Giving Thanks and Other Feelings


I'm thankful to be writing to you today, dear reader… thankful to be able to write, to possess the physical capability and educational background to do so competently (enough), and to have successfully created a platform where I can share my writing with you.

I intended to write to you on the nationally sanctioned day of giving thanks, but I just couldn't do it. I was drained from having written for too many consecutive days on end, as I continue working on ASTROBARRY'S 2015 (your year-ahead forecast e-book), and I needed my holiday break.

It's an awkward paradox to be both simultaneously thankful for a life-skill, activity and achievement and feel burdened by its ceaseless demands. I have described my experience of this to you before, and always balance my worry that you'll perceive me as an unappreciative complainer looking for sympathy against my desire to periodically reveal glimpses of this messy moody human who slinks behind the screen. I notice this conundrum more distinctly now, as we again reach that part of the year where we reflect back upon what we've just gone through… and I look back at this one with, how shall I put it, not the fondest of memories.

I'm actually quite exuberantly engaged with my writing practice as of late, which is something of a welcome contrast to my attitude at this point in my book-creation process in prior years. In part, I chalk this up to the fact that I recently spent a few weeks on my couch, out of general commission… first recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in my knee, and then, right as I was eagerly bounding back out into the world, sick with a nasty chest-cold that full-on robbed me of my voice for several days (and forced me to cancel a week's worth of client-sessions). After those weeks of relative inactivity, I'm more than eager to be productive and purposeful again.

Overall, the surgery was a success—though, because this 'world-renowned' astrologer chose to schedule his own procedure while Mercury was retrograde, the arthroscope's recording-device malfunctioned, taking no pictures for me to see—but, while operating, the doctor also confirmed I had a second injury, a badly-torn ACL, which I'd apparently been living with for quite some time, and which couldn't be fixed in this same surgery. So, while I continue the slow-and-steady work of rebuilding my strength with physical therapy and exercise, I'm still not certain whether I'll be able to eventually attain my fitness goals just by sticking with the training… or if I'll have to choose between signing on for another knee surgery (with a longer and more difficult recovery period) or compromising my goals.

I am grateful to be walking again, and with far less pain than pre-surgery. I'm grateful my bodily challenges were never life-threatening… that I awoke as expected from the general anesthesia, with no complications… that I have both the medical insurance and other resources required to even be an eligible candidate for surgery, in our society where access to health services is not considered a basic right despite ample collective wealth. But at times, I'm also sad I haven't been able to run in almost a year. I'm pissed off I might never be able to use running as a primary source of exercise again, due to my injury. I'm not ready to declare I've already hit my life's peak-of-fitness, that it's all downhill from here. I'm grateful, but also angry and concerned… as well as intent on continuing to invest effort.

Earlier this year, I was beaming with self-appreciation that I'd carved out the opportunity to take a two-month life sabbatical. I hopped in my car and headed north toward Canada. Within the opening segment of my trip, I had an unsettling meet-up with my ex-boyfriend Michael, a psychologically intense exchange of long-left-unsaid sentiments, following years of superficial distance… and two weeks later, he was found dead at the age of 40. The remainder of my trip (and, in many ways, my year) was consumed with grieving this loss, cycling through a panoply of dizzying emotions which each opened into its own complicating vista. Six months now having gone by, my tears lurk only slightly further from the surface. At any moment, I might weep at Michael's premature passing … though the tears now have a softly sweeter taste, having cried through enough of the bitter ones to flush out my ducts. I am glad to still be alive myself. I'm also furious that my much-yearned-for sabbatical—my inspiring retreat, my escape, my peace—was stolen from me by death. I needed a fucking break. I want a do-over.

My life overflows with blessings. Yet, enough unfulfilled strivings prowl the cracks in between, they often threaten to derail the gratitude with dissatisfaction or desire. I happily hold many of our society's pillars of success—a loving partner, a beautiful home, a thriving career—but am not able to rest on my laurels, as if having checked these items off a master-list means I'm supposed to ignore the countless ways in which they aren't enough to keep my soul enduringly fed.

This year, I celebrated ten years with Ricky. Rather than cruise by on familiarity and comfort, though, we had to push through some rough spots together, to ensure our relationship would continue proceeding toward our mutual enrichment. I sure as hell didn't feel so 'grateful' during those difficult moments when I felt destabilized and unsure, though I'm super-grateful we made it through more strongly and solidly than ever. I've lived in my current place for nearly fifteen years, in a city I've affectionately thought of as home nearly all of my adult life. While I continue to adore the 1909 Edwardian dwelling, the San Francisco around it is now morphing into a different creature, with such rapid-fire geographic and population shifts, I grow increasingly disenchanted… and just as baffled about what to do about it, or where to go instead. I do miss discovering favorite spots in a new town. I'm proud as a peacock over my career success, with both my businesses (astrologer and co-owner of The Sacred Well) vital and flourishing. But together, they comprise a full-plate of professional commitments, leaving little-to-no room in their current configurations for me to focus on my highest aspiration of them all. Since I was 16, all I've wanted to do was write books… and, no, not (just) books about astrology.

For quite some time now, my life has felt like one of those puzzles with the grid of sliding number-tiles you move around and around in an effort to arrange them in numerical order… only, in my case, the empty space where the missing tile would be, necessary for allowing the tiles to move, just isn't there. It's full, tiles occupying all the spaces. How can I reorder anything if none of my tiles can move?

Of course, this metaphor describes a feeling, not my actual life-circumstances. My 'tiles' can move. In fact, they are moving, though not always at the pace I'd prefer. This is an important fact to consider alongside our emotional frustrations about what hasn't changed to our liking, what hangs over us like a hindrance, what else we still have left to do. Otherwise, we miss the subtleties of our evolution… perhaps, regrettably, even to the critical-point where we hastily lash out with remedial responses which thwart our evolutionary progress, or we just throw in the towel and retreat to passive resignation. We must keep our eyes on the prize, our feet moving down the path, our constitutions steely and strong.

Today, I am thankful for my ability to persist, through disappointing developments or a discouraged spirit… knowing in my bones there's always more than what's right here, if only I can keep on going.