I have been writing and rewriting in my head what I wanted to say in this week’s blog. I mean we are full on into the holiday frenzy -- and usually I write about how overwhelmed I am with all the demands of the season, and how I’m hoping to get everything done. 

That is really not the case this year. I am so completely in the now that I have not even thought ahead to later this week. I am not sure if it is age, or my circle or some sort of weird moon stage, but there is just so much sadness, fear, sickness and pain around me right now. Not just around me exactly, but with so many people I know and love. Is cancer more prevalent?  Am I just getting older? The holidays are supposed to be a happy, festive time -- with family and bright packages and surprises and laughter. I am finding instead all around and connected to me, many who are challenged with health issues, either themselves or those close to them. Mental and physical illness, death, aging, hurt and sadness. This may sound like I am terribly depressed, and yes I am sad, but I am also finding myself incredibly thankful. Somehow in this crazy time I have achieved some level of mindfulness. How did this happen?  I do not have any secrets to share about this, only appreciation in the ability today to be in the here and now, and to be grateful.  

One of my favorite actors, Bill Murray, was asked recently about his reputation as the master of celebrity encounters, and why he has a reputation for dropping in on bachelor parties, birthday parties and conversations with strangers all over the globe. "No one has an easy life," he says. "It's this face we put on, that we're not all getting rained on.”

Our nonprofit partners across the state are working with people and issues that are tough and challenging and overwhelming.  All of us are living through issues that challenge and call on us to be strong and resilient.

This holiday season I am focusing on the today -- and relishing all the moments of time. I am giving myself the gift of living in today and offering my compassion to those around me.

All that glitters during this holiday season does not mask the challenges that we all face. But maybe, just maybe, it reminds us there is hope and to be thankful for the gifts of living in the now.

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