Are you in a place of assessing your life, this year, what matters?
Turning into Fall towards Winter, the last days and weeks of this year, I notice a rising reflectiveness. This time brings a natural tendency to review what has come and passed, shown up and stays with us, dreams that are asking to be manifested.
I am not one to set resolutions every January. I seek growth and prefer to set myself up for this rather than accomplishing a set goal to determine how successful I feel. At the start of this year I noticed themes and values that showed up, almost forecasting what I would need to learn and practice. 2018 asked me to see, choose and embody Abundance, Stability + Connection.
This has been one of the most tumultuous and surreal years of my life. Thirty two years on the planet, surviving many periods of challenge, overcoming heartache, healing from illness, rising up after falling, 2018 marks perhaps the most intense and unique. Dealing with a life threatening illness, January 1st I was already intensively receiving support and activating new levels of ambition to show up for myself and heal. My Beau was in the throes of grief and shock, his twin brother leaving the planet in a shocking way in the latter part of 2017. Valentine's Day brought the news that my Dad had taken his own life after battling depression and other difficulties since my, and his, childhood. The lack of stability that came with this news has continued to rock me. The world is forever changed.
As I write, I am sitting here, at a table in a local Starbucks, where I sat with my Dad and Beau, this time a year and a half ago. The connection I can make now looks and feels differently than it did then, I can't hear his laugh or see his conflicted expression, reach across the table and touch his hand or smile at him hugging Kevin. Life is not the same as it was... yet this is what I have. I am recalling the simple yet intelligent conversation we had, listening and engaging intently with one another. It was yet another brief visit from out of town my Dad made. He was notorious for driving hours just to sit and chat and remind me he loved me. I wish he was sitting with me now, facing me in the stool across the table. Instead, he is coursing through my mind and providing a different sense of company. I feel abundant, knowing how thoroughly loved I have been and am, how much intimacy and trust we shared. This is something special.
I intuitively knew at the start of the year that I would need stability in a way I hadn't before. I needed to have my foundation rocked, in the most jarring ways, to really understand what my responsibility and rights are. As a human, a woman, the captain of my ship, I am also surrounded by others who can hold me while I flail. Finding harmony between independence and reliance on others who know me has been a less than eloquent dance. With illness, grief, moving homes numerous times, running a small business and learning the best I could as I went, so much new, the unfamiliar outweighed the situations where I could confidently say "I've got this." My faith took a blow and I found myself walking as if through a dreamscape most of this year. Even in his instability, I found a sense of safety in knowing my Dad was on the planet, praying vigorously, writing voraciously, giving generously and loving fiercely. My body out of equilibrium, my household struggling, business zapping energy, inner criticism and judgment rampant... the equation for stability seemed completely out of reach.
With trial and error, many tears, harsh truth telling and the most dedicated support system I could ever ask for, a new normal started. Tending to simple, the basics of every day, putting some of the big dreams and lofty goals on the shelf for now, became the antidote for a shaky foundation. Coming to see what was most pressing to handle, namely my health in all ways, gave me a road map. I needed stability, peace, simplicity, in order to grow into the next version of me life has in store. Patience and acceptance have been cornerstones to this time of life. I have drawn on these principles and others I know well through recovery work and experience to survive the moments that seem too intense to pass through safely.
My "little" Brother became a Dad this Summer. Seeing him grow into the man I admire, embodying the father archetype with such strength and surety, is something I am proud to witness. He is one of my heroes.
The new role my Mom has to play is hefty. Three adult children, now facing a major loss among many other milestones, relying on her in ways we never have before. The ability to draw close, be candid, share space, create art, honor what is here are blessings of our relationship. I am in awe of how she shows up. My Dad being gone brings up anxiety about her inevitable death, yet more so is the happiness that we have had so much quality time together. Working, living, playing... we've done it all together. In times when the irritation rises, as it naturally will with any close relationship, the gratitude sweeps in gloriously.
The not yet two year old four legged family companion, Sophie, left us unexpectedly this Fall. The joy and laughter she brought is already missed. The loss of her presence has illuminated the other gaps that have come this year and years past. The business I opened with my Beau was closed recently. It became too much, the signs pointed to "shift gears." There is sadness here, and also a knowing that this change is right. Being present with one another, as best we've been able, through life changing and soul crushing experiences has brought us together as it's broken down our foundations. The paradox is ironic, the love is strong. His love for me has exposed where I get to love myself and commit to life in new ways. There is undeniable loss. There is also undeniable gain. Change is a part of life and carries myriad emotions on its sometimes choppy waves.
Connection with myself has been a great challenge and gift 2018 brought. Coming back to me, bringing compassion and care no matter what is going on, has been more difficult than I'd like to say. I guide others in this work, this practice, this lifestyle, and see that the cliche "we teach what we most need to learn" is as true as ever. Through illness, depression, grief, major transitions, reliance on others, scaling down and changing drastically, I need my own love. It has taken piecing self compassion, stillness, and a lot of grace, together in reliable self care practices and newly discovered techniques daily to build a sense of self. Who I am today is not someone I have ever been before. Through hurdles and shock, it's as if I have lost sight of my essence. The gift, I am coming to find, in all of this pain is that I am getting to know myself in ways I haven't ever been able to before.
Having more intimacy with myself has made connecting with what and who matters most possible. Without some of the losses and difficulty, I would not have met some of the angels in human form I get to call on, pray for, say thank you to, share moments with, feel seen by. The world is full of heart centered, generous, gorgeous people. We all have our struggles, our stories, our desires, our downfalls. Being in this thing called life together, finding our tribe, belonging, is something to cherish - and I do.
I synchronistically met a man in the last stages of lung cancer this past season. Knowing his daughter from years back, life somehow saw it fitting that our paths would cross. I am now spending time with him. Irishman, prolific writer, spiritually centered, eclectic, artistic, honest and funny, we are helping each other heal. The future holds what it will... he reminds me that being here now is what we make it, and gratitude, generosity and a smile are always options.
Use these prompts to explore your year:
How has this year brought you closer to yourself?
Where did the divine detour you, both in delightful and drastic ways?
Who showed up with you for changes, challenges and commitment?
What is asking to be felt?
What is ready to be acknowledged?
Where can you release?
I started this year with the request and proclamation for 2018 to be full of Abundance, Stability + Connection. These were guideposts and beacons of light, teachers and values to practice. I am not looking far into the future today. I have a grand vision... don't get me wrong... I just know it's not time to ignite the flame for some of those dreams yet. Self care and healing are priority, simple... The next steps are simple ones. Simple is key to success and satisfaction. Steady and slow, for now, I am allowing reflection to expose truth, provide light, offer insights and soothe me. This is a profound act of self care and respect for life. Get intimate with yourself and see what life delivers to your doorstep...
With Huge Heart,
As an advocate of Reinvention + Recovery, I work with clients to achieve balance, alignment and purpose in all areas