"For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes." - Dag Hammarskjold

Sunday, December 15, 2013

celebrating lives greatly full :: traci mclean...

Traci McLean is one of those women whose smile and eyes grab you from the get-go.  And that voice... sigh. I first met her in 2009.  She was the "new girlfriend" at a family gathering and, having gone through that same experience many (many!) years ago, I was drawn to her immediately. We bonded over that shared experience and have gone on to discover that we have so much more in common.  She is a talented writer and professional vocalist based in Toronto, Ontario.

Traci has been so supportive of *the gratitude project: dare to be grateful* and our conversations over the past year hinted at a deeply felt gratitude of her own.  And so, when I invited her to share that gratitude in this space, she enthusiastically agreed. 

I feel blessed to have her in my life.  Wish you lived closer, my friend...

What Personal Quality Are You Most Grateful For and Why?
In some ways, I’ve been a late bloomer my whole life. It’s not something I’ve ever taken much note of, except in grade 8 when I got teased for still climbing trees and not wearing makeup. Hey… I had multiple flavours of “Lip Smackers” on the go (Mom said clear lip gloss only) and I still climb trees. I just no longer care if people find it strange. The joy of sitting in a tree far outweighs the opinions of others.

I also think I’ve been slow to fully acknowledge my true strengths.  As I looked at what qualities I appreciate about myself, I became grateful for the exercise of answering this question.
I discovered I’m grateful for:

my courage:  I was repeatedly tossed into some very dark places for over a decade and despite fears that I’d lost myself at times, in the end, I emerged stronger than ever – with deep gratitude for the family and friends who stood by me
my playfulness:  I love to play, to laugh, to explore, create, adventure, be silly, go on all the rides, try new things and a beautiful carousel will make me cry.  I’m grateful for the people in my life who love the kid in me and join me in play.

my determination:  I don’t give up easily. I possess a tenacity of mind/heart over matter for which I owe great gratitude to the teachers and mentors who I trained with spiritually, in meditation/communication practice.
my love:  I love my family, friends  and pets deeply and fiercely with an “I’ve got your back” type of honour. I am so grateful to my beautiful parents for teaching me this type of love and demonstrating it so very well. 

my optimism:  I’ve been affectionately teased my whole life about my rose-coloured glasses, my silver lining, my boundless, eternal optimism. My Mom says I was just born like that and my nephew is the same. I am beyond grateful for this quality. In itself, it has been the silver lining during the darkest of days.
But then… as I wound my way through these grateful moments trying to pick  one,  I realized that, most of all, I’m grateful for the way that I’ve grown - to be willing to openly share what I like about me. To share just as it is, without fear about the opinions of others and the societal need to place people in an appropriate box. I don’t fit in a box… and I’m happy with the awkward, wandering parts that make it so.

Though this path to acceptance of self has been lit by a lifetime of experiences, wonderful friends and family I must share that it was greatly accelerated when I met the love of my life, 5 years ago. Late bloomer, remember? He sees me for who I am. He sees me in ways that surprise me sometimes. Being loved and celebrated by him at my best and at my worst has been a true catalyst that allows me to more safely step forward into fully being who I am.  
Gratitude overload reached… signing off now.

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