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Finding Calm in the Chaos

I’m sitting at the Ratskeller, enjoying the IWCS Holiday dinner with many wonderful women.  It’s loud, full of our chatter and laughter.  One of these wonderful women is a lovely Russian-Austrian woman I am meeting for the first time.  Her bright aqua scarf brings out her eyes.  She is a long time Stuttgart resident (over 40 years I believe she said).  She has lived in many places.  Vienna is her favorite of these.  I’m not sure of her exact age, but as we are chatting I am lamenting finally breaking down and having to buy my first pair of “old lady reading glasses” with one of the other women at our table, and so she then shares with us the “joys” of aging in each decade.  She stopped with how things are in your 80’s.  So I can only guess, but if she is in her 80’s then I hope to look as good as she does when I get there (God willing).   Dinner comes, gift exchange fun ensues, and then dessert is delivered.  I’m stuffed.  Dessert is good, but I am full and don’t finish it.  My new friend asks me if I don’t like it.  I say it is very good, but I am so full.  She shakes her head and says, “Ahhh…you’ve never known real hunger”.  This comment hits me with such force as I think of what she has probably seen in her lifetime.  She is right.  I have never known the kind of hunger I suspect she is talking about based on the history I’ve gained a deeper understanding of living here.  It is humbling.  All of a sudden the worries I’ve been stressing over seem petty.  I have a profound sense of “all is ok”.  I am reminded of what is truly important.  I am reminded of all that I have handled and accomplished, and know that I am capable of handling whatever comes my way.  And I pray that I never have to face real hunger and suffering.  I am incredibly grateful for all that I am blessed with.
This can be an incredibly wonderful, fun time of year.  It can also be a stressful time of year for us.  It's a time of reflection.  It's a time of planning for the new year ahead.  It's a time when we miss loved ones that are no longer with us.  A time to remember to breathe, to celebrate, to remember what is most important to us, to acknowledge all that you've accomplished, and to remember...   
All shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well.
~Dame Julian of Norwich 
I would love to hear what grounds and calms you when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
I wish you much love, health, wealth & happiness.  Hope you are having a wonderful Holiday Season!