I love New Year’s Eve. I’m a sucker for beginning and ending rituals. I revel in the feeling of turning a new page. New Year’s Eve is inherently a time for closure, a feeling that I chase endlessly. It’s natural to reflect as one year ends and another begins. What did the last 12 months mean? What did I learn? How far have I come? And what lays ahead of me?
For me, the most profound shift of this year has been in my relationship with time. I used to see time as a climb to the top. One foot in front of the other up a single path to the summit. I thought that once I reached the peak, everything would fine. I’d finally have all that my heart desired. I’d be good enough and accomplished enough to finally be happy.
This year has taught me what an illusion I was hanging on to, that time doesn’t work that way. Time is not a mountain, but a vast and endless stretch of terrain with many, many paths to choose from. One path might be rocky with many climbs and summits; difficult perhaps, but some amazing views at the top. Another might lead to valleys and streams. Less exciting, but filled with lots of small discoveries and places to rest. No one path is good or bad. Each one has it’s own unique adventures. And at any time, it’s possible to change directions and seek a new way forward.
I’ve spent the last few years creating my own path, hacking my way the the weeds of old expectations, leaving behind the burdensome baggage of old stories. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve found personal and professional happiness the likes of which I could never have imagined.
In 2015, I once again led an amazing group of yogis through the journey of becoming yoga teachers. This year’s group was the embodiment of divine feminine energy. Powerful and compassionate and open, they attacked their journeys with a fervor the likes of which I’ve never seen. There were days that all I could do was watch their process in wonder and hope to keep up. In between weekends with my tribe of women, I traveled the country leading trainings and workshops. I was welcomed by yoga communities all over who ate up the knowledge I had to share. This year offered some wonderful professional validation.
Late in the year, an illness struck me down and put on hold a great many plans. I’m grateful that my health is much better than it was a few months ago and try not to dwell on those hard weeks. The thing crystallized for me most clearly during that time was what an incredibly supportive community I have surrounding me. While I hope to never re-live those hard months, I wouldn’t trade that realization for anything.
I’d be remiss in talking about this year if I didn’t mention my love life. One of the defining events of this year was the discovery of a new and totally surprising love. I started 2015 fully committed to being single. I was happy on my own and dedicated to creating a life I could love without the need of man by my side. But of course the Universe has a sense of humor, and just as soon as I settled comfortably into single life, an amazing man showed up to walk next to me. Both familiar and new, he brought a fresh and unexpected sense of adventure. We yes-ed our way into adventures across the country, from a third date in a cabin in the mountains, to romantic evenings in Manhattan, to a U-haul road trip through the desert. Wherever we go, he always reaches for my hand and reminds me that I don’t have to travel alone if I don’t want to.
Ours is a complicated love. We’re both profoundly independent people who value our autonomy. Nether one of us does vulnerability very easily. It’s taken work, but we’re learning how to love each other well. We practice openness and communication. We’re trying to learn each other’s love language. In tough moments, we tenderly call one another out and make an effort to be compassionate. We both squirm and pull away a little in those tough moments, but we manage to find our way back to each other, humbled by the challenge and grateful to see the other person still standing there, still accepting. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
I used to think that love happened effortlessly. I realize now that real love–lasting love–is comprised of a series of deliberate choices to constantly return to one another. It is the gentle shift from fear and defensiveness to joy and laughter. It is catching his eye and remembering with abrupt clarity why I want him as my partner. It is knowing I’d be just fine on my own and realizing that I don’t want to be.
This year was less about profound and sudden changes–as the last few have been–and more about subtle shifts. Less about planting seeds and more about bearing fruit. Less about the climb and more about the journey.
And through it all, I’m humbled and grateful to have amazing souls to share the view with.
Thank you so much for being part of my year. I hope 2016 blesses you and surrounds you with love.