Costa Rican Butterfly

Writer Jill Peden
I am so thankful that every single day I have a chance at a new beginning.  This is the most wonderful feeling.  In the dark of night, when I am lonely and feeling most vulnerable, all things seem oversized, all problems – huge!  In the light of day, with the sunshine streaming in through windows, doors and even ceilings, none of those problems seem as large or heavy.  To be open, aware and brave in life and open to all of it’s opportunities, these are the gifts for which I am most grateful.
I didn’t always feel this way.  In fact, within the last six months I have not wished to get up and greet the day.  The new day with it’s endless possibilities…Ugh.  Life has been a trial for me, of late, and I am just now finding my way back to Life.  Thank God!!
I’ve become more aware of my five senses and how each of them makes me thankful each day.  My sight.  I can see the beauty that surrounds me in every leaf, tree, flower and wild animal. I SEE what a magnificent world this is and how fortunate I am to have sight.  Sometimes, while rocking in my swing, I stop and just look around at all that God has provided and it moves me deeply, and I give thanks.
When I listen to soft music it actually soothes my soul.  It touches me in ways nothing else can.  And I am thankful that I can HEAR.  Sounds surround me, from the constant nagging ‘Meow’ of my cat, to the slow munching sound that the occasional deer will make as it eats the new leaves from the trees; I am grateful that I have my hearing.
There is nothing quite like the smell of a fire drifting through the air on a fall morning or evening.  Smells can carry me miles away from where I am in the present.  They can bring a smile to my face as I travel back in time to memories of happy times; they can also bring tears when I smell a long-ago remembered fragrance and my love for the wearer.  As this is the most innocuous of the senses it amazes me the most. I am so grateful that I can SMELL.  When asked ‘what is your favorite flower?’ I find that even though ‘Rose’ would be my most natural response it doesn’t include all of the others that are just as powerful for me.
Oh the delicious, mouthwatering flavor and taste of my homemade sticky buns, just out of the oven – yum!!  My sense of TASTE is one that fulfills all of my human desires.  The soft, fluid, smooth taste of a cold glass of milk can reduce me to feeling like I am 2 years old again.  Milk and chocolate – yum yum!  Taste is also something that reminds me of fondness and  loss.  I loved the taste of Tequila, and can now only barely remember the taste.  But the taste of Tequila never did translate well the morning after, and to have that hardship be just a memory now is a great gift that I give myself each day.
TOUCH. How awesome it is to feel everything around me, such as the cold, static, dependable keys on the keyboard as I type this article.  Being able to feel and track the raised line below the ‘F’ and the ‘J’ is such a gift.  I remember the softness of my children’s skin when they were babies, and can return there in present-day moments when I touch something equally as soft.  Usually for me that’s cashmere, as nothing else quite seems as soft.
Without my senses I would not be able to live as effortlessly as I do now.  Take away any one sense and apparently the others become that much more attuned.  Never mind that, I want them all.  I give thanks for all of them, and so much more that I’ve received by being alive.
I’m so thankful for my smarts and my empathy.  I am beginning to believe they make a great combination.  I’ve become much more aware of how everything that I see, smell, hear, taste and touch affects me.
I’m learning more about myself each day and for that I am tremendously grateful.  A few days ago, Bobby and I were exchanging texts and emails regarding the ‘wedding’ and the division of labor, as it were.  This electronic communication ended quite abruptly with an email from Bobby letting me know in no uncertain terms that while he was growing up I was not what he wanted me to be, and he still sometimes feels that way to this day.
The initial hurt that I felt was devastating and it stayed with me.  After a rather sleepless night I awoke to face the day.  I reread his email. It all had to do with his father and I ‘sharing’ expenses. I believe he and I stopped sharing anything the day we said ‘I do.’  The hurt was justified, because he was right.  In the clear light of day I was able to read and digest his words completely.  Then without having responded to him, because, what could I say, I received a text from him saying ‘I’m sorry for the email.’
Whew, I thought.  And whew is what he wrote back to me when I responded, ‘No worries. You were right.’
I list this as gratitude because it gives me insight into myself and how far I have come on this journey.  I am so grateful that I have learned some lessons, that I am open to learn more, and to realize that each day is a new beginning.  To be able to objectively look inside myself, to find that I am as magnificent as I believe myself to be, and to see that I am also flawed. I am not perfect and I’m arriving at the understanding that that is a very good thing.
The friendships that I have accumulated over the years, the good and the bad, are all relationships that I am grateful for having in my life.  Each one of them has taught me so much, again, the good and the bad.  They have taught me what it means to be committed to something outside of myself, to know what it is to reach my own limitations and most of all about my capacity to care.  To give and receive, and within those two separate yet equal principles, to understand that to give is the most powerful and good I can do for myself, but to receive from others – well that I find is life sustaining.
I am so very thankful that I do not have to walk alone on this path and I’m feeling it more and more each day.
Jill Peden
Mother, daughter, sister, friend. Recovering addict from alcohol and love/codependence. Ocean lover and now living in the Redwoods among the spirits of the world.