2014 was my year of acceptance. It began with this classic book by Tara Brach Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha.
Turning fifty in March was an act of acceptance that couldn’t be denied. I celebrated with a pizza party at Adobe Books in San Francisco. Surrounded by friends from all over the Bay Area I felt for the first time that I belonged here.
Finishing twelve quilts for The Improv Handbook photo shoot in April required acceptance. Sometimes I wanted to do them over because I felt they could be better, but instead I had no choice but to accept all outcomes and move forward.
In July my book went to the printer to be born. Mostly I loved it but even after four revisions, the perfectionist in me still yearned to make improvements. Instead I came to terms with any “mistakes” and celebrated it’s completion.
My trip to France in August was nothing like I expected. As my original plans began to fall apart my vacation became dire until an elegant french woman befriended me on the beach in Brittany, took me to all the local sites, and invited me for lunches of fresh mussels, and lamb cutlets. The last minute solo trip through Paris yielded an unexpected innocent romance that sprouted in the Jardin du Luxembourg and flowered for three nights under the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower!
Relationships in my quilts and in life often didn’t turn out the way I imagined or hoped. A couple of romantic relationships this year, turned out to be disasters of sorts, but in the end it was all okay. I have no regrets.
Three days after my return from Europe and an hour after one of these romantic relationships ended, I found out my brother-in-law killed himself. It was so hard and painful to accept this, but his death –this loss to my sister, nieces and nephews and to our whole family– was inescapable. At first I was angry at him and subsequently down on my own life quite a bit. BUT as I thought more about how much he suffered something shifted internally. His death became a sacrifice compelling me, even demanding me to accept everything in my life as it is now, otherwise I might as well end it all. What is the point if we can’t accept the blessing of all that life is, including the good as well as the bad, the triumphs and the failures. (And let me add – I did have plenty of amazing triumphs this year. I’m especially thrilled by all the opportunities I’ve had to teach, speak and share my knowledge and process with other quilt makers across the country.)
His death liberated me from the burden of self-pity, regret and non-acceptance. For that I am eternally grateful – for the gift of his precious life and his death. This doesn’t erase my deep sorrow, only that with tragic loss there comes a blessing… the silver lining of vulnerability — of compassion, tenderness, patience, kindness, and love.
All in all it was a great year for me. Filled with accomplishments and maturity. I’m excited to see where this new found embrace of everything in my life will take me – and how it will manifest in my patchwork!