Counting your blessings

Giving thanks for my blessings.

When life is challenging, it’s important to keep yourself balanced.  Look at everything that’s going well, and not focus on your struggles so much- as once you’ve counted up your blessings, they’ll far outweigh your burdens.  And this Thanksgiving morning I’m truly grateful for everything that’s come my way over the last three or four years – both the good and the bad.

Now that’s not to say it’s been an easy path for me. It’s often proved quite difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel or paths forward.  But in retrospect, it’s only when I’ve lost sight of the things I was fighting for that I’ve felt the most adrift.  But on this morning I’m truly grateful for everything that’s happened – as it’s combined to make me such a stronger and wiser person today.

I’m eternally grateful for my friends and family. Those amazing people around me that somehow know when I’m low in reserves, and find a way to reach out to lift me up.  Love always finds a way, even when life beats you down- but it can be hard to remember that when you’re so focused on just taking your next step forward without falling. And it can be even harder to remember to love yourself, when the harder edges of life are taking bites out of you.

I’m so blessed by my amazing, brilliant son and his innocent way of making me look at life from directions I haven’t yet considered. Devin’s always making me explain things simply and directly, forcing me to consolidate the wildly detailed processes inside my head into simple, condensed forms that make sense outside of my head.

Devin reminds me daily what it was like to be a clean slate, eager to grow and make one’s own mark on the world.  And I’m so proud to work so very hard to be someone he can look up to as he does so.  Watching him grow up into a beautiful man with his own vision and path is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been afforded in this lifetime and I’ll protect that blessing with whatever life I have left in me.

I’m so blessed to be mostly healthy again after far too many years of abuse and trauma.  One generally doesn’t get to flirt with death as often and brutally as I have –  I’ve asked so much of my body in this lifetime that I’m frankly amazed that it’s still operating.  It’s staggering to recall that just over 3 years ago I flatlined, and had to work tirelessly through hospitals, IVs, crutches, bitter setbacks and agonizing isolation to get back to any point of stability again.  And it’s been even harder at times to know that I deserve this stability, given the carelessness I had towards my own life until just a few short years ago.

My job at LinkedIn is such a blessing. Between Lynda and Bruce’s offbeat but caring management during the days and both Jeff and Tanya as we transitioned into LinkedIn (Learning) I learned that balance is possible between work and life, I’ve never felt more supported in a job. It’s largely because of these four people that I’m still alive today (and that’s no exaggeration).

Lynda, Bruce and Tanya supported me through layoffs, death experiences, and re-organizations, always recognizing my strengths and helping me land on my feet even when there wasn’t an actual position for me (they and Erik T actually created a position to put me in for 10 months so I could avoid a huge layoff).

When my marriage fell apart, the cool, empathic leadership under Jeff Weiner ushered me into counseling, meditation advice, legal assistance, and even just the clear space and time to process what was one of the most emotionally turbulent times of my life.  You truly cannot ask for more of an employer, and I’m so blessed to have landed here.

I’m so blessed to live in such an awe-inspiring place as the Santa Barbara coastline, where each day begins and ends in a splash of sun-drenched color across a pearly sea. A place I can live at the inflection point of land and sea, and find inspiration by simply walking out my front door.  This place has healed me more than I often care to admit, and I’m eternally grateful for it’s energy and peace.

And I’m blessed to have finally found a way to bring music back to the forefront of my life, both personally and professionally.  The healing power of music cannot be understated, and I’m even further blessed to have been given such a gift in the first place. To be known and respected again for my musicianship while being afforded the honor of teaching the world how to do the same… well, it’s humbling and brings me to tears just to think about it.

So it seems that once I’ve counted my blessings on this fine morning, I find that even my biggest setbacks have been gifts in disguise that have helped me become the person I am, and am still becoming.  The unknown of it all is often frightening, but what worthwhile isn’t?  These days I’m far more awestruck with the potential of life now that I truly understand how traumatic it can be to lose it.  I plan to never take that gift for granted again.

May you always find your blessings far outweigh your burdens on this fine Thanksgiving morning, are surrounded with love and strength, and face the coming year with pride in your heart and stars in your eyes.