holidays

Best of 2018 by Traci L. Slatton
5 star review | beauty | excellence | gratitude | happiness | holidays | love | seasons greetings

Best of 2018 by Traci L. Slatton

Best of 2018

2018 was a helluva year. This is my personal, highly idiosyncratic take on the Best of 2018. I hope you enjoy the list and I hope it inspires you.

Best Movie: A Star Is Born. I cried like a baby at the end. Love always contains loss, love and loss nest inside each other like Russian matryoshka dolls. And how great was the music?

Best Book I read: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, PhD. This was a tough choice, I read a lot of great books. I’ll mention Jordan Peterson‘s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos; The Coddling of the American Mind; John Medina’s Brain Rules; and Scott AdamsWin Bigly. Oh, and I’ve been working my way through Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. In the end, I chose the book that resonated most deeply for the way of the human heart. Dr. Gottman’s work is amazing, and he rocks!

Best Song: Shallow, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I mean, right?!?!

Best TV Show: The Big Bang Theory. I’m binge-watching. I keep plunking down the $ on Amazon Prime for each season. It just makes me happy to snuggle up with my husband at night and watch a few episodes–giggling at my own inner nerd as much as at Sheldon, Leonard, and the gang. “Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery…”

Best Place to Visit: The Dolomites. A world heritage site. Awe-inspiring grandeur. And after a day of hiking up and down the mountains, you get to eat Italian food! How great is that?

Best Restaurant in Manhattan: The Fairway Cafe. The service is spotty, the noise rattles the windows, and the food is tasty. Go for the yummy eats, not the ambiance. It’s New York for New Yorkers.

Best Yoga Studio in NYC: Yogaworks UWS. Thoughtful teachers, a caring community. Alas, it closed at the end of November. I miss it.

Cutest Grandson: Mine. ❤️

Marriage and Family are Real: Marriage and Family are Love
beauty | gratitude | happiness | healing | history | holidays | hope | kindness | love | marriage | maturity | missing people | redemption | Sabin Howard | Sabin Howard sculpture | sex | special | spiritual teachings | vulnerability | wholeness | WW1 Memorial

Marriage and Family are Real: Marriage and Family are Love

Marriage and Family are Real: Marriage and Family are Love

(reprise of a Facebook Post I wrote)Marriage and Family are Real Sabin Howard Traci Slatton

 

Marriage

This is our family. We’ve gone to see the Tree at the Met for nearly 2 decades.
It’s love. Family is love, and it is everything. Family is real.
Family radiates from a marriage. Marriage is love, and it is everything. Marriage is real. Imperfect, unglamorous, full of laughter and tears: real.
Sabin and I have been married for 13 years, together for almost 18. We’ve stood beside each other, holding hands and enjoying holiday uplift, for nearly 2 decades.
Marriages are built on such things: trips to the Met and to Italy and to the pediatrician and to the kitchen to cook breakfast; shared jokes and shared Figurative Sculpture books and shared victories and shared burdens and, yes, shared challenges. Every life encounters conflict and obstacle, ache and loss. These are real, too. And they are so much easier to bear with your family, your mate, holding your hand–as Sabin and I have held hands for nearly two decades.
We’ve held hands through lean times and good times, through sickness and health, through the birth of our daughter, when I died twice and was narrowly revived by a doctor who had “never seen so much blood in her life.” We held hands and held each other in a spacious room in Venice while the rain pattered on the canal during our 10th anniversary.
Even though this year, 2017, has been so hard, forcing a lengthy and devastating separation, I affirm our marriage. Marriage is 1000 tiny threads that bind people together, and those threads are shared experiences. I affirm our threads. I affirm our marriage. Sabin Howard, I love you.

Marriage and Family are Real

Marriage and Family are Real

Myers-Briggs Personality Test
friends | happiness | healing | holidays | kindness | language | life model | mind-body connection | special

Myers-Briggs Personality Test

My lovely stepdaughter Julia entertained us over a lazy, happy Christmas morning by administering the Myers-Briggs Personality test to all of us.

It didn’t work so well for my 9-and-a-half-year old. Some of the questions didn’t apply. As she put it, “How do I know if I’m soothed by a solitary walk? I’ve never walked anywhere by myself.”

Otherwise, the test was spot on. It turns out I am an INFJ, a diplomat type. I’m not sure I’d call myself a ‘diplomat,’ but the lengthy description otherwise fit me very well indeed.

The career paths for INFJs on the website 16personalities.com was especially pertinent:

INFJs often pursue expressive careers such as writing, elegant communicators that they are, and author many popular blogs, stories and screenplays. Music, photography, design and art are viable options too, and they all can focus on deeper themes of personal growth, morality and spirituality.

INFJ strengths are their creativity and their insight, their ability to be convincing, inspiring, and decisive, and their passion, determination, and altruism.

INFJ weaknesses are their sensitivity and perfectionism, their deep seated need for privacy, their need to have a cause, and the way they can burn out easily.–But I have discovered that when I burn out, I can still be productive by cleaning and organizing something, like my awesomely messy desk or my office with its piles and stacks of books.

My husband tested as an INTJ, and the description was jaw-droppingly accurate. Maybe they interviewed him before defining this type? He certainly has a strategic, imaginative mind and high self confidence, and he is determined, hard-working, decisive, judgmental, analytical, and sometimes arrogant.

I laughed out loud when I saw “Rules, limitations, and traditions are anathema to the INTJ personality type…” and INTJs are “Clueless in romance.” I could only nod and grin when I read,

A paradox to most observers, INTJs are able to live by glaring contradictions that nonetheless make perfect sense – at least from a purely rational perspective. For example, INTJs are simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, a seemingly impossible conflict. 

My stepdaughter says that the test is based on Carl Jung’s original personality types as interpreted by Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, and I took it as a sign that my recent interest in the Carl Jung Institute in Zurich is well-founded.

Briggs Personality Test

Guru Purnima
holidays | spiritual teachings

Guru Purnima

Guru Purnima

I enjoy the holidays of many religions. Today July 3 was Guru Purnima, the day of celebrating divine teachers. The word “Guru” breaks down into “Gu” darkness and “Ru” dispel, eliminate. So this day is a day to honor the teachers who bring divine light to dispel ignorance.

Many teachers throughout the years have blessed me with their wisdom and light. To all of them I say: Thank you. To my teachers both in and out of the diverse schools I’ve attended: Thank you. My life is richer and brighter because of all those beings who have graciously shared their light with me.

Thank you also to the wonderful Komilla Sutton who has guided me in mantras and jyotish. I recommend her heartily.

 

Shivaratri & Lincoln’s Birthday: February 12
beauty | gratitude | happiness | healing | holidays | hope | kindness

Shivaratri & Lincoln’s Birthday: February 12


Shivaratri

I follow the Hindu festivals, much as I observe the Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas. Any excuse to pray and meditate! Any pretext for bringing myself into the Presence of this moment! The cycle of holidays through the year elevates human life, takes us out of the pedestrian and provokes reflection.

So today, Feb 12, is a collision of Shiva’s Great Night (Shivaratri) and his wedding to Parvati with Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Shiva is the god of dissolution, the one in whom the Universe sleeps after destruction and before the next cycle of creation. Abraham Lincoln is the president who dissolved the bonds of slavery. Lincoln was forced to use the destruction of war to do it, which weighed heavily on his heart. What he wanted was for all individuals to have equal dignity of prerogative.
So this, for me, is a day to reflect on emptiness and compassion, freedom and justice, union and choice.
Ho’oponopono and Happy New Year
gratitude | healing | holidays | spiritual teachings

Ho’oponopono and Happy New Year

ho'oponopono

As a spiritual seeker, I welcome these qualities of gratitude, reverence, rectification, and transmutation that arise from the prayer/meditation of Ho’oponopono cleansing: “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” I’m working with this technique, which has come recently into mass consciousness. It reminds me of the Lord’s Prayer, another tool of reverence, gratitude, rectification, and transmutation. Or the Om Tryambakam, which has a similar sensibility. Or the Amidah in the Shabbat liturgy. Good stuff.

And Happy New Year to any who come upon this blog. May 2009 bring you joy, peace, love, beauty, good health, friendship, prosperity, and all the sweetness and more that your heart can absorb. My best wishes to You and Your loved ones. I honor the God that You are.