life is beautiful

since i began this journey a couple months ago i have begun reading creative blogs during my lunch break, when i can't get away from my desk. (note: i do at least 1-2x week leave the office and eat with friends near a beautiful fountain with a pianist playing in the lobby.)
i love to visit sarah-ji to get my chi-town fix every so often and today i found more writing than her usual description of a fabulous photo. her post on shutter sisters (an amazing place for inspiration!) really got me thinking about my own "lens"...how i view myself and the world. she also talks about "opening my heart to what (others) see in me" in a recent post, which is something i did about 5 years ago.

we'll start there...
just as i was deciding to leave chicago and move down to houston, we were planning for jamie/andy's pre-trial hearing in georgia. there were a lot of emotions and i was making a huge life-altering decision while i was still very much grieving (which is a big no-no in all of the bereavement literature, btw). so, i sent this e-mail to all of my friends and family i was leaving up north:

I am asking that each of you take some time and put down in writing your thoughts on me. (God, am I self-centered or what???) It's just interesting what other people's perceptions of you are, and right now I'm having trouble being objective. I have some thoughts on what I want to do, but before I go public (baby steps, you know) I need to do some soul-searching. Which is where you come in. And maybe it's a little need for confidence-boosting before this weekend.

i focused the whole message on my career, but the responses i received were overwhelmingly focused on me as a person/friend/cousin/creator of fun. i have referred to these love-filled messages many times over the past years, particularly when i need a boost and to remember that whatever i may see in myself at a certain point in time...these people are combining years of data into their assessments.

i am pleased to report that at this point in my life, my heart is fully opened to the view that others see of me. i am fortunate that as a result of a traumatic experience i found the strength to ask for what i needed at that time. and since then have continued to practice awareness of those things that make life beautiful.

as a social worker, and the sister of a victim of a violent crime, i know that life is not always beautiful. but i truly believe that it is my mission in life to look past the evil.dirty.ugly.horrible parts and embrace those gifts we may have overlooked in the past.

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