2020 - December - Gazette - Pieces of Me

By: Jackie Naginey Hook
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Pieces of Me

When our son was little, the two of us had a nightly practice called “Most Grateful, Least Grateful.” As I helped him settle into bed, we would both think through our day and share one thing for which we were most grateful, one thing for which we were least grateful, and what that most grateful or least grateful thing invited us to do. For example, I may have shared about being most grateful for a moment of looking deep into one of our kids’ eyes, least grateful for something I said out of frustration, and that frustration invited me to be present more often. Then he would share his most grateful and least grateful things, and what invitation he felt.

On some nights, our son would look at me after sharing his least grateful item and ask, “Can I let go of that now?” To which I would reply, “Yes,” and immediately I could see his whole body relax as he drifted off to sleep. This practice was significant for both my son and I and it continued for many years. 

I’ve been thinking about this routine a lot lately as we end 2020 and begin 2021. I find myself bothered by commercials, articles, news reports, etc., that label this year with words such as “tough,” “difficult” and “unprecedented.” By using these labels, they are categorizing this year in a way that disregards it so we don’t have to claim the hard parts. When our focus is on labeling it in a negative way and writing it off, then we aren’t dealing with all of what it was and is. 2020 has positives, negatives, and invitations for us.

This is certainly not to suggest that 2020 hasn’t been tough, difficult and unprecedented. For some people it’s been horrific, scary, sad and devastating. My desire is that 2021 will bring more light, health and abundance to all. I just don’t want to see us write off 2020 without discerning what we’re most grateful for in it, what we’re least grateful for in it, and what invitations it is offering to us. There are pieces of each of those awaiting us.

The same is true of ourselves. There are pieces of ourselves for which we are most grateful and least grateful and pieces inviting us to do something differently. The opportunity is to welcome all of these pieces and then let go of some we don’t want.

When I was on a day-long vision quest a few years ago, I stayed in a small 20-foot by 20-foot plot in the woods of North Carolina. There were four trees that marked the boundaries for my square space. One thing I kept noticing during my quiet, contemplative time was a tree outside my area with a poison ivy vine growing on it. I was initially glad that the poison wasn’t a part of my happy little home. But in time, I felt like it belonged too. That didn’t mean I went over and hugged it. It meant I welcomed it as a part of my world, and if I had stayed longer I might have started curbing its growth and size.

I hope we do the same thing with 2020 as we move into 2021. Welcome all of its pieces. Those we appreciate, those we don’t, and those that are calling us to transform, possibly by letting go.

Welcoming all of our pieces is important to do when we’re grieving the loss of a loved one too. Sadness, anger, depression, fear to name a few. You’re invited to read more about our January theme of “Pieces of Me” on the Koch Funeral Home blog and attend the following gatherings:   

  • Monday’s Moments Virtual Gathering for Those Who Have Lost a Loved One, January 4 and February 1 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. These are educational and support gatherings where we come together, learn a little about the grief journey, support one another and see that we are not alone.
     
  • Virtual Death Café, Mondays, January 18 and February 15 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. These are times to talk about death in order to live fully now. We have no themes or agendas and discuss topics generated by the group. This is not a grief support or counseling session.

For more information, please visit the Bereavement Gatherings and Events page on the Koch Funeral Home website. To reserve your spot and receive the invitation links, email Jackie@JackieHook.com, call 814-404-0546 or visit the Koch Funeral Home Facebook page @kochFH.

In some monastic communities, they end their days by saying, “What’s done is done. What’s not is not. Let it be.” I wish you restful nights accepting that truth and full days living most grateful and least grateful moments and following invitations to make our world a better place. 

Jackie Naginey Hook, MA, is a spiritual director, celebrant and end-of-life doula.  She coordinates the Helping Grieving Hearts Heal program through Koch Funeral Home in State College.  For more information, please call 814-237-2712 or visit www.kochfuneralhome.com.

           

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