I started these vignettes on November 10, 2020.
I wrote them daily up until December 31, 2020. (I wrote the 49th one on that day.)
Vignette 50 and 51 were posted on July 2 and July 3, 2021 as I began another creative journey (100 Day Project – 100 Days of writing and drawing called “Mujeres del alma mia“ on Instagram) which also fell short by a few days.
When did I stop finishing my creative projects?
It was the 100 Love Notes Project that messed me up. I began them on my 38th birthday in 2016. That summer we said goodbye to our life in Toronto and it was one of the most emotionally challenging times of my life.
I haven’t read those notes since I posted them… until today.
On the first note, I quoted Rumi’s poem, The Guest House, as I wrote a love note to myself.
Sorrow prepares you for joy.
Ain’t that the truth. Looking back, I realize that only me from today could have reassured me from the past that the sorrow that overwhelmed me was preparing me for the overwhelming joy I feel at 43.
I also wrote about encountering three miracles that day:
1. My daughter sent her flight info to us and is not returning on July 29 as we had thought. She is returning on July 28 which means we can say one last goodbye to the house as a family.
2. My friend, Ulrike, commented on an old post of mine, expressing gratitude for having this blog as a reference.
3. And the third miracle is that I found my Book of Hours.https://rozannelopez.com/a-birthday-a-100-day-project/
A quick aside: SInce 2007, I have chosen a word every year to keep an intention and commitment to myself. I was inspired by an old scrapbooking hero of mine, Ali Edwards, who first introduced this concept to me. You can read my most recent word choices here, including my curious choice of a word for 2020 (pre-pandemic) which proved to be the most amazing choice so far.
Back to miracles…coincidentally, for 2021, I chose the world “MIRACLE.” I failed to understand that a miracle comes when all else fails and you try many solutions and only when you are hanging on with the last ounce of energy, are you saved.
It was that kind of year.
Now looking back at my 2016 list of small miracles and my unfinished love note project, I realize that I became afraid to cross the finish line, often retreating back to the start. I was afraid of closing because that meant painful goodbyes. I made excuses about being ok with an “unfinished life” and “continuous progress.” Five years later, I realize that not only are endings are necessary, but fulfilling commitments to oneself and to others allow for miraculous openings.
While the list of miracles for 2021 are extensive and surprising, I will talk about three recent miracles that directly relate to the three from 2016:
- I look back on the sorrow of saying goodbye to my eldest daughter in 2016 as she moved to Barcelona and we moved to Costa Rica and today, I see how her living here, for now, is indeed a freaking miracle.
2. Posting here today to finish my 52 Vignettes. Coming to this blog is always bittersweet. I miss writing here but it also reminds me of all the writing I haven’t done in the last few years. But like an old friend that you feel guilty not making the effort to contact (I have a lot of those since moving to Costa Rica), I try to re-introduce myself.
3. I found my Book of Hours. The original…and I turned to this page:
I also reviewed the corresponding blog post for this page. I wrote:
I was reminded of Henry Miller’s essay entitled, “Stand Still like the Hummingbird.”
He writes that ““either you take in believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird” and that “the greatest miracle is the discovery that all is miraculous.”
As I have touched every object, deliberating whether to keep or discard, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude. I have been in awe of the story of our lives and the countless miracles that led us right here. Looking back, there were miracles that were disguised as major disappointments, losses, and failures – lost bids on homes, failing to get into schools, and even a death in the family. Without these experiences, we would not be in this home.
I have come to understand, through this tidying process, that our home is a miracle.
This home where I have spent the last three days getting to know again and loving it as the eighth member of our family.
Henry Miller also writes, “and the nature of the miraculous is – utter simplicity.”
Living simply, asking ourselves what is serving us here and now without clinging to a past that can’t be changed or in complete anticipation of a future that doesn’t exist, is living miraculously.
The definition of a miracle that has guided me this year was “object of wonder.” Today I take my own advice as I cross this imagined finish line at the end of 2021, with plenty of other things left unfinished, touching each object of wonder that has led me here, a life of celebrating simple joys born out of sorrow.