Life has a way of “taking over”. Responsibilities need to be carried, handled, addressed… whatever you want to call it. Days can be full to overflowing with tasks that need to be checked off the “to-do” list. It’s so easy to feel as if all of that swallows you up, leaving little time or energy for anything else. It’s easy to fall into a place of overwhelm. Yet it’s exactly those times when we most need to take a step back. Perspective is important. For me, a huge piece of perspective is grounded in gratitude.

Over the past week, I have found myself presented with many small occurrences that made me hesitate from my routine long enough to breathe, look around and feel grateful. It has been a week of reminders that I am very capable and very fortunate. The week before had me caught up in that frenzied sense of overwhelm that can really undermine, so this opportunity to shift my perspective was timely and ever so welcome.

In September Judy’s Designs will be five years old.

Wow! In a way, it feels like the business has been around forever, and yet it also feels like it couldn’t possibly have been almost five years yet. And it’s good. It feels wonderful to know that what I have to offer has been embraced by this amazing community that I now call home.

It definitely helps that it’s spring here. The snow in the valley is all gone now and early flowers are blooming, buds are emerging everywhere. The air smells divinely sweet the way it only does in early spring. You know: that pre-blossom sweetness? It’s like honey and I love it. There is a vibrancy to it that only lasts a few weeks; blink and you miss it.

Last fall I planted around 285 flower bulbs. The anticipation has been visceral! The crocuses and the snowdrops have had their moment of centre stage. Now, the daffodils are in full bloom and tulips are beginning their colourful display. The first few are open and the rest are about to follow suit. It’s exciting to see. Every day we are out there checking to see what the newest blossoms look like. The trees we planted in 2015 are well established now and the ornamental pears are loaded with flower buds too. Although it’s still quite chilly outside, and despite the rain, it is gorgeous.

Presented with beautiful flowers, lovely sweet smells, and the sense of renewal and “fresh start” that spring brings, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to find things to feel deeply and sincerely grateful for.

It’s almost like the stress and overwhelm and all the negativity that surrounds it is a swirling dark storm cloud. When I’m in it, it just feels like that’s today’s weather. (It’s as if that storm cloud has a vested interest in keeping me stuck there. And it sucks. It sucks the energy right out of me.) Of course, it doesn’t have to be today’s weather. But it can be really tough to be conscious of that fact when I’m caught in it. When I am able to back away from the storm cloud enough, I can actually see it for what it is. Of course, it’s an ongoing task to remember. Staying out of it is a perpetual work in progress; at least it is for me. My strong desire to be responsible and accountable is usually what pulls me into that maelstrom. And I am realizing that naming that is valuable. It means that each time it pulls me in, it’s a little easier to identify what is happening. I can start to see it sooner each time. That awareness gives me the power to choose to stay in the storm, or back away and tell it to bugger off. That’s pretty darn cool.

Let’s face it, life is challenging enough without putting roadblocks and obstacles in our own path.

I have this image in my mind of gratitude being like a bulldozer or front-end loader that allows me to clear away those psychological obstacles in my path. It’s tough to feel crappy and feel grateful at the same time. Of course, I still have to climb into the bulldozer to make that happen. But it’s one tool I can use. And I have to be honest, the image of me in a bulldozer, clearing my path is a powerful one to me. I like that.

Well, here in Revelstoke we are nine days away from Prom. What started out as a sense of dread has turned into a tremendous source of gratitude. You never know what you’re going to get. Some of the dresses can be a bit of a nightmare to alter while others are simple and straight forward. Anticipating what technical challenges I might be faced with can be a bit daunting. Yet, I always manage just fine. It’s pretty amazing to be a part of the excitement that these young women are experiencing as they prepare to celebrate the beginning of their brand new adult life. I’m really fortunate to be a part of that; to be able to witness that transition. When the alterations are done and they stand in front of the mirror, glowing from head to toe, I get to be there to see that. How cool is that?

And speaking of prom dresses, that’s my cue to get back to my sewing machine.

Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂

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