A few hours from now most of us Americans will be sitting down to a table brimming with food, family & friends.  As tradition goes, we'll go around the table to say something for which we're thankful. Admittedly, I sometimes get nervous about this part of the dinner, and it has nothing to do with public speaking, but rather bearing my soul in front of a group of people.  Depending on the year, either I have something really deep to share but it seems too personal, or my heart is ungrateful and from that dark place of self-pity I can't muster up a real answer. Often times I take the coward's way out, one that can successfully maneuver around true vulnerability OR disguise a cold heart, by saying a one-word, trite answer like "friends" or "family."  Although I am very thankful for friends and family, these answers are usually vehicles for avoidance, a way for me to feign a heartfelt answer without actually exposing myself.

Well, now I've gone and exposed myself, I might as well continue in this state of transparency...

A few years ago I accumulated a lot of debt.  The short story is I lived in Italy for a year on a loan, and I have been paying for all that pizza & gelato ever since.  This debt succeeded in blocking my vision for my dreams.  Every time I would see an aspiration on the horizon, this mountain of debt would get in the way, convincing me that the road to this dream was impassable.  So I have chosen to live in mediocrity and safety, letting fear be the vehicle driving my life.

After my clothing fast ended last June, I felt a follow-up lesson coming on as I stepped into the height of summer.  My new lesson was to walk in a mindset of abundance, rather than one of poverty.  A mindset of abundance believes there is enough for everyone and responds by being generous and grateful. A poverty state of mind says there is not enough, not even for me, and I have to hold tightly to what I have. This often breeds ungratefulness and stinginess. 

Colin asked me if I wanted to take the trip with him back in August.  I knew I wanted to go, as I had a made a list the week before called Things I Want in Life and "take a cross country road trip" was near the top of it, but it seemed impractical.  I had a full-time job, and I didn't have the finances to quit my job. Plus, there was no way I could get four weeks off of work, and even if I did, I didn't have the savings to not work for a month. Blah, blah, blah...

As part of my lesson in changing my mindset, I made another list of big dreams that seemed impossible to me in that moment, dreams that a poverty mindset would say are unattainable.  I described each dream and asked The Lord to come in and make it technicolor.  I gave those dreams to Him, knowing full well that my "mountain" of debt is actually very tiny to Him.  The road trip was also part of this list.

Meanwhile I began writing a book proposal for a book about my clothing fast.  I found out very quickly that I needed to create more of an on-line presence in order to find a publisher.  So I decided to take a step toward another item on my list of Things I Want in Life and start a blog. That's when I realized all these dreams, the road trip included, were connected. 

I began to move forward with the road trip, pushing on doors to see if they would open. Miraculously, the impassable doors blocking the road trip began to spring open.  I asked my boss if I could take four weeks leave, and she said yes.  Immediately after that I put up my Indiegogo campaign up to raise support for my budding dreams.  At the end of the campaign, I had raised $2505 of the $3200 which would have been enough if I tightened my budget a little.  However, with my clothes sale and a few people contributing after-the-fact, I ended up with just over $3200.  When I found a sub-letter with unusual ease and another one of my bigger bills was waived for the month, my financial roadblocks were completely removed. A dream that I saw as insurmountable came to pass, and encourages me continue to step toward these bigger goals.

I'm not sure exactly what I will say at the dinner table today, but it seems like a good year to unabashedly show my thankfulness. I will be at a table today with my family in the house in which I grew up.  This last Sunday I flew from Boston to Nebraska to celebrate my sister Tana's courthouse wedding on Monday and Thanksgiving today.  With the road trip coming to a close, here's a shortlist of some things I'm thankful for today...
generous friends & family who have supported my aspirations.
the ability to finally dream big again and the courage to pursue those dreams.
safety throughout the road trip.
sanity throughout the road trip.  
all the new places I experienced and the friends and family I've reconnected with over the last month.
a boss who gave me four weeks off.
an open mind & an open heart that's not tainted with the plaque of unforgiveness.
the artist's way...a book that helped me overcome fears and live more freely. (I'll be writing more about this.)
toilet seat covers in public restrooms.*
the sky.
&, of course, you all.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! What are you thankful for today?

*In California toilet seat covers are the law, but there was a point on the road, when they were no longer provided in public restrooms.  I was raised to always "cover the seat" so these handy-dandy things are a luxury item I prefer not to live without.  That's the real reason I live in California. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Thankful for a sunny morning walk with the dog today on which I met a Caesar Milan clone with a cute shiba inu
    Thankful for my husband
    Thankful for a generous boss
    Thankful for time to sit with coffee and read this morning