makers gonna make.

gratitudeI have created some beautiful things over this past year. With my hands. With my spirit. With my body. The latter that I speak of is of course Clara who is celebrating a year earthside today. Happy Birthday, Magic Baby. Other things that I’ve created have been as simple as a crocheted shawl, my favorite new apron made from some of my grandma’s old linens (stains and all~ stains that I cherish. After all, they hold stories of their own.) I’ve created beautiful herbal salves that I’ve gifted to others and used to heal my family. I’ve created friendships and bonds of sisterhood through my work at The Wild Soul. I’ve created meals, quilts, dolls. I’ve created memories. All in all I’d say it has been a wonderful and bountiful year.

And for everything this “maker” has made, I’ve learned an awful lot about loss and letting go. Whether they be physical objects, plans or goals, or even grand illusions of myself. Even people. Sometimes the releasing process is easier than I expected it to be. Other times I think on it day after day and still feel the empty spaces left behind.

Some of the people I’ve “lost” I’ve not actually lost at all~ my eldest child (and best friend coincidentally) left home leaving me so sad yet so proud as she makes her way in the big bold world. She continues to amaze me as she grows further along into her Self. My dear friend and neighbor moved away having taught me so much about opening my door to life and receiving love and community. She helped me remember what it was like to have and be a “next door neighbor”. I miss her so freaking much. I’m proud that she’s doing her thing though and just going for it. (Lessons for us all.) Super grateful that both these gems of women are just a phone call away.

I lost my grandmother. The matriarch of my family. She was the anchor that kept us grounded and the lighthouse that called us home. Her loss is felt more deeply of course because she has left the earth. My Papa suffers from dementia so we must experience her loss over and over again as he is continually reminded she is gone. Even as I write these words I feel grief welling up inside of me and there is no choice but to feel it and move on.

Love.

Love.

I’ve been witness to others losses as well. Connecting as human beings to that inevitable experience we all share.

I’ve let go of the illusion of control, as Clara has been sick time after time and no matter how I’ve tried I couldn’t seem to “fix” her. This is still a lesson as we do everything we can to find solutions. And through all of this the lessons keep coming. Opportunities for growth while practicing non attachment continue to present themselves. My connection to Leelu and even my husband has faltered as I’ve struggle through this year of loss. My relationship to my spunky 4 year old is stretched thin and I try everyday to mend it. No one told me that having a second child so close to the previous one would be heart breaking on so many levels. And I know now it is not just me. And I also know it shall pass. And it shall heal. It doesn’t make it easier to live it though. It has led to further letting go of the parts of myself~ the parts outside of myself that I can control. My work with The Wild Soul is on hold indefinitely as I learn my most important work ~the most beautiful creation I make~ is my home. My family. Because at the end of the day only one thing matters. When I ask myself, Did they feel LOVED today? The answer must be YES.

So as these dark spaces come down upon us fully, I am reminded of my shadow. I remember that the dark spaces are necessary. I am reminded that the trees must lose their leaves and bring their attention within. They must focus on their foundation, their roots, so that they can reemerge when their time comes again. And as this old calendar year fades away to the new, and the days gradually begin to regain momentum after the deepest, darkest night of the cycle, I make way for things to shine brighter and illuminate that which may not have been clear before.

I have heard of a practice that people do in place of the typical “new year’s resolution”, and that is to choose one word. One word that acts as a Mantra of sorts, a prayer, or a point of focus for the new year. I’m going to ride along on the bandwagon, but as is typical Brandi fashion, I’ll change it to suit.

My word (of course) is LOVE. My Mantra is “Soften to Love.”
And my three expressions of that love are these:
FAMILY~ Did they feel Loved today? (through my thoughts, my words, my actions)
HOME~ Did I create Love in my surroundings? (through the care and attention of my space, the beautifying, simplifying, and pure gratitude of my home)
SELF~ Did I nurture myself in some way, so that I may continue to nurture others. In other words, Did I fill my cup, too?

I know that I will continue to feel loss so that I may continue to be present and feel gratitude. The numbers passing on the calendar are just symbolic of change. The old year fading away making space for the new. What we choose to take from it is what matters. There is never an excuse to pass up an opportunity for growth. An opportunity for more love.

And as the darkness is at its deepest, my wish for you is that you take time to rest in the shadows. Light a candle and reflect on what is passing away. Each day that dawns new is another chance to Love. From here on, the light begins to grow, and your shadows will begin to take shape and your truth shall be illuminated.

The Love inside of you, inside of us all grows steadily brighter with the growing light.

As each day expands, so shall we.

Blessed Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy ALL Holy-days.

And a very Love filled new year.

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