Savoring the Moments of Joy and Wonder

As we hurry during this season of holidays, gatherings, and family commitments, it is easy to get caught up in an endless bustle of expectations to fill – people to please; gifts, meals, and visits to make. We stop living in the moment and truly experiencing what we are doing or feeling. I’ve been making it a practice to spend some part of each day this season to relish what is right in front of me and fully immerse myself in that moment. It might be a short blip or a longer period of time but I want to savor that moment and embed its meaning into my heart.

I am sharing a few of these experiences with you in the hopes of encouraging you to also find daily ways to bring meaning into your heart during the holiday season.

Ladybugs

Yesterday I spent 30 minutes looking at the ladybugs that appear on my windows when the sun is just right. In the winter, there are only a few. Yesterday my 2 ½ year old grandson was with me. This was the first time he had examined these harbingers of good luck. We watched them crawl along; move towards and away from each other; and then hide in the sides of the window frame. They love finding warm cozy spaces to hibernate over the winter. My grandson and I had a joyous half an hour focusing on these spotted red bugs. We coaxed a few to come crawl on our bare feet and rejoiced when they spread their wings and flew onto our legs or arms. We admired their unique spots, each different but still entrancing. By the end of this shared interlude, “lady bug” had become a favorite word for my grandson.

Birch Stand

I love walking outside in the colder weather. Over the years I have collected the perfect combination of pants, sweaters, jackets, headbands, and gloves so I can stay warm enough. I love seeing the bare branches of the trees as much as I love the seasonal changes of the leaves. What gives me a sense of wonder during winter forest walks is being able to clearly observe the structure of the trunks and branches of the trees.

My particular favorite is a stand of birches. They are so sturdy looking, but also flexible and able to flow with the shifting winds. Their bark shimmers in the sunlight in places, yet holds sections of darker shadows so that the trunk surfaces appear deeply textured. I notice how they group together and I imagine their intermingled roots communicating underground. Then I envision all that is surrounding the roots – the mycelium that spreads out even farther than the birch roots, connecting up disparate parts of the forest to each other. It makes me reflect on the networks that abound throughout nature. I remember that I am part of that networking of nature and also in my human relationships.

Eyes

Gazing into the eyes of a new born, I am prone to becoming hypnotized. I remember that my own newly born children seemed to be emanating such wisdom when they stared at my own eyes or just beyond the edge of my face. What were they thinking? They seemed unshielded, allowing me to truly see who they were. They had yet to learn to hide part of themselves and I was given an honest and deep glimpse into their souls.

Nowadays we are wearing masks and can’t see half of our faces when we meet out in public. The eyes must take the place of our facial expressions in order to communicate basic emotional responses. Because of this, are we learning to disarm the barriers we have erected? So that we can communicate more clearly with our eyes? Are we being forced to really look into the eyes of others in a way that we have habitually not as we became socialized? I’m enjoying observing the eyes of others more deeply these days. They have so much to say.

The Fleece

As I put on my claret-colored fleece and zip it up, I instantly feel warm and comforted. I appreciate this article of clothing for its beauty, durability, and symbolism. I have no other clothing quite the color of it, so it feels unique. I bought it many years ago when it felt like an extremely extravagant purchase. I was in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho on a hiking trip with my best friend. I saw it in a small coffee shop with a sideline of hiking apparel and instantly wanted it. But I didn’t think I could spare the money nor did I think I deserved it. I was a single mom with little extra cash and the hiking trip was already a stretch for my budget.

How dare I buy this beautiful fleece for myself? My friend, who understand my predicament and knew how hard it was for me to do so, urged me, in the most loving way, to consider making this a gift for myself. Thankfully I was convinced and this fleece has accompanied me on many other adventures through the years. There is still a moment when I remember the loving kindness from my friend, each time I slip it on.

Wishing you the very best holiday season!

Sheila Peters helps clients and students regain their natural flow of energy and increase wellness through techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine, shamanic practices, reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, intuition/channeling and movement. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2021 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

My Covid Vaccine Experience

Initially, I had misgivings about the Covid vaccine. Usually, I don’t get the recommended yearly flu and pneumonia vaccines. However, I am grateful that I was given all my childhood shots and that I had the polio vaccine as a child. I am not an anti-vaxxer but I do think there are many shots that are unnecessary. That being said, I’ve had serious illnesses and operations in my life and believe that antibiotics and other medical interventions have saved my life several times. When my children were growing up, they had their required shots although I thought long and hard about agreeing to any extra voluntary inoculations.

I think a strong immune system bolstered by nutritious food, adequate sleep, plenty of exercise, supplemental vitamins and minerals, a positive home life, and the opportunity to be outdoors, is our most fundamental building block towards physical health. But accidents happen and pandemics occur and they are certainly not under our individual control.

When Covid came along, I quickly began to isolate myself, used masks when I encountered anyone not in my bubble, and maintained social distancing. I rarely went to stores, never ate out, or went to events. When my bubble members went back to schools and jobs, I only saw them occasionally and outdoors, masked, and socially distanced. That meant that I did not see some family members for a long, long time. I utilized social media, technology, and video chatting as a way to interact and converse with the people I cared about. As the newer Covid variants came into being, I isolated even more strictly. My big weekly outing was to take my recyclables and trash to the town dump.

I read all I could about the vaccines being developed and worried about the rapid approvals of several companies’ products. I didn’t want to be a guinea pig, was concerned about the quality of ingredients and the integrity of the companies producing the vaccines, and feared the idea of choice being taken away by governmental decree. Yet, I also wanted to be able to hug my grandchildren, travel, and conduct my own business again in person. Furthermore, I wanted to believe that humanity could actually come together and produce a vaccine that would help others to avoid severe chronic conditions as a result of this pandemic or, in the worst case, die. Despite the extreme divisiveness that our country has experienced in terms of politics these last years, I think our commonalities supersede our differences.

I watched as some friends espoused the evils of the health industry and “brainwashing” and others were in lock step agreement with each and every new announcement, sometimes conflicting, that came from the CDC. For a long while, I didn’t have to make a decision about whether to receive the vaccine because I was not in one of the cohorts that were eligible. When I finally was, I had to face my fears and hopes quickly.

With the advent of 65 years + being added to the groups that could get a vaccine, I had to make a decision. It seemed to be a scramble to even get an appointment. The state’s website crashed almost immediately upon the moment of opening up to my cohort and stayed crashed for a long time. Despite all that, the drive to come out of my extreme isolation and interact with family, friends, and clients overcame my reluctance. With the concerted effort of my son and daughter-in-law, who work remotely at home, I was able to obtain a timed appointment at a large vaccination facility about an hour from my home. I was apprehensive about driving there, negotiating the process, and essentially surviving the whole experience. It didn’t help that there was a storm predicted for that day with a wintry mix.

I realized that I had truly become hermit like. I was afraid to go out into the wider world. I had become somewhat infantilized, needing the comfort of home and hearth, scared to emerge into a wider environment. This was totally unlike my normally independent and adventurous self. During isolation, my world had become exceedingly small and I was apprehensive to experience the bigger picture.

I had to gird my loins to get in the car and drive in the wintry mix to an unknown destination. My hands and feet were ice cold, not from the outside temperature but from my fear. I had done all I knew to do to mitigate the feeling of anxiety but still it was there. Part of the distress was having to be utterly alone in this journey. I had to drum up the feeling of courage that had been buried deep under the months of isolation.

The vaccination site was well organized from the signage on the highway though parking and following directives in terms of registration; the vaccination process itself; and setting up the follow up vaccine. I emerged from the building knowing I had an hour’s drive at commuting time in rotten weather but I felt surprisingly victorious! My world had opened up! I rediscovered my ability to interact with others outside of my hermit like existence. I was, again, an adult not only in age but also in spirit.

The next day, I had a slight headache and my inoculated arm was somewhat sore. Those were things I could easily offset. By far, the greatest gift about this whole experience was the fact I was opening up to possibilities. I had regained a sense of self that somehow had been lost during all those months of isolation. My future was not small and curtailed. I could dream, again, about new adventures and journeys. While I might need to wait to play out some of these dreams, I now had the courage and determination to make these possibilities become real. My world had enlarged.

Sheila Peters helps clients and students regain their natural flow of energy and increase wellness through techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine, shamanic practices, reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, intuition/channeling and movement. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

© 2021 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.