The Cloud with the Golden Lining; Reflecting on 2019

At the beginning of each new year, I often wonder what the headlines will be. I also wonder what changes with come about in my own life.

I started 2019 with the determination to free myself of anti-depressants, which, if you’ve been following my story, led me to crash miserably in April with awful withdrawals and anxiety beginning in April.

It wasn’t until about June I began to feel somewhat “normal” again, and I decided what I needed was to meet new people and make new friends. Most of the friends I have made were due to jobs I’ve had, and now that Dave and I don’t work anymore, my social life was dwindling. So I joined 3 groups and in so doing, met some incredibly wonderful people! In no particular order, the groups are:

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I checked out “social women’s groups” on Meetup.com, and discovered the Hagerstown Friendship Circle, created by the lovely lady on the right in the above photo. She was new to the area and wanted to meet people, so I joined and although I haven’t attended all every event and activity, I’m happy to have met and befriended the ladies in this group!

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Last summer it occurred to me I was finally old enough to join the Red Hat Society! I searched online for a local chapter, and when I couldn’t find one, I called the RHS Headquarters, who told me if I joined, I could search their site for local chapters.

So that’s what I did.

Turns out a new chapter was just forming in Williamsport, a nearby town. This welcoming group of ladies were another much-needed shot in the arm, so to speak. I even volunteered to be the Secretary! Red Hatters traditionally wear purple, which works out for me since I LOVE purple and have LOTS of it in my wardrobe!

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Last but certainly not least, there’s SGI !

A concerned distant cousin, upon seeing the state I was in earlier this year, declared, “I’m going to find you a local chanting group!”

OK, I thought. Whatever THAT means….

True to her word, she got me in contact with Kathy (far right, on the floor in above photo), a member of this Nichiren Buddhist organization. Having only a slight familiarity with Tibetan Buddhism, I had never heard of Nichiren and SGI, and was curious.

I attending a chanting session, and it was unlike anything I’d experienced before. They meet in members’ homes, and only about 5-6 members attended my first time. I didn’t sense any cultish “weirdness,” just genuine friendliness and sincerity. I kept going to meetings and officially joined SGI in August, which officially, technically, makes me a Nichiren Buddhist! But the great thing about Nichiren Buddhism is, I don’t have to sacrifice my spiritual eclecticism! I’ve always seen the commonalities in belief systems and I see chanting as simply another form of prayer.

So 2019 didn’t quite go as expected; in fact, it went BETTER than expected! My life is clearly as cyclical as lunar phases. The difficult times, hellish as they can be, always leave me stronger and happier than before, and this year the dark cloud’s lining wasn’t silver; it was pure gold.

 

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