Before Charon commences her column, let me just say a big THANK YOU back, for her excellent blogging ability! Let it also be known that no, Charon was not in NYC the night before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but I was…. totally by accident. the pics came out pretty cool though… And without further ado, Charon:
It’s been a wonderful year here at IZ and I humbly and gratefully thank Gwen for the opportunity to be a part of the family. I have learned a great deal from her and all of the other guest bloggers here and my life has been enriched for it all. You, dear readers, are also being held in gratitude, for without you, none of us would be nearly as compelled to share our thoughts and recipes in the manner and with the frequency that we do.
Thanks and sharing thank you’s is an integral part of this time of year as we move into the Holiday Season as denoted on the European calendar. For a great many of us, that Season began with the Turning of the Year as noted on the old Celtic calendar on the last day of October.
A lot has happened for which I give an enormous amount of thanks. I had a birthday this month. The day prior I was married to my Best Friend by another very dear friend to us both who opened her home and attached grounds to us for the ceremony and ensuing celebration. A great many people from very far distances were in attendance, including one of my dearest friends, whom I have known since we were 4 and 6 years of age respectively.
As I write this I am a few miles from the home of my eldest brother and enjoying the remainder of the autumn leaves in a gorgeous campground. In another few hours we will join him in his home at the end of a mile long driveway atop a tall hill to share libations, stories and fellowship with other members of our extended and expanded family. Next week I share the home of our middle brother, his wife and my nephew as we prepare to join our parents for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Following that, we are with family of our own choosing, those persons whom you know from times Before and with whom you share an inexplicable but very solid bond from the moment you meet and exchange greetings.
Yes, indeed. There is a lot to be thankful for and a lot to hold in gratitude.
Even during some of my worst years, times in which eating was often a questionable possibility and utilities were many months behind in payments, I still found the changing leaves to be a comfort, the smell of wood smoke to be a reminder that conditions weren’t at all permanent. Even when things seemed bleakest and sleep was a treasured commodity in between bouts of stress over where the next few dollars would come from to keep a roof over my head I never ever stopped looking at the goodness about me.
I suppose you’d say I’m one of those blissfully ignorant optimists. But I will steadfastly maintain that ignorance is the polar opposite of optimism. Optimism, which contains a root word shared by “optimum,” and “optimal,” isn’t about being unaware or a refusal to face what most would call reality. It is about choosing what parts of the reality around and about you best serve you. It is about taking the power that Scorpio wields and putting it to good use towards manifesting what you desire rather than allowing it to fan out in chaos. It is about using the balance provided by Libra to help decide what is to be given more weight, more importance in one’s life. It is about the Sagittarian inventiveness and subsequent focus upon what we are becoming and what we want to become in the future in order that these states of being come to pass. I am far from ignorant about all that can go wrong in life, and I have had many people tell me throughout the years that it is nothing short of a miracle that I did not go the Path of the bitter, angry and resentful pessimist much earlier in life. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t see any future in that Path, and I walked away from a great many sources of strife in my life during this festive time of the year a few years ago.
In their place has sprung up a profound thankfulness for the time I have had to share with those who are no longer with us, the places I have been able to see, the people I have been able to meet and grow close with, and the improvements in my Self I have been able to make with good building materials of all sorts. All of it has been worth what it took to make room for it. I, myself, was worth making room for it.
And that last item was what took me the longest to realize.
Sometimes, dear readers, we forget that we owe ourselves some gratitude, even if (especially if) it took us a very long time to grow into the lives and selves we feel are worth that gratitude. As we grow as individuals, we make difficult decisions, have unpleasant conversations and hurt those we love along the way, but this does not mark us as horrible or reprehensible.
It marks us as human.
As we fill our glasses this holiday season, we must look about and take in all that we have and all that we are at this moment in time, RIGHT NOW. Rejoice in what is going right, well and successfully, even if it is minimal, and feel how that affects your entire outlook. Sit with it and really experience it. You will find that it is truly profound.
Happy Holidays dear readers. Here’s a full-bodied cocktail to get you started down the Path of gratitude.
THE HOLIDAY MUSE
4 parts red wine (sweeter rather than dryer works better for this one)
2 parts Port
½ part Grand Marnier
½ part lime juice
Sip this slowly and savor it. It is very rich and very filling.
Charon Henning is one of a handful of female sword swallowers in the world today. She’s performed on carnival midways and at wine tastings, on theater stages and grassy lots.
Charon also reads tea leaves professionally, a skill she inherited from her grandmother on her mother’s side of the family. Tea-leaf reading is a wonderful and elegant form of entertainment, suitable for many time periods and venues.