My Year of Jubilee

A year of celebration

My Year of Jubilee – Uncertainty. Unexpectedness.

Posted by on Nov 12, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

My Year of Jubilee – Uncertainty. Unexpectedness.

Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. These states tend to sound like the negative version of something more favorable. With that sinister “un” hanging out in front of them, they appear to make a TOP 10 UNWANTED LIST that includes words like unloved and unhappy.  Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. For most of my life, both of those words pointed to a lack of something. They would roll in like fog, striking fear instantly as it became difficult to see the path. I experienced a decidedly unsettled feeling about the inability to properly anticipate and regulate a situation. Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. I notice how both of these states get into my space and want to dance with me on this trip. I know them immediately. There’s a void in the information flow. I don’t know enough to make an image in my head that feels immediately comfortable.  But instead of coming to a scrambling stop or an anxious retaliation, I breathe. I anchor myself with everything I already know about my resilience. I tease myself that unexpectedness also means something infinitely more delicious than what I can imagine is possible. I invite myself to let the fog reveal its mystery in its time.  I have danced with huge globs of uncertainty in the unfolding of this trip and it hasn’t slowed me down one time. Uncertainty has given me the grand opportunity to access my bigger YES at every turn. But I’ve worked up to it. I recall very clearly lying in my bed one morning last spring when the plan for this trip was being conceived. The thought of getting an unexpected diagnosis of cancer before the trip – statistically an ongoing possibility – fluttered through my mind and landed like a cold thud. I remember how I felt instantly captive to the idea of a lifelong certainty of the ongoing uncertainty about when or what type of cancer I might get.  And then I made a decision that had been forming for a few years already. Like a phoenix out of the ashes of bondage, I decided I would live like I’ve already survived. I would make the kind of gutsy decisions that those who have survived the worst, suddenly find effortless. I would live while I’m alive (cue Bon Jovi). I would be grateful for every day and its unexpected gifts. I would choose to dance in the waters of uncertainty as they splash up fresh ways of being fully alive.  I began to see that the worst kind of diagnosis is living in fear of life’s uncertainties and allow those to write the prescription for my life.  Try this question on for size:  What if I just survived ___________ (the illness/pain that strikes the biggest fear in my heart), what am I now free to DO, SEE, and BE while I’m in human form?  Whatever those first images that form in your mind … how can you begin to make THAT beautiful, scary, unique, perfect thing a reality right now? Uncertainty. Unexpectedness. Bring it on. It’s what traveling abroad offers in spades. I smile when people say that I am on a trip of a lifetime because I’ve decided that THIS is now my life. Perhaps it won’t always look like a two-month European adventure but I will continue to live in the courage and freedom that life-beyond-fear offers so brilliantly and unexpectedly.    **Feeling a nudge to discover your YES in a year-long complimentary conversation? Apply at:...

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My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating us

Posted by on Nov 10, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating us

  He lifts the copper cup that holds their wine and says to the waiter across the restaurant, “It seems to have evaporated.”  I am dining two tables away and have never heard that particular request for a re-fill before and I laugh out loud.  And out of thin air, a beautiful new friendship is forged.   John is travelling through Greece with Clara.  They are both in their seventies, only a few years younger than my own parents.   They met in Spain last year while they were vacationing separately and quickly discover they are from the same area in Brisbane, Australia.  They both had rich, diverse lives before they met. One just had knee surgery, the other is waiting for a hip replacement.   And now they are in love.  Serious, crazy for you baby, love.  They’ve chosen to keep separate residences but spend a lot of time together, much of it seeing various parts of the world between stints of grandparenting and work gigs for John, who is an environmental geomorphologist.  I ask him to say that again slowly so I will remember, as by now I have pulled up a chair at their table, with wine glasses refilled twice.  I am being regaled by stories of how love is bigger than history (which is Peter’s hobby) and religion, and infinitely stronger than the rules of how mostly-retired people are supposed to behave.   I bump into John and Clara twice more after our lovely visit at the restaurant.   The last time I sidle up to them as they are walking home arm in arm, a combination of giddy love and supporting each other’s challenged ligaments.  I gain on them easily and ask them how their ‘hobble homewards’ is going.  Their laughter wakes the sleeping dogs across the street.  They insist on buying me a drink at Fagotto’s, a local afterhours music bar.  Hearing aids are adjusted as needed as we have a round of local wine and speak excitedly, like old friends who can’t believe their luck at meeting again.      I learn about something called a ‘babymoon’.  Apparently Clara’s youngest daughter isn’t too impressed that her mom isn’t home right now to look after the firstborn grandchild so she can take off for a vacation before the second child is born.  Taking a babymoon, they call it.  Clara just shrugs her shoulders with a tinkle in her eye and the knowledge that her involvement in her grandchildren’s lives will continue to be extensive, but with a new approach, where being a grandmother isn’t just about sitting at home waiting to be of service.  Clara is a woman who loves to contribute to her family with a wealth of ongoing personal adventures and a passion for life.    John tells me about some of his travels to Canada as part of his environmental work.  I listen animatedly to this well-educated grey-bearded Renaissance man, who shares his life’s work all over the world and intermittently gushes shamelessly about his beautiful luck at meeting the lovely Clara at this stage of his life.   I ask them a question that I’ve started asking locals and tourist alike.    What’s your favorite celebration?    Most people answer the question with a reference to a recognized holiday.  These two both blurt out, without taking a moment to consult each other, “US”!  We love celebrating us.  There is no waiting for a reason to celebrate.  We play by our own rules.   NOW is a good time to celebrate!   They make no apology for the choices they make in their lives.  They laugh a lot.  Their connection is palpable.  And I had the distinct and utter pleasure of being invited into that swirl of joy two nights in a row.      Celebration made a new kind of sense in their presence....

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My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating a name and a NO!

Posted by on Nov 9, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

My Year of Jubilee – Celebrating a name and a NO!

I’ve been here on Crete for two weeks today – exactly half my stay.  And in that time I have participated in two celebrations that are near and dear to the Cretan heart. The first.  According to the Greek Orthodox tradition (and the taxi driver assured me 99% of the Cretans in Chania are), every day of the year is dedicated to a Christian saint or martyr. When someone is named after one of those saints (or a variation thereof), that day becomes their “Name Day” and is celebrated.  Yesterday was the ‘name day’ of the owner of the restaurant where I’ve enjoyed getting to know the staff.  I was invited to sit and then served a special drink to celebrate his day since they proclaimed that I am no longer a tourist.  I’m not a local either, obviously.  There isn’t a name for a long-time tourist who isn’t a local.  Perhaps there should be?  I propose: Tourcal? When people come to Crete to work they almost all take on a Greek name.  There is something about a name that anchors you into a culture.  I have met a plethora of non-Greek born men who have legally taken on the name “Nikos” which means ‘victorious people’. Ah the freedom in victory.  What’s in a name?  A proclamation.  I imagine in some ways choosing a Greek name when you’re an adult is a little like getting a tattoo.  You decide what you will be called because it means something to you.  Well that, and chicks seem to like the name and it’s easy for tourists to say.   The second.  The Ochi Day (pronounced O-hi) Parade remembering how in October, 1940, Italy, backed by Hitler, wanted to occupy Greece and General Metaxas responded with a simple but definitive “Ochi!”.  No! in Greek. It was a No! that some argue ended World War II much earlier.  One theory suggests that had Greece agreed to surrender without resistance, Hitler would have been able to invade Russia in spring, rather than making his disastrous attempt to take it in winter. Knowing your No! will change history.  Often more than just your own. No!-ing what you know needs to end opens doors to freedom. A definitive No! opens the space for a bigger brighter YES.            ...

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Year of Jubilee – How does Joy want to Rise?

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 0 comments

  Planning my own birthday celebration in a foreign country on my own has parted a curtain on what celebration can be.  I’ve known for a very long time that traditional celebratory elements left me wanting. And for far too many years, this secretly made me feel like something may be seriously wrong with me. I saw many people delight in the flowers, the balloons, the gifts, the countless ritual aspects associated with various holidays. The dressing up. The new this and that. The endless food preparation. The decoration and five storage bins worth of re-creation to one’s spaces. The invitations and the back-slapping party salutations.  It’s not a huge leap to surmise that without easy access to joy, celebration often falls flat. Strong libation can only take a person so deeply into relaxing the obstacles between us and some version of happy for a night.  But I think I get it a little more now. Not so much the cake and balloons part yet. But the part about the creative energy put into the event. When it feels like a choice instead of an obligation, celebration can be taken off life-support. Not unlike attempting to keep the marriage bed fresh after 20 years of wedded life, how does one keep it in the choice category before it slides sideways on the sheet onto the to-do list for the week? Well, I’m about to find out.  I am on a self-proclaimed year of celebration. A Year of Jubilee. Bring me your Christmas. Send in your Easter. Ring in the New Year. Dare to have another birthday. Proclaim the weekend has arrived. Tell me you’re getting married. Announce the sun is shining. I want to celebrate it all! The thing I will do very differently however, is release any obligatory, time-honored approach to what celebration needs to looks like.       I will ask myself one simple question:  How does JOY want to RISE in LIGHT of this OPPORTUNITY to CELEBRATE? JOY – the physical, emotional, spiritual response to a decision to celebrate RISE – the sensation of buoyancy in body and mind, a creative shift, a lift, a lilt, a lovely loft under my wings. LIGHT – the enlightened awareness that shines in through the cracks from unexpected places and even some more traditional spaces. Lightness – the ease and shiny yes – will be my guide and measure of the time and energy that I pour into any given opportunity. OPPORTUNITY – every moment is arguably a praise-worthy moment. I choose a celebratory approach to every day. And layered intentionally into this foundation, I will choose how to respond to the call for a more consciously creative expression. CELEBRATION – a mere moment of acknowledgement to an extended heart-planned event that allows joy to rise.  I’m pretty yummed-up about this year of celebration. I look forward to celebrating with many of you.  Jubile-e-e-e-e! (figured a new word for the traditional ‘cheers’ was in order for the...

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My Year of Jubilee

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in My Year of Jubilee | 4 comments

    My Year of Jubilee     What’s this Jubilee celebration all about, you ask?   Well, I’m about to tell you about the parts I know so far.  And I can’t wait to keep posting about all the pieces that will reveal themselves as the year goes on!   I was on a walk about a year ago and suddenly realized that my big 5-0 was only a couple years away.  I imagined what I might be doing by then, how I might like to celebrate that milestone birthday, and even more importantly, I began to imagine how I wanted to show up in this upcoming decade.  Who do I want to BE as a single, entrepreneurial, 50 year old woman?! Apparently my mind kept looking for clues to these questions as time went by.  I began to notice random connections to what 50 represents.  I recalled learning that in ancient times, the Year of Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year.  It was a sacred time of covenant and freedom, when property was returned to the original owners, and slaves returned home to their families.  And I kept wondering what that might mean for an individual person’s life. The term ‘jubilee’ is pretty old school, so looking up the word got the ball rolling nicely. To jubilate is: an act of rejoicing an expression of great joy a feeling of great happiness and triumph. So the YEAR of JUBILEE is a celebration year which may include, but is not limited to … elation, delight, excitement, rejoicing, ecstasy, festivity, jamboree and joy!    Who wants in?!   When a trip to Italy with my cousin started to gain a growing YES momentum earlier this year, it struck me that I would be away right before my birthday and the start of my Jubilee year which begins the day after my forty-ninth birthday – making it the start of the fiftieth year.  And so my 50-th birthday becomes the ultimate culmination of celebration and jubilation for the year … and of course all the years that brought me here. I didn’t know much else yet but I knew I wanted solitude for the kick-off of this celebration year.  I wasn’t sure where.  But just like so many other aspects of my life as I tap into my internal guidance system and trust it implicitly, then magic happens.  I chose Crete based solely on the fact that it was the most southern part of the European Union and since it would be November, I figured I’d need to transport fewer heavy sweaters in my suitcase if I went there.  The rest of why Crete is the perfect place to begin has been unfolding beautifully after the decision was already made.  I can’t wait to share more about that along the way. Since I’ve never heard of anyone doing a personal version of the Year of Jubilee, things are wide open to create a year that will foster freedom and infuse joy.  I noticed how celebration often involves a sense of: honouring the PAST arriving in this present MOMENT in order to truly celebrate and how the best kind of celebration joy always flows ON.    There’s ripple effect.  There’s joy-bomb splash-over.  There’s light spilled on all those gathered in the giving and receiving of celebration.  So it seemed a natural thing to begin the year with thoughtful intention in each of these areas.   PAST I’ve made a list of all the people who have been key players in my life till now.  The ones who have loved consistently and unselfishly.  Those who have been my teachers through trial and truth-telling.  Those who may not know their impact on my personhood over the years.  I will write a private note of gratitude to each of these 50 people over the year.  That’s about one a week.  Perhaps a little surprisingly, I’ve decided to start today with the first note written to myself.  I see this as a way to accept and receive my own offerings to myself, so the notes that follow to...

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