Tonight I was very blessed to spend the evening with some really amazing people!  The conversation was all over the place and highly entertaining.  And I learned several things!

First, if I ever want someone to buy me an expensive gift, wait until they’ve taken an Ambien and maybe a glass of wine.  They’ll never remember their generosity!
Second, tequila can give me the latin hips I lack for salsa dancing (but be sure to stop drinking before reaching the point where “tequila makes her clothes fall off!”). 
Third, animal trainers do not always treat their animals kindly.
Fourth, my first attempt at writing a book may well have been, as I rather suspected, a cathartic brain dump to prepare me for what I’m really meant to write!

As we shared stories of kids, animals (including pictures) and parts of our lives that were funny or taught us a lesson, the atmosphere was one of warmth, camaraderie and a strength earned by living life, no matter what it might throw at us.  As is the case whenever I get a chance to talk to any of these people, I was truly inspired by the way they have all turned challenges into opportunities, and how every life they touch (including mine) is better for the experience. 

From the joy on the face of a mother who’s son is home for the holidays, to shared pictures of our little (and sometimes not so little) stress relievers to favorite books and movies to Ambien induced stereo purchases, the evening was amazing and eclectic.  I was thrilled to be included, but couldn’t have predicted what a great time I would have!  I am just grateful it was planned for a Sunday.  I joke about my Saturday and Thursday nights being sacred, but as I think about it, those are the two nights I can guarantee I’ll get a really good workout.  I may not be a devotee of the gym yet, nor do I get out and walk as I should, but when it comes to my dance nights, I’m a superstar!  I ignore my knee and dance until my feet are screaming because that is what makes me happy!  Granted, I’d be even happier if I got more of the couples dancing in, but really, it’s pretty cyclical.  I’ll have a few weeks when I’m dancing a great number of the couples’ dances, then I’ll hit a dry spell as I have lately, where I only dance one here and there (interesting to call it a dry spell as the rain is dripping outside my window!).  That’s not to say that I don’t have a blast either way, though.  I love the line dancing and chatting and joking with my friends. 

And speaking of chatting and joking, one of my friends tonight was talking about how she had a list of qualities she wanted in the man she would marry (and of course, her husband has all of them and more!) but she said that “sense of humor” was added to her list subsequent to the initial writing.  I find it interesting that we all have our own priorities, and, if we’re honest, at least a mental list of what we need in a person we want to share our life with.  I know that mine includes a sense of humor, a quick wit, a keen mind, a love of animals, ambition, kindness and strength.  Though this is not a complete list, it’s the basics, and I also know that this was NOT the list I carried around in my brain when I met and married my ex.  And, no, this is not a bashing of him or myself.  I just realize that I’ve evolved and grown from that time into who I am today.  I have learned many lessons, some of which took numerous tries and quite a few Universal head slaps, while others, though few and far between, that I got on the first try.  I have suffered setbacks and beatings but also more than my share of successes and triumphs. 

Yet, as I sit here typing, I’m experiencing a frantic fluttering in my stomach.  Could it be the onions in my fajitas giving me a reprise of dinner, or did I learn something tonight which would cause me either agitation or anticipation?  I might attribute the flutter to tension resulting from the surreal drive through a foggy, drizzly Box Canyon, except for the fact that it started as I was leaving the restaurant.  I made it home safely and without incident, and all of my furry ones are present and accounted for, so what is making me twitchy?  Could it be that I’m just ready for a change, but not sure what I want the change to be, or even which area of my life I want it be be in?  As I give thanks for the many opportunities in my life, is there one in particular which is staring me in the face, waiting to be recognized for the life changing, earth shaking step I’m going to take? 

The accountant in me could analyze this to death, never really reaching a reasonable conclusion.  The writer in me could discuss it ad nauseum without finding an interesting plot.  The woman in me could worry it into a mountain.  But the sensible part of me, though it may seem very tiny at times, is going to let it go and have a cuddle with my cats, knowing that given time, I’ll know what it is, and I won’t have turned it into something unrecognizable, and insurmountable in the process.   After all, with December 21, 2012 looming on the horizon, I find the very idea of a sudden end of the world to be laughable at best.  A little tumbly tummy should be no different! 

***Warning*** Here comes another tangent!

And speaking of the world ending, could it not just be that an era is ending and that we are entering a new one?  I would love to see a very definite change in which we all become more compassionate, less self serving and more in touch with our Spiritual side which already knows that each and every one of us is connected, so that if you do harm to one, you harm yourself as well.  If I give food to a homeless man, am I not also feeding myself?  If I stab someone, am I not also punching a hole in my own soul?  What might the souls of those who have a righteous belief in ridding the world of infidels look like?  Swiss Cheese, perhaps?  And what might the souls of those who devote their lives to helping others look like?  A rare Persian rug, interwoven with intricate, colorful patterns chronicling the lives they’ve touched?  And what of that homeless man?  Is his interspersed with dark patches where he was ignored or belittled, and brighter patches where someone took the time to be compassionate.?  This brings back some of the conversations I had tonight.  Everyone has a story about  what made them who they are, but many of those stories are the same or similar.  It is the path which is chosen that makes the stories different.  One person may have been raised in poverty, neglect and abuse, yet grow up to be incredibly compassionate and patient, helping others and teaching their children to look past the outer shell to find the gem inside of everyone.  Someone else might have a similar upbringing, yet grow up to be a drug abuser, a rapist or a mass murderer.  It’s all about choices, and part of the choice is, in my opinion, making the decision to either be in control of your life, or be a victim.  That is not to say that victims aren’t in control.  They are simply more insidious about that control and tend to lure other people into being under their control, often, unwittingly.  Nor do people who choose to control their own destiny control everything in their path.  In fact, they know that there are times to be in control and times to allow oneself to be led.  “To everything, there is a season and a time to every purpose…”  Those words mean more to me right at this moment than they ever have. 

I have spent a lot of time fighting to maintain control of my life.  I’ve fought battles on behalf of my kids, for myself when I felt I was treated unfairly, and in small ways for others who were being abused.  But there comes a time when the battles have been fought, the ground has been claimed and it is time to relax, sit back and, in a way, watch how the next chapter unfolds.  What my role will be is not really important.  Stepping up and taking my place in the general scheme of things is.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends with sharp minds and a straightforward manner.
2. I am grateful for love and respect.
3. I am grateful for opportunities which are now traveling at warp speed.
4. I am grateful for dancing because it keeps joints loose, muscles toned and energy levels high.
5. I am grateful for possibilities and the chance to step further away from my comfort zone.

Love and light.

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