What a blessing this year has been. Let us take a moment to sit with it, to breathe with it, to let our hearts beat with gratitude for all it has given us.
It brings me joy to see so many people giving thanks for this year full of life, full of deepening love, full of adventure, full of change and growth, full of challenges overcome. We are shifting, and 2017 was an exercise in divinity. A light is rising like the sun, guiding us into 2018. This is a time for reflection, as the full moon will look down upon itself in the waters of the world tonight. It is a time for setting intentions, to usher in a new year (if only on the 12:60 frequency that governs us now, but we won’t get into that) with purpose, with fire guiding our water flow. Now is the time to set the tone. Now is the time to be.
I began 2017 with a dear friend in Australia and the year that unfolded therefrom was the deepest and most transformative of my life. Sitting down with my journal to reflect on it, I was overcome with emotion, with thanks and awe at the fact that it was real life, that it was mine. I want to honor it, to acknowledge the profound change it has brought to my being, to my body, to my mind, to my heart and to all of my relationships. I want to acknowledge the sense of purpose that burns in me now like a little star, growing stronger with each deepening breath, fueling me for the journey forward.
I want to remember always this sense of power gained by navigating the world as a solo adventurer — 11 countries “alone” this year, guided by intuition and a mission that I didn’t realize at the time was not my own but that of a higher consciousness. She led me out of Asia, my home for the past few years, and into the Pacific, navigating island nations great and small on a quest for ancient knowledge and traditions. I was a sponge soaking up history and embracing mystery, a student of all the smiling faces that showed me we are so much more than what we have been programmed to believe.
I slept beneath the stars on islands too small to be visible on the map, on the couches and floors of strangers, on buses, in tents, in airports, atop my trusty backpack, in the pouring rain on the decks of cargo ships rolling their way across the greatest ocean I have encountered. I climbed mountains and an active volcano, worked on farms, painted a mural, tended bar, sailed around Fiji on a yacht, ran along beaches with wild horses, collected stones with my spiritual mother. I lived with a Maori community in New Zealand, learning to wield a machete, to cook, and to heal wounds with forgiveness and unabashed wailing.
I navigated the Solomon Islands with no idea of what I would find there, no internet or guidebook, no roads or electricity, and gained a forever invitation to return there as Wantok (family). I witnessed the most beautiful wedding that has ever been with my family in Thailand; I rested with and loved my favorite couple in Vietnam; I prepared for my reentry to the US with my sister-friend in Hong Kong. For the first time in over 7 years, I returned to Chicago to spend real time with my blood family, where I have since taught and nurtured hundreds of children. I revisited the birthplace of my solo travel in Costa Rica for what, without question, has been the deepest healing experience of my life as I reconnected with Pachamama and the thousands-of-years-old traditions of the indigenous South Americans. I met mi familia medicina and have embarked on a whole new journey of healing and discovery.
I have fallen in love, so deeply in love, with perfect strangers, with imperfect strangers, with people I have known my whole life, with myself, and with a man who has allowed me to experience a romantic relationship as a sacred and spiritual practice for the first time. I have learned that what I previously perceived to be love was only the wrapping paper on a gift that I had held in my hands since birth but had never thought to open. I have transitioned from wondering if unconditional love was real or even possible to realizing that I am unconditional love and emitting it freely from my being with every exhale. I have cried enough tears of joy to fill an ocean, nourishing the earth that in turn nourishes me, with love and gratitude. I type this with tears in my eyes even now, a hand over my heart feeling all of this energy pulsating through me. It overwhelms me.
Let us exist this way, as pure love and joy, as we transition to a new calendar year on this planet that is our home, that is us. Let us ask for nothing in 2018, but realize that we have everything already, if we are willing to do the work to access it. And it is work, every day. Let us transform our resolutions from past years, neglected by February more times than not, and together lift up our truest intentions to vibrate on a higher frequency, to connect with our highest selves and to each other, in a new way. What does that mean to you? Close your eyes and sit with the question for a while; listen to the wisdom you carry inside.
For me, it means deepening our desires for growth and change beyond just thinner bodies and fatter bank accounts. It’s ok to want those things - I do too! But this year, let’s find a better approach, one that creates the lasting changes inside of us, which is the only way to create lasting change externally. Let us work to remember what we were born knowing but have since been programmed to forget. Let us disconnect our televisions and reconnect with nature, commune with trees, show compassion to the smallest of beings, walk barefoot against the Mother Earth more often than we do in shoes. Let’s watch the story that unfolds when we focus our energy on existing in the present moment, releasing the past and trusting that as we surrender to Now we will manifest a future more beautiful than our egoic minds allow us to imagine. Remember that there is no last year or next year, there is only this moment, ever expanding and contracting like our breath. Only when we halt our constant efforts to escape it can we truly live.
Let’s exchange fear and worry for trust and surrender, acceptance and gratitude. May compassion and understanding be the cornerstones of our relationships. Let’s spend less time defending our egos and focus those energies on nourishing our bodies and our souls in a real way - with real food, prepared by our own loving hands; with mindful movement and deep breathing; with deepened connections to our communities. Let’s be patient, really and truly patient, with ourselves and with others, as we watch our progress rise and fall like waves in the ocean. We have grown so used to finding the fastest, easiest ways to do just about anything, but there is beauty in the slow dance of change. Nothing worth having comes easily, and that will always be true.
In 2017, I relearned that everything is sacred; Every being, every word, every interaction, every drop of water, every bit of food, every penny spent, every sound, every part of the daily routine; it’s all part of the same sacred whole. Now it is time to live in a way that honors this truth. It requires consciousness, mindfulness and intention behind every action. It requires not only gratitude but giving back to Mother Earth as much as, or more than, she gives to me. It requires stillness and silent reflection as much as it requires action and energy toward my goals. It is a full time job, and I am ready to show up and do the work, every day.
This is my commitment to myself, and to you. I pledge to show up, every day. I will be here as a source of light and love, as a shoulder to bear weight, as a listening ear, as an outstretched hand for you - whether we have met or not. This past year has given me more than I ever dreamed possible. I am ready now to pay it forward.
Thanks for reading my words, and for being. The new year isn’t magic, as my soul brother reminded me today. Change won’t come about without effort. But when the world at large comes together in the energy of a new beginning, speaking their intentions in the light of the full moon – the potential for magic is higher than we may realize. Let’s make magic together this year.
Love and light!
Chicago-born citizen of the globe, rich in the things that really matter. Let's get weird.