In 111 Invitations you will see moments of despair and moments of great joy. Sometimes I am standing in the middle of both, and sometimes I am all in one or the other. Life is full and rich because of its contrast and contradiction. I am only now learning to embrace all of life in its entirety; to do so allows me to live life fully and wholeheartedly.
I suppose if my world hadn’t crumbled so badly, I would not have been propelled to find another way. Some days I find myself reeling between the unimaginable pain of what my son has gone through and the unimaginable gifts and grace of support being given to me. I’ve decided not to try to make sense of it, but to just be with it. This is my journey.
While my journey is often topsy-turvy, I welcome this life over a safe, grey, neutral zone where nothing extreme happens. Sleepwalking through my days is not what I want – I am wide-awake and I am feeling it all. Sometimes I’m amazed that I get up and keep on going. But, taking life one day at a time, one moment at a time, has allowed me to continue on and even to soar at times. Sometimes I still lie in numb disbelief.
I’m not an extraordinary person. I am just another person who is finding her way through this labyrinth of life. I am living a life that has its own story lines, no better or worse than anyone else’s – they’re just mine. You have yours.
I have resisted writing my personal story, because I truly believe the personal details don’t matter. At the same time I realize giving you some context for my writing is important. A purpose of sharing this book is to unmask our commonality. My story is my story and yet it is the universal story: joys, hopes, dreams and victories, pain, sadness, defeats, and loss. My entry to pain may or may not be the same as yours, but whether it comes through relationships, career, finances, addiction, illness, or death, we each know it and live it. I know you’ve overcome things other people can’t even imagine. I know you have had dreams and found joy others will never know. We are in this life together – our lives may look different on the surface, but deep down, the underlying themes are the same.
This book is a gift of invitations into the contrasts of life, to the wholeness of life, reminding you there is no joy without sadness, no light without dark, no beginning without ending, and no love without loss. Each invitation calls you to look at your own life. As you begin this book, ask yourself: Am I willing to observe my life with eyes of wonder? Am I willing to question to find my own truth? Am I willing to be present with what life gives me as I delicately find my way to hold each moment’s truths, gifts, lessons, and feelings? Can I simply be with myself when it’s not simple at all? Can I allow the harshness of noise and disruption to simply land and touch upon my ears without defining me? Life is an invitation, and these are some of its questions.
I trust you are holding 111 Invitations because there is something here that will speak to your soul. My invitations to you, dear reader, may reveal your own life story and help you see its uniqueness and magnificence
As you read this book, you will find some pieces reflect very opposite emotions or experiences. Things can change quickly – particularly in our internal world – some of the pieces you will read were written within only hours of one another. Oftentimes “simply” changing our mindset reveals a fresh perspective that was elusive, invisible, or inconceivable not long before. Life is a never-ending dance and sometimes we flow beautifully with it, while other times its rhythm and steps feel out of sync or even disruptive to our core.
This book is structured in sections which reflect this twisty journey to capture the times when we feel as if we are moving forward easily and those times when we feel lost, confused, or as if we have gone astray.
I invite you to journey with me, knowing you are truly never alone. We are in this together, sharing life and its fullness – our stories unique, but our humanity shared. We are souls living a human experience, learning lessons along the way, at times lost and floundering, at other times flowing gracefully, and a lot of the time walking the straight and narrow path of the daily mundane. Beauty and gifts are everywhere, in the most joyous celebrations and even in the unrelenting dark. Join me.