Farewell 2017, Hello 2018
For most of us 2017 was a doozy. Globally, nationally, politically, socially, environmentally, emotionally. Our collective stress was palpable from day to day: in our social media feeds and in our conversations at work and at home. That sort of stress can take root in the body if we let it.
Just when I was feeling most overwhelmed this year, I was given an important reminder by one of my favorite yoga teachers, Rod Stryker:
“When we put all of our attention into the world and expect it to be a source of ever-present stability and peace we will always be disappointed and thrown into turmoil. The teachings are clear: the only thing that is truly stable is the soul… Yoga is the practice which allows us to access it. The instability we experience when we look out into the world has less to do with the world and more to do with the instability inside of us. Our job is to work on ourselves. Furthermore the yoga tradition tells us that the world is unstable precisely to inspire and guide us to turn within and to find a lasting source of peace and joy. In other words, the world may never be perfect, but a part of us is and the more we are in touch with it, the more we will see perfection in the world.”
With this wisdom in mind, I’ll share my love letter to 2017.
You were the year of hard lessons. But though you challenged me more than any other year of my life thus far, I still loved you.
I’m grateful that you pushed me to find the goodness in tragedy. You showed me that grieving evolves with each passing day, and that the people we lose slowly become a part of us.
You reminded me how important it is to breathe. Even if my son’s hand is trapped in an elevator door; even if his school is in lockdown and it’s taking every fiber of my being not to run to him and keep him safe; even if I’m suddenly overwhelmed with grief, feeling the hot sting of tears welling up in my eyes, I must return to my breath. It is the key to peace. It is home. There’s a true power— a superpower even— to remaining calm in the face of the chaos happening all around us. Inhale. Exhale. It's that simple.
You taught me that I must write and write and write about what hurts until it hurts just a little less. I wrote songs, poetry, stories and meditations. I mostly wrote in the darkness, the early morning hours before the sun graced the sky, because that is when I’d hear the stirring from somewhere deep inside my soul.
They say transformation happens in the darkness and that life gives us whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of our consciousness. I guess I needed a dose of darkness to evolve this year. When the lunar eclipse blocked out the sun, I felt energetically unhinged until I realized that I must identify and embrace the darkness in myself and in those I love in order to grow. Slowly I could feel the shifting, the unearthing of my deepest truths.
As for parenting? Parenting continued to be the greatest teacher of love I have ever known. But it was also a teacher of patience, of presence, of surrendering, of humility, of strength, of wisdom, of generosity, and of sacrifice. I spent so many hours with Bodie this year: nursing, cuddling, reading, taking baths, gardening, walking, eating, and talking. He was my little sidekick. In all our time together I reminded myself to be present. I reminded myself that someday I would look back and wish to relive these days again. I reminded myself to feel gratitude for even the hardest of days. Truth be told I faltered many times: yelled when I should have stayed calm; wished some moments away; stumbled through new parenting challenges. But through it all I kept coming back to love. I would remind my son, over and over again, that I loved him. There’s a healing power in apologizing, in admitting your own mistakes to yourself and to others, and moving on.
I’m beyond grateful that 2017 was the year that Rick decided to take his career in a new direction, a direction that would allow for more family time. This was truly a life-altering decision for both of us, and one we did not arrive at lightly. Though leaving the firm after so many years was hard we decided that were ready to spend more time together to heal and grow and reconnect, especially after so much time apart. Life is too short not to spend as much time as possible with the ones you love.
Despite all the hard lessons there was a whole lot of joy this year, too. And the joy felt even more joyful perhaps because it was felt in direct relation to sadness. The lows were low but the highs were equally high. I’m thankful for the simple pleasures of my morning tea (which will forever remind me of Michael), my yoga practice, my quality time with friends and family, snuggles with my boys. I’m thankful 2017 was the year we could show Bodie the magic of the lake house; the fun of a boat ride through the harbor or around the lake; the thrill of a beach day crab hunt; the satisfaction of finding ripe vegetables in the garden and collecting fruit from a tree; the bliss of swinging for hours and hours from a sturdy branch in a summer breeze.
2017 was a year of necessary learning and growth as I tried to find that lasting source of peace within myself. It was and is a journey. But it is in the moments when I am most present— when I feel the warm sun on my skin or really listen to the sweet sound of my son’s giggle or return to my breath— that I feel most alive, most present, most powerful, most at peace.
Is this not what life is all about?
I hope 2018 brings much health, healing, abundance, growth, connection, love, peace and joy to me and to my family and to everyone I know and love.
Happy New Year.