November was an odd month. The elastic tethering my heart to home was stretched taut, life in Kingston had some unusual and unexpected challenges, and I longed both for the freedom to be fully here and for the comfort of being home.
In the midst of that one thing that kept me going, as they have for the past year, was the ladies of my book club (before anyone corrects my odd grammar, I'm speaking of the collective ladies :)). Skype dates. Facebook chats. Emails. Little lovebombs sprinkled throughout my days. And, of course, reading the book they were reading - it's the literary equivalent of laying under the stars and knowing someone you love is looking at those same stars.
I also reflect, every time I think about them, that it is because of those amazing women (and three amazing men) that I am here in Jamaica living a life I dreamed of. It is challenging some days, it is imperfect, but it is still the most amazing, life-affirming, growing experience I've had. It is because of the unbridled encouragement and support of those ladies that I've not had a moment of doubt since May when I didn't hear one or another of them whispering - or sometimes yelling - to me "you've got this! Dream! Live! Go!"
I am missing our 2nd Annual Christmas Potluck on Monday, and for me the missing will be very real. I have experienced a lot of joy and a lot of 'fear of missing out' (FOMO) in watching them all go on without me. I can't begrudge them their fun, so this is my way of joining in the Christmas revelry. Last year I gave everyone little gifts - this year they get the e-gifts below. You're welcome to take from it what you need as well:
Our ladies, it's hard for me to articulate what you all mean to me without resorting to cliché. Since this is the season of giving, let me instead try to say what you've given me & what I'd give you if it was in my power:
- B - the happiest book club news I've had is that you are joining our happy bunch and bringing your gifts of caring, nourishing, and sass. I am sending you a clean shiny slate on which to create a limitless life - no past, no shoulds, no other voices, just you and your brilliant creative heart expressed in the world
- C - you make your living being clever, witty and hilarious, but for me you are also the gift of quiet observation and deep insight. For you, busy mama, I wish sleeping in, peaceful connections, and a graceful expansion of your life over the next few months and as you welcome your newest love
- D - there aren't words enough for who you are to me, but beauty and freedom are your gifts that come most to mind. I wish you bold, passionate, lasting love and a life that is worthy of your giant heart and talent.
- EL - you sparkle in a way that makes people around you sparkle too. The love you have for your family & friends and your commitment to taking care of the community are an honour to witness. I wish you nothing more than quiet sleepy mornings in your lovely home with Mr. L and Baby L, and time and space to reflect on how amazing you really are. (And maybe a table to dance on).
- ES - I have so enjoyed getting to know you. While you are out in the world creating total wellness for others, that is what I most wish for you. Ever-expanding peace in your body ... and bucketloads of Vitamin D by the ocean!
- EW - You are the embodiment of courage and commitment to knowing what you want in life and going for it. As you prepare to return to work I wish you a graceful transition, peace with the arrangements, and space to still sit and play and cuddle with your little Flower as she grows to be a powerful, beautiful woman like her mom.
- H - I can think of no one who has taught me more about metamorphosis than you over the past 6 years. I love watching you recreate your life with skill, humour and grace. I wish you boundless prosperity, trees to walk under, and adventures that make you smile that stunning smile of yours.
- J - our quiet, smiling Mona Lisa who always has the perfect comment at the perfect moment. As you and your family move into a new house and a new year I am sending you ease, joy, and a whole new world in which to create amazing memories.
- K - the boundless joy and energy that burst from you into life is what I most wanted to get to know when you joined our club. Your passion for a better world is inspiring and infectious. I wish for you bold freedom to have that positivity expressed in the world in a way that gives back to you ten-times what you give to our community.
- M - you simply are warmth, quiet strength, and generosity. You have also been a consistent blessing to me in reaching out, encouraging, and following through, and I can't thank you enough for that. With a full heart I am sending you peace, a year of calm, healing and joy, and time to just sit, write and be blessed.
- N - your friendship is such a gift to me. Every conversation we have I leave more centred, calm, and at peace with myself and the world. I wish that for you - have peace in the grieving that will be unavoidable for you this season; know you are blessed, loved, and surrounded with care even in your quiet. And, when it's time, bring back your brilliant laugh that fills the room with sunshine.
And a gentle reminder, ladies, that everything I'd give you is actually in your power, as you've so consistently taught me.
BTW - November's book was Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. It was fine, but painfully predictable. That is all.
Reverb Prompt 18: In the busyness of the everyday, taking time to nourish the soul doesn't reach the top of the 'to do' list as often as it should. What nourishes your soul? How would you like to incorporate more of this into your life in 2015?