Looking back. Looking ahead. New Year, Now Us.
I hadn’t planned to start today’s post this way, yet as I was driving home from yoga this afternoon I was moved to tears when a fire truck with its sirens on quickly sped past me and then even more quickly stopped, blocking myself and other cars from passing. I watched as the firefighters scrambled from the truck and quickly ran up to the entry gate that led to the house they were trying to access. Unfortunately, the iron gate appeared locked and so they couldn’t get past it. Only a mere 20 feet from them I could feel their sense of urgency and intent focus on getting to the person inside. Within a matter of seconds, one firefighter pulled a giant axe of somekind from the truck and proceeded to break open the gate. A s I watched the firefighters rush to get inside to help whomever was in need of their assistance, I was overcome with love and appreciation for these firefighters and instantaneously moved to tears. I realized in that moment how truly connected we all are and also how our lives are each strung together on this one thread and although that thread can be so strong at times – it too, has the ability to break. I thought of how we are in this world, this life, united and how really I’m not separate from you, nor you from me. In watching the firefighters I realized how similar we all are – each of us wanting the same things out of life: love, connection and faith, perhaps? As we move into a new year, the talk is so often focused on me, I, or you and what you, I or me want to accomplish in the coming year and what we want to be different from the previous year. Yet I think what really makes New Year’s such a monumental moment is it’s ability to bring all of humanity together under one collective consciousness. Whether we realize it or not, this one day every year has most of humanity focused on hope and (positive?) change. If, as a collective, we can focus this energy towards a new beginning, toward what it is that we want to call into our lives, then how powerful a day this really can be! Before I look at my intentions for this new year and what it is I want to draw into my life in 2014, I first thought it was really important to look back at 2013 and honor the gifts, lessons and challenges that the past year has given me that have led me to be the woman that I am today.
Here are my top 7 'gifts' I got in 2013:
1. I quit. I failed. I gave up, and I walked away. After five months with my head in the books I walked away from that which I moved 1200 miles to a brand new city to do – study naturopathic medicine. I could’ve felt shameful and embarrassment in my giving up; in my sudden change of plans. Yet I didn’t. I totally owned up to my failure at naturopathic medical school and recognized it as a blessing. Quitting after thinking I had my life figured out for the next 4 years gave me a swift kick in the butt making me realize I couldn’t float thru life any longer. It was time to get to business and figure out what the heck I was doing here anyway…
2. Which brings me to the 2nd thing I nailed in 2013 - Speaking my truth. I learned to say what I thought, not what I thought needed to be heard, but actually what I felt. I also learned to say no when I meant no and yes when I meant yes! (instead of the other way around as I so often did in the past).
3. I found my way back into the kitchen and successfully launched my Business – The Blissful Kitchen. Licensed since 2011, it was pretty much been dormant until this year when I got serious about my dreams and what I want to create with my life. I always knew I had a thing for food with my life memories seemingly defined by what I was eating, wish I was eating or what I was making in the kitchen and this year gave me the opportunity to finally own up to this and see that my love for food is a gift to be shared.
4. I learned how to sit still. Anyone who really knows me, knows that this is like the hardest thing for me to do in the entire world! I am the queen of making 'busyness' and I realized this year that it was time for me to step down from that throne. See in all my ‘busyness’, it was easy to ignore what it was I truly wanted out of my life. I learned that in the quietness of my mind I found a lot of old beliefs, thoughts and patterns that are keeping me from this life I so desire. So there’s a reason why people don’t sit still and don’t allow themselves a break from busy – because it is in that silence that the truth of our lives, the truth of very being, come alive. And sometimes ignorance seems like bliss, huh?
5. I learned how to ask for help and say what I needed. Do you know how hard this is???? Exactly! Which is why I tried to avoid it for almost 30 years! Me? Need Help? Get out of here? I have my shit together all the time, remember? Hahaha oh how I kidded myself.
6. I learned how to let go. Let go of expectations – of myself, of my life and of others and in doing this I found myself also letting go of my attachment to the outcome. I gave myself over to Source – in whoever Source is to you - God, the Divine, Buddha, etc. I realized that I am powerless in my struggles and gave myself over to a power greater than myself. And boy does it feel good to know I am taken care of and that everything will be ok just as it is. Phew – one thing I can check off my worry list.
7. I danced with the darkness. There’s no sugar coating it – 2013 was no bag of candy, no fairy tale, no pleasure cruise…In actuality I kinda feel like I’ve gone to hell and back (at least in the dark crevasses of my mind). And you know what? I wouldn’t take one moment of darkness or one drop of tears back because it has totally shaped me into the person I am right now and that person I love. I learned and accepted that everything is not always happy, healthy and terrific – sometimes things really suck. And I’ve come to realize and accept that this is ok. It’s ok for there to be dark days because – yes, we’ve all heard it before – those dark days make us appreciate the sunshine SO much more.
So as the first day of this new year begins to unwind and I reflect on the year that has passed and its many gifts bestowed upon me I look with serious excitement toward the new year and new beginnings that lay ahead.
In honor of this day filled with so much hope I wanted to share a poem I heard in yoga today. This poem – had I known it at the time – was clearly the mantra to my 2013. I wholeheartedly believe that the past year has set me up for a brand-spanking new beginning. And for that I am forever (FOREVER) grateful. From my experiences I do truly believe, that it is in our darkness that our brightest light can finally emerge. Wishing you all a year ahead that brings you one step closer to your new beginning. Cheers to an enlightening, love-filled year ahead.
Much love + light, Jamie
In out-of-the-way places of the heart, Where your thoughts never think to wander, This beginning has been quietly forming, Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire, Feeling the emptiness growing inside you, Noticing how you willed yourself on, Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety And the gray promises that sameness whispered, Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent, Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled, And out you stepped onto new ground, Your eyes young again with energy and dream, A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear You can trust the promise of this opening; Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure; Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk; Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
— from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue