Sunday, January 3, 2016

GATHER / reflecting on 2015

When I sat down to think back on this year, my first thought was well, "what happened?". I usually mark each major (and most minor) life events in a journal that often sits next to my bed at night. For some reason this year, that ritual was almost completely absent from my day-to-day. So when I sat down to pause and reflect on what this year taught me and how I wanted to enter into this bold and beautiful 2016, I was at a loss for words. It's funny how much I yearned to write this year, but often just couldn't take a deep enough breath to sit with my experiences. I wanted to pour my heart out here and there and everywhere, but instead I intentionally spent time being "in it" with my life: my family, my man, and my work. This was a year filled with epic amounts of transition. The older I get the more I realize how much life is mostly just one big moment-to-moment transition. In yoga, we often hear teachers talk about the ever elusive "present moment" and how "being there" can and will shift everything. This year was one of the first in an 11 year practice that I was able to truly digest that thought. To be "in the present" moment for me has come to mean exhaling control and attachment to outcome while leaving space to inhale trust, beauty, love, and inner truth. We are different in each and every moment and this leaves such profound space for you to expand and contract and always be someone who is evolving, even as life continues to alter and shift around you.

My life lessons of 2015.

Words are meaningful and profound and can alter the course of who you are if you just speak them. 

Trust me, you know what you need. You already figured it out, you don't need to revisit it, reconfigure it, or posit an alternate solution. I spent the better part of a year deciding that my silence on the future of my beautiful and deeply meaningful relationship was more important and sacred than actually speaking the truth about where I wanted us to go together. We hit a breaking point this year, a moment when the truth was a force to be reckoned with and trust led us to loud conversations, mixed emotions, painful truths, and ultimately a profound choice: WE WANT TO BE TOGETHER. I learned that trusting him, and us, was far more productive and meaningful than keeping silent for the sake of not rocking the boat. ROCK AWAY; new places of intimacy and connection lay waiting for you; even if it's end of something and helps you build a path to something new.

If what you're doing has stopped lighting you up, then shift it. 

You're more than your struggle and your value extends beyond your day-to-day work. I was so fortunate this last year to be working for a company I admired with people who continue to inspire me daily with how they're showing up in the world.  Lululemon gave me a year and a half of friends, family, and immeasurable tools to dig deeper into how I walk around and who I am at my core. I am beyond grateful, but after struggling to prove my worth to myself, I decided that they only way to discover what I truly needed was to leave it. I was comfortable, supported, and going places, but something was just not working. It wasn't lighting me up and life is too short for that. So I left, I moved on and found something new and now I have still have all of those beautiful people in my life and I am finally beginning to understand my worth. I can now see, hear, define, and defend my value and it has taken me so many long years to get here. It required of huge leap of faith into the unknown, but that's usually where the greatest things in life hide out, on the other side of uncomfortable.

When your heroes show up, meet them there. 

This year I sought out my heroes in whatever form they presented themselves to me. I seriously soaked them up. I flew to San Fransisco to practice with Elena Brower for an entire weekend just for the pure and unadulterated joy of it. I drove to Pasadena, in rush hour on a Friday night,  to hear Liz Gilbert wax poetic about Big Magic and how much she loves the creative life she is living. Inspired by a blog I love, I started frequenting my local library to devour books by the handful. I forgot how much reading inspires and delights me. I spent countless hours in the car [a two hour commute became a daily addition to my life this year] and listened to hours upon hours of amazing and inspiring podcasts that continue to rock my world about; how to be a badass business owner, how to show up creatively, how to be vulnerable enough to ask for advice about your darkest demons, how to feel inspired and passionate about art and it's intersection with our daily life, how to create magic and be more brave. It's all about the little things and knowing that we are all in this together. I joined a reading group with Jacki Carr, a super bad-ass woman who I have the sincere pleasure of calling a friend, with tons of inspiring readers friends to help me feel connected to a larger community. I finally joined a yoga studio, where it is my profound joy to practice with my teacher Mary Beth LaRue. Finding this space and committing to making it my own was a profound shift this year, and even though I am not there every single day: I am telling you; creating a home somewhere makes all the difference.

These beautiful creations totally made me a better human this year: 

Watch this: 
Flight of the Hummingbird - Liz Gilbert

Read, read, read these: 
Girl Waits With Gun - Amy Stewart
Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert
Rising Strong - Brene Brown
The Divers Clothes Lie Empty - Vendela Vida
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt
The Vacationers - Emma Straub
My Paris Dream - Kate Betts
The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown
Yes Please! - Amy Poehler
The Creative Habit - Twyla Tharp
Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel
Thrive - Arianna Huffington
The Dinner - Herman Koch
Astonish Me - Maggie Shipstead
One Last Thing Before I Go - Johnathan Tropper

Listen with open ears to all of these: 
Being Boss Podcast - Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson
Dear Sugar Radio - Cheryl Strayed & Steve Almond
Magic Lessons - Elizabeth Gilbert
Elise Gets Crafty - Elise Blaha Cripe
Creative Start - Cortnee Brown
Art for Your Ear - Danielle Krysa
After the Jump - Grace Bonney

Create space for being alone: expansion lives here. 

This year I learned that in order to be fully present with my TIME, ATTENTION, FOCUS, and LOVE to those in my life that I love most deeply, I need time ALONE. I mean completely and utterly alone, preferably in a space without the constraints of familiarity. I took myself on a solo trip to San Fransisco and it was a salve for a wound I didn't even know existed. I was able to breathe, think, meditate, practice, soak up, wander, imagine, dream, remember that I have preferences, and truly put myself first. That thing they always tell you on the airplane about adjusting your mask first before you help others, is SO DAMN TRUE. I have been running around trying to help everyone in my life adjust their masks while I was slowly suffocating. It's okay to be selfish, the people who love you understand, and if you're anything like me, you probably give them the grace to be selfish with themselves all the time.

I hope your 2016 is filled with wonder, shift, the unexpected, and a deeper understanding about who you are. Know that we're all in this together.

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