Cambrian: Opinion

This year’s Cambria holiday was a Thanksgiving to savor

“We sow the seeds of our future hells or happiness by the way we open or close our minds right now.” — Pema Chodron

Despite one disappointment and one extremely sad circumstance, this Thanksgiving proved, for me, to be one of my favorites. My older son and his girlfriend made it from Portland, both sons’ fathers were there; dear friends, one of my siblings and her husband all gathered.

My turkey was the best I’ve ever done, there was room for us all around the giant worktable in my art studio, and we played a pants-dampening game of “Cards Against Humanity” (note: this is not for the faint of heart or those with tender sensibilities!).

At 28 years of age, my boy was the youngest in attendance. There was some silent grieving going on, a bit of alcohol was enjoyed, the dynamics were far too involved to explain here, and there was no drama. How could I top that?

The bottles are recycled, the dishes and pans all decrusted and put away, and the turkey carcass reclines in the freezer waiting to be made into soup. OK, there are still bits of pie and meat in the fridge along with a bottle of sparkling cider and a jar of olives I’ll never eat. Unfortunately, the sweets I will eat.

What I’m saying is, now, while I wallow in my post-Thanksgiving stupor, I truly have time to reflect on life. I have to. I can’t move far off the sofa for this food baby I’m toting around!

“The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves.” —Pema Chodron

While I may wish I had my muscle tone and nimble, limber body of yore, I do not wish to go back in time emotionally. Yes, that old Faces song line pops into my head, “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger,” but we each are destined to figure it all out on our own. You’ve gotta own those lessons for them to stick.

Expanding my framework

I’ve always had an open heart, sometimes to a fault. I’ve always done my best to help others and more often than not put their happiness before my own. I’ve been loyal but may have mistaken supporting for enabling.

Now that I’ve reached an age where I’ve experienced death and loss as well as birth and success, my framework has expanded to see the bigger picture.

I’ve lived long enough to see returns on my investments in time, energy and love. I have found my boundaries but have moved beyond them, in that love knows no bounds. Following the scent of kindness and compassion, I am led to give it my full attention (whatever “it” is), my “all, as it were, but not everything, not all of my soul.

“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” — Pema Chodron.

My mother always encouraged us to be positively exceptional. That part I got. No problem. Never been one for following norms. Dance to my own drum solo. All that. I now have only my gut instinct to follow. And I may have become a little more critical and jaded over time. I guess that’s the prerogative of those getting-on-in-years.

I’m only 56, but I still want the absolute best for my sons. Uh, overcritical? Let it go.

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” — Pema Chodron

Wow! What did you spike that green bean casserole with? There were a lot of words and thoughts.

In conclusion, I am happy to be in exactly the space I am in, with my family, within my heart, friends, community, work and pastimes. Yesiree, Bob. I think I consumed as much love and revelation as I did stuffing. And it was good.

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at ltd@ lady tie di .com, or visit her website at www .lady tie di .com.