Count your Blessings
Count your blessings
What a beautiful saying. And how often do we actually forget, what we have and just focus on what we are missing or lacking. Since the beginning of this year, I have kept a gratitude journal, in which I wrote every single day, what I was grateful for. Sometimes there were very small things, like a warm bed or running water, and sometimes, they were really important things like a surgery gone well. Taking daily the time to reflect on what I have instead of what I am missing has given me sense of happiness and contentment.
Currently we, my family and I, are taking a sabbatical year. And the first 3 months of this sabbatical have come to an end. They brought us to Scotland/Findhorn. Looking back over the time there, I can think of several things I am very grateful for.
Blessing No 1
I am grateful for everything that fell into place for us to actually come here: the family that rents our home back in Switzerland, my family who supported me in this dream, my partner’s employer who helped with a flexible working arrangement and my daughter’s school, who thought this was a great idea.
Blessing No 2
Dorota, who invited us into her beautiful home, in a calm neighbourhood and with a kind flatmate.
Blessing No 3
Our first month my daughters and I spent volunteering in Cullerne Garden, Findhorn Foundation. From day one we felt welcomed. My girls, Lara and Alina, flourished in this environment, spending most of their time not with me but with other members of the garden team. They fell in love with the place and the people. For many days they were the candles in the circle during tuning in and out. And later when I did a few shifts in Park kitchen, Alina had a great time helping to prepare dinner. I know how difficult it can be to travel with children, so I will forever be grateful to everybody who helped to make this experience a pleasant one.
Blessing No 4
Through my ad in the Rainbow Bridge offering my help while we were here I had the chance to meet amazing people. My special thanks goes to Barbara and Don, who took us in and made us part of their family for the time we were here. I will never forget the times we shared in their garden, the conversations we had, the Peace Pole Planting we witnessed and the baked potatoes that Don invited us to. I also was part of Ray’s Opportunities, a local charity in Forres. There I spend my time in the office doing bookkeeping. I learned a lot, and was part of something bigger. And finally obviously my time in Cullerne Garden. I seeded. I planted. I harvested. I washed vegetables. I hoed. I prepared compost. I looked after the forest and the flower garden. I helped at the Cullerne Harvest Fair, made green smoothies and sold cakes. And on my very last day I even painted a ceiling. I loved being out there under the blue sunny sky and also when it rained and I got soaked. I loved our tea breaks. But most of all I loved the feeling of the soil under my feet.
Blessing No 5
Between July and now my body grounded itself. I have had a few brain surgeries and it has been difficult for me to feel balanced with my eyes closed. After some weeks in Cullerne I realised, I could close my eyes and still feel safe, calm and balanced.
Blessing No 6
Anderson Primary School in Forres and its staff. A lot of people assumed that my daughters were going to the local Steiner school. But I took the conscious decision that they would go to a public school and although the very first day was a bit of a disaster, all others were a bliss. Both my daughters loved their teacher, their classes and even their school uniforms. In those weeks they learned so much English and made new friends. Alina’s class had the privilege of spending every Tuesday morning in the community Sanquhar Woodlands with the Wild Things, a charity, that turns our local woodlands into an outdoor classroom and natural playground. and I joined them. I learned an enormous amount about the woods, the animals, about conservation and John Muir.
Blessing No 7
The nature we saw can just not be described with words: clear starry nights with shooting stars, rainbows over a bay, Orkney beauty, dolphins, the sound of seals and geese, low and high tides on numerous beaches, Applecross Peninsular, Oban, the Black Isle…
Blessing No 8
Not being part of a program at Findhorn but only being a volunteer made it at times difficult for me to feel not lonely. Now after three months I feel at home. I met various people, shared stories, listened to conversations and suddenly I recognize people wherever I go. A feeling of family and belonging.
Blessing No 9
I got to experience a Womb Blessing in the Natural Sanctuary in Findhorn Park. I feel blessed having been part of that group of women. They shared some of their personal stories with us and thereby let me be part of their lives for a short moment.
Blessing No 10
We got to spend two beautiful birthdays here. First it was Lara’s 10th birthday. And we had a really nice little party in Cullerne Garden after her school. And then three days later it was me being suddenly 44 years old and jumping into very cold water.
Blessing No 11
I got to do SoulCollage® on various occasions. I had come to Findhorn and had oped I could maybe offer some SoulCollage® workshop here. And although I didn’t get to do that, I introduced several people to it and every single time I loved it. So I am grateful for being given that chance and I hope that Dorota, Graham, Margret, James, Barbara, Toni, Yvonne and Stéphane will keep their cards close to their hearts. I am confident that what their soul needed to show became visible in those cards. I myself made several cards in those months, some alone, some in company and some with Agne, my dear SoulCollage® friend.
Blessing No 12
Nothing serious went wrong. Our guarding angels must have worked overtime. You might smile about this, but travelling all the way from Switzerland by car, having two free spirited children – this is a blessing. Alina had once temperature, but after a couple of days she was back to her usual self. Nothing broke. Nothing got stolen. No serious injuries.
Blessing No 13
I am leaving with just as many questions as I had when I arrived. I found some answers and with them I found new questions. I still don’t know what my purpose is in life. I still wonder where I belong, what my gift for the world might be, if all will be well in the future or not. But I feel more comfortable about having all those questions. I feel more at ease being in doubt and not sure. And maybe meeting so many others having similar wondering thoughts made me realized that I am not the only one.
So thank you everyone for allowing us to have such a great experience in the past 3 months in and around Findhorn and Forres. Our adventure will continue for the next 271 days and if you want to read about it, you find my blog on my homepage www.anja-foerster.com. And let me just leave you with a poem, I already quoted on the 14th August 2015.
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.