard stuff that lay ahead. As I waded in water more than waist deep, and failed to scale the 30 foot mud hill on my first attempt, I kept thinking about that photo. I was seen.

My son is 16. He runs the mile in track and places well. I turn 47 this month and I hate running. But I love my son. I love the muddy mess of parenting.

He’s at the age that he chooses other people far more than he chooses me. He wanted me to be his teammate that day, even though I questioned his choice and told him I’d slow him down. The course was imaginative and grueling and he wanted me to see it. He wanted me running (and sometimes walking) in the steps he’d carved.

This is when I realized profoundly and again (we’re always learning the same lessons aren’t we?) the value of seeing people. To see and then be seen, this is the goal with a clear focus.

What focuses your joy? Who has made you feel seen in life? When has being muddy given you a clean feeling?

Here is my (first!) gratitude video. I’m hugely grateful for the fun class I took with Abe Cajudo who taught me not to fear technology and simply make it my own. Abe assumed that I would know where the “on” and “off” buttons were. The mom in me had to refrain from editing out my son’s forehead when he comes in at the end to help me. November is certainly a time to be grateful for technologically inclined teens. PS: I promise not to cry in all the videos I make.

I hope you will join me for this month of soulful gratitude. Leave a comment and tell me what small thing is bringing you happiness. And come talk with me Monday November 12 @ 10am PST/ 12 CST/ 1 pm EST  when we’ll be chatting about the power of focus, photography, and the wonders of  recording gratitude.

To be a part of that call simply dial (805) 399-1200 then enter your *secret code* 208594#
*Long distance rates will apply, but otherwise the call is free.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

KellyG November 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Oh Rebecca, my friend….your video brought tears to my eyes. You have always inspired me as a mother and reminded me of what is most important in life. I am so grateful that you were able to share your voting experience with your daughter. How meaningful and precious. Love to you both…


rebecca November 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

It’s wonderful to be mothers together!


suzicate November 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Awe, you got me all teary eyed!


rebecca November 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

We are cut from the same cloth, you and I.


Jim Cox November 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm

touching, so thoughtful as usual, I love the way you paint with words!


rebecca November 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thank you for visiting, Jim.


Kaitlin November 5, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Something that I’m grateful for is this article and video. It made me feel so at home and happy, even though it made me cry too. Seen by your son, and seeing your daughter as she takes another step into adulthood. What a great combo.


rebecca November 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Seen and seeing. I feel best when I’m getting and giving. Great combos are the way to go.


Abe November 6, 2012 at 12:57 am

I’m grateful for you Rebecca! There is something so powerful about seeing someone tell stories that matter to them on video. In just a few seconds, I can see how proud you are of your kids in a way that would take dozens if not hundreds of words to convey in a post. Thank you for sharing YOU!


rebecca November 7, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Abe, that’s exactly what you communicated in your workshop: video is the shortcut. I get it. Be the goose I am and include my son’s forehead, cry about voting with my daughter, because…well, because that’s who I am. Don’t wait until I get it all cleaned up. You’re a godsend. And to think I was nervous you were gonna get me to learn to make it perfect!


Sue Rodda November 6, 2012 at 2:56 am

You continually open my doors and invite me to step through. You see me Rebecca. And from there, I am seeing myself in a kinder, richer, more fullfilled way. You offer the 180 degree perspective to turn the frown upside down. YOu mention my photography and my pride swells and I dare to hope. If you wanted to be my surrogate Mom, I’d take you up on that for a spell. I’m so grateful for the way you’re willing to express your heart. In your blogs I find commonality and community. What a gift you are.


rebecca November 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Of course I will be your mom. Cookie dough and League of Women voting consultations included.


Sue Rodda November 9, 2012 at 5:29 am

You slay me, girlfriend! And that is one of the many reasons I love you!


Jennifer Lyle November 25, 2012 at 3:10 am

Love, love this video. I especially love seeing your son’s face at the end clicking the off button, just after you’ve shared your pride & love for your daughter’s first voting. And thanks for reminding the world how important voting is.

Love the blog post too. You have such a gift for words & bringing to life the things that really matter to you in your words: “I love the muddy mess of parenting.” “I hate running but i love my son” And “he wanted me” — 3 times. Beautiful. Just beautiful.


rebecca November 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Jennifer, I’m so grateful to have you here! Thanks for appreciating my son, without whose company I may not have had the courage to gather together a video. It turns out the technology is easy, but bravery is tough to corner by myself.


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