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Unexpected Gifts


I am always amazed that no matter the chaos that surrounds us, God, and the Universe knows what we need most.


For my darling little family and me, the weeks leading up to Christmas were filled with lots of big emotions, significant decisions, and announcements. I absolutely love the holidays – the beauty, the magic, the love, the traditions, even the frenetic energy.


Every year, I set the same intention – to seek joy and be present. This past season, however, I needed to set a few additional protective intentions. I chose to practice self-care, delegate where possible, and let go of that which I cannot control so I could soak in the joy and love that are always present, no matter how loud and ugly the other stuff gets.


As we closed in on Christmas week, the biggest challenges hit. A few days before coming home for break, Connor opened up about how he was struggling and needed support from us. No stranger to this struggle, but finally realizing he needed help outside of willpower, determination, and family support, he presented the beginning of a plan. Tapping into our lovely support system, we researched options that would not only span his four weeks at home but set him up for success once he returned to NYU.


I remember to breathe. I remember my intentions. I let go.


And then a festering situation with a sibling imploded. Why is it that people choose this most wonderful time of year to express ugliness and to make it so clear that they have no concept of love?


Once again, I remember to breathe. I remember my intentions. I let go.


And finally, frustrating and heartbreaking news concerning family members who are struggling with complicated illnesses.


And we decide we need a change of scenery.


There were multiple reasons we chose Asheville. There is a lot to do there; it is driveable; it is dog-friendly; most of all, though, we thought it might give Connor some closure and allow him to meet up with one or two people who were beautiful influences and just "got" him. What we didn't realize is that it would be healing for all six of us.


Connor's stay in Asheville January-June 2018 left all of us with wounds of varying degrees and sizes. While it was the best solution at the time, and it allowed Connor to slow down and begin to work through some deep issues, it was also frustrating, confusing, and overall disappointing for all of us.


Taking a few days to slow down as a family yielded rewards far greater than any of us could have imagined during the blur of the holiday or the scramble to plan. Arriving in that beautiful town in the blue ridge mountains had an immediate effect on each of us. Stress, anxiety, sadness, and general teenage angst just rolled off in waves. It was an expression of pure yogic breathing – breathe in clean mountain air, breathe out toxic yuck. And the coolest part is that each of us was doing it subconsciously. It was like our bodies and minds sensed that we had all relaxed enough so they could get to work on the healing process.


The days unfolded with hiking, touring, eating, lots of walking, shopping, laughing, and hanging out at a few nostalgic spots. We made a stop at Connor's former school, celebrating how much he has grown in 18 months. Physically sitting in front of that building allowed each of us to let go of whatever negative feelings we were still holding on to; of course, a

lot of it came out as funny banter, but healing occurred that day. And I am grateful.






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