I have decided to get back to my spiritual self and try a total of 5 exercises that were suggested, which is to help me identify what nurtures my soul and how to continue to nurture my soul.  The first of the exercises entails listing at least 8 of the most poignant moments in my life, good or bad, as even pain can touch the soul to the core, so while this may take some time, and multiple entries,  I can’t move forward if I do not put one foot in front of the other and take the leap.

1. Michael, whom I called my best friend in Kindergarten, moved to another city in 1st grade, sent a letter to me after he moved, and when our family moved to another state, my mother tried to help me locate him before we left.  Even though I was so young, I felt such a deep connection with him and could honestly say that I loved him.  The letter he wrote to me is still to this day, 27 or so years later, burned into my brain and I can see it in my mind as if it was on paper in front of me.  My experiences with Michael brought me profound happiness, serenity, loss, grief, and even a sense of betrayal when I never heard from him again, even after I replied to his letter to me.

2. My first experience of physical abuse, and each experience of physical and emotional abuse from that point on that spans a total of 27 years or so.  I could not understand it, but I know I felt such humiliation and an overwhelming loss of my sense self that I swore I would never do that to my children.

3. Camping, fishing, and canoeing with my family every summer in California and Wenatchee, WA.  I felt the most serene during these times and felt connected as a family.

4. White water rafting with my mom and brother one summer when I was about 9 or 10.  It was exhilarating, terrifying, and something I will never forget and hope to do again sometime.

5. Picking out a Christmas tree every winter and cutting it down ourselves.  The most memorable of these times was when we picked a tree out when I was about 13 and after we cut it down with a little hack saw because we didn’t have a chain saw, we got it home only to realize that it was too tall to fit into our house.  We cut the top off the tree and ended up with 2 Christmas trees that year.

6. Moving from Sumner, WA to Lewisville, TX when I was 14.  That was a very painful move but it was poignant in the fact I was able to see my mother make a very hard decision on where to be transferred to for her career based on what was best, in her opinion at the time, for her children, more so than where she wanted to go.

7. A family trip to Puerto Vallarta when I was about 11 or 12.  I experienced a whole new culture and thought I saw my mother happy for the first time in a long time, even in the face of my sister being extremely ill after drinking/using the local water when brushing her teeth.

8. The day I met my, now, ex-husband.  I felt empowered enough to suggest doing something I had not normally done with anyone by inviting him to come back to spend time with me after a party I hosted had ended.  It was a sensual night that led to something both deeply emotional and deeply painful while containing some of the most spiritual moments I have ever encountered during sex.  If it were not for meeting my ex-husband and throwing caution to the wind, I question whether I would have had so many soul touching moments as I have had, both good and bad.

9. The planning of my wedding, in addition to my wedding day.  It touched my soul to see my ex-husband take so much care in helping with the planning, including putting together my wedding veil, and even setting up the reception hall for after the ceremony, all while I simply sat on the sidelines on the day of the wedding.  I was touched so deeply with gratitude for everyone that helped with keeping our costs down, from the music DJ that simply asked for a dance with the bride as payment for services, to the co-worker that made a tiered wedding cake at no charge (which has a hugely funny and ironic story that, in and of itself, was a poignant moment), to the wedding party that helped decorate the church and reception hall, to my ex-husband’s uncle that printed our invitations free of charge as a wedding gift to us, to the 3 family members of mine that showed up, and the couple of close friends of mine that were friends prior to meeting my ex-husband.  The planning and day of the wedding left me feeling completely humbled and appreciative of every small thing in life, along with learning how to laugh at even the cake that had icing melting off the cake and a tier fall because we got married on the hottest day of the entire year.  That cake, while it ended up being one of the ugliest things I have ever seen after laughing about how it was just too darn hot for it to be perfect and thanking the cake maker, while trying to reassure her of absolutely no hard feelings or disappointments about the impending disaster cake, was the best tasting cake I have ever had…and I swear I have yet to taste a better tasting wedding cake to this day.

I am sure I will add more to this list, as I have not even discussed the deeply touching moments related to my children and friends of adulthood yet, let alone some of the accomplishments and passions I have, and I cannot wait to continue adding to this list.