As I have written time and time again, this is my favorite time of year to reflect upon my year and cultivate a sense of openness to what may arrive for my coming year. For the last many years I have used one word as a starting point for the next 365 days. At the end of the year, as I read my journal entries and get quiet in reflection, I am always in awe as to how that single word showed up in my life the past twelves months.
2016 the word was Peace. Let’s just see how it showed up.
January: The beginning of a new year and a new intention.Throughout this month there was deep conflict in my significant romantic relationship. Bouts of turmoil and challenging conversations forced me at that time to think I needed to maintain a sense of peace. Despite my greatest efforts, the month was a painful and difficult start of my year. My birthday was a complete disaster and I was fighting for my sense of survival and self. Around the end of the month, a gigantic snow (and my stubbornness to take care of myself) resulted in a final blow to my already compromised hip and back issues. What was about to come would test my ability to carry peace for the months ahead.
February: I enrolled in an online course with Brene Brown called Living Brave in January and I had begun to learn more about myself than I had ever thought possible. I learned about my core value and how throughout my life, I had made decision after decision (or reacted again, and again) to what I now realize was attempting to protect my core value. Just knowing and understanding this was a platform for the rest of my year. The fella and I began our process of resolution and understanding that would take us down a road of deep love and shared growth. What I realized this month, was that peace is available–always available when you know who you are and own your stuff.
March: During the early days of spring, I wrote in my journal about how my personal yoga and meditation practice was helping me to find that spacious stillness that had seemed to gotten lost through the development of grueling physical pain and the ever-transforming romance and connection. As it happens when one practices gratitude and steps away from their story, a celebration of divine intervention can happen. This was a definite love wins kind of month and that allowed for peace. I also worked diligently on embracing what was showing up, rather than pushing it aside.
April: It seemed that the beginning and end of this month was all about the parent-child relationship. From the parent vantage, the start of this month I watched as my youngest son made some grown up decisions that validated my presence/influence in his life which demonstrated his ability to make choices that were (hopefully) setting him up for success and a path to self-confidence. The end of the month gave me the most beautiful gift of healing with my mom. Sandwiched between these two special moments, I revisited what it means to really practice.
May: They say that laughter opens the heart and soothes to soul. I can attest to the truth in that statement. The peace is palpable when I read about through the month of May. From receiving the unexpected heirloom gift to the wheelchair rides through the Garden of the Gods, it is evident that even though the surgery was painful there was also such space to receive love. I loved how I got to learn about myself and where I had been investing my focus.
June: About six months into the year and there has been a tremendous amount of peace through the newness of my home, the practice of observing rather than doing as my body heals,and being incredibly vulnerable. As we know with all that goodness, there must most certainly be some darkness to balance life out–the paradox of life. As I worked through my life long lesson of survival and surrender, I learned that to give, one must also be willing to receive. Settling into that form of peace took some serious growth on my part.
July: Living with chronic pain and the up and downs that come with hopes, and then disappointments can be as exhausting as the pain itself. I learned that there is humility in owning the truth. Through the unfolding comes a great amount of freedom. I worked through fear and uncertainty by coming back to my truth. In my journal this month, the word truth was scribbled over and over. I repeatedly wrote about soul-work and truth. I decided this month that nurturing myself through service was how I could overcome the wretched pain that was eating my soul. My meditation practice and reading a lovely extended book about the wonderful poem The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, was my saving grace and opportunity for peace this month.
August: This month I chose to reclaim my practices for the self. I vowed to go back to my yoga mat, my solo walks, my meditation practice to name a few in search of peace. I also dug deep into the continual life long pattern of ‘pleasing’ and how the anxiety of feeling unworthy can spiral into a dark place. I looked to nature to see that despite set-backs in my health and challenges that life gives, I too can be persistent.
September: As I turned the 4th month mark of my hip surgery, I began to experience pain again that felt all too familiar. Weary with it, I began the journey back to the doctor to try to resolve what my be going on. This painful reality scraped at my soul. I knew that I was becoming weakened by the daily grind and the energy it took to keep moving forward. And yet, despite the physical agony and fear that I would never improve, I fell further in love with the man who would offer soothing balm for so many of my lifelong wounds. He would be the one that led me to a different way of viewing things that allowed me to open doors of freedom and ultimate peace. Through one of the doors, I found that this type of unconditional love bought out the sweet little girl inside of me to experience all of life’s little gifts.
October: Early this month as I was hiking in one of my favorite spaces I looked at my patterns and noticed old behaviors lurking. I saw that I was still carrying regrets, judgments, blame and unhealthy thoughts. As I was surrounded by the paradox of glorious color of fall and the ease of leaves effortlessly letting go, I realized that just like that I could simply let go. Release what no longer needed to be held onto and settle into peace. Softly allow those memories to fall. As I made space in my heart I had an ah-h moment where I realized the masks I have been hiding behind for much of life and as a result the patterns I noticed early were easily recognizable.
November: The chaos of this nation during election year brought a chance for me to practice peace on a nearly daily basis. While I found myself reacting to the different views and opinions, I knew that this was simply a test for me to stay on course and to be with the peace that exists in me, no matter turmoil was around me. I also was called back to offer the world something besides hatred and separation.
December: For about 10 years, I have had a meditation and gratitude practice that includes affirmative prayer and mantra. I have been committed to being thankful for is yet come into my life as a way of believing in the law of attraction and intention. Early in the month during meditation something hit me and boy, did it hit me hard. The effortlessness of the energy spiraling outward, rather than grasping or seeking to obtain, completely opened my heart in a new and refreshingly peaceful way. I had intended for this to be a year of peace, and instead life showed up in a very real and painful way. As the days of this month came to a close, life handed me one of the most difficult of days. Through this experience I can reflect now that I did not just maintain peace, but I had come to rely on it. Another surgery to hopefully repair the hip (again) closed out my year, and I sit now with a smile on my face and a happy heart knowing that I am deeply loved and appreciated.
On many levels 2016 required me to dig deep into my very own wellspring of peace that lies deep in my own heart space. As I would be forced to lie face down in the dirt of life’s arena countless times, I learned that my safety and secuirty is paramount to my healthy existence and that it is not peace that I seek, but rather I am peace.
Blessings to each of you as you welcome 2017.