This last week was incredible. I had the opportunity to connect with friends and family in person. There is something magical about getting together and sharing a meal, a meditation, a walk, a story. It is incredible when the experience fuels your soul and fills your cup. I was blessed to have several energizing interactions this week. I was able to connect with my family and meet new people.
It started with an impromptu birthday party. I invited my sister over to celebrate her birthday, but I did not think she would accept. Carol did not inherit my social gene and will usually decline my invitations. I was excited that she said yes! It was too hot for pumpkin spice lattes, but we did have pumpkin pie for dessert.
With temps in the nineties, Todd broke out the Weber to grill. We made some family favorites to go with the grilled meat. We had a wonderful afternoon by the pool. I cannot remember the last time my sister visited. My niece, Tori, came with her. Tori and Justin chatted about all things video games. Carol and I took Emily swimming. My long-time friend (and Emily’s Godmother), Pam, came over too. It was great to just hang out with the family and celebrate another year with my sister.
Later in the week I scheduled a meet-up with a friend from Clubhouse. I met Munirah in The Pause Breathe Reflect room. I joined the club in April and have been meditating there since. I had no idea the impact this community would have on my life. I began meditating two years ago to help me fall asleep. The intentional meditations that happen several times each day in Clubhouse have helped me expand my practice. I now meditate throughout the day and look forward to meditating live on the app with my friends. This community is incredible. The support of many of these individuals beyond the room is indescribable. They message me and lift me up when I am down. We do not share the same beliefs, religion, politics, views, but we take the time to learn from each other. We value our likeness as well as our differences. I cannot wait to meet so many cherished friends over the next year.
Munirah and I met in Long Beach. We walked, talked, and we shared a meal. The highlight of the day was being on the beach together. We sat by the water and participated in a live Pause Breathe Reflect™ meditation. It was great to spend the day with her energy. She and I were able to share our lives and journey. We learned more about each other. Isn’t that a gift? Getting off the DO train and being fully engaged with another person. Meeting her in person connected us more.
My week of connection culminated on Sunday with another in-person meeting. I got the opportunity to spend the afternoon with two moms that have children with rare genetic disorders. I met up with Effie Parks and Jessica Patay. Both moms are advocates for families raising kids with genetic disorders, health challenges, and unique needs.
Part of my health and wellness journey was to turn off the television. I started to listen to educational and self-development podcasts. I was introduced to Effie Park’s podcast: Once Upon A Gene. She interviews people from all areas of the rare community. Her guests include adults living with rare conditions. Parents with children that have rare diseases. She also talks to doctors, scientists, athletes, and therapists whose mission is to support and educate this community. This podcast opened my eyes to so much I did not know that I did not know. I love learning new things, and I love the community Effie has brought into my life.
I met Jessica through a mutual connection. Jessica is the founder of We Are Brave Together. The mission of this organization is support. They support moms and dads around the world that care for uniquely abled children. I recently became a facilitator for a group in my area. The monthly meetings allow parents to connect with others that understand the unique challenges and struggles they face.
We Are Brave Together also offers affordable weekend retreats where overwhelmed and stressed-out moms can recharge. These weekends only cost $200. There are limited scholarships available if someone cannot afford the cost. The weekends are all about pampering mom in self-care, rest, fun, and connection. It is exciting to watch this organization grow.
Effie lives in Washington and is in California for a few weeks with her son, Ford. He is enrolled in intensive physical therapy that is not available in Washington. I just knew I could not let this opportunity pass me by. I wanted to meet Effie and Ford from the moment I started following their journey. Effie and her family remind me so much of our family when Justin and Emily were little. I had a blast hanging out at their rental house. It was great to play with trucks and learn more about Ford. He is a character. His personality and humor are joyful and contagious.
After a wonderful dinner with Jessica, Effie, and Ford, we said our goodbyes. It was late Sunday evening. I decided to make the drive home in silence. As I drove home in traffic, I reflected on the connections of the week. My cup was full of joy and gratitude.
I am proud of myself for making time to connect this week. I have said before when we say yes to something, we are saying no to something else. This past week I said no to a lot of work. I said no to chores and recurring tasks. There is laundry that did not get washed, unswept floors, medication boxes to fill, but I have no regrets. The memories of this week will outlast any task that went unfinished. On that note, I need to put a load of clothes in the dryer.