My needs can be an offering and opening to greater connection.
I am human – I can’t be everything to everyone, and I don’t have to be good to be loved.
Body first, business second. -Kate Northrup
I am not responsible for others’ growth, I’m only here to love them through it.
I cannot tell the future.
I’m willing to live with myself, no matter what. I look forward to living with myself, no matter what.
To live my life, let my kids live theirs, and love them fiercely while doing it.
The best-case scenario is just as likely as the worst. Believe in it.
WHEN YOU’RE STUCK: Drop down into your body. Feel. Listen. Move. Turn it over. Offer it up. Do the work that’s yours to do. Let God do theirs.
I am a human, standing on a dog, standing on a crocodile -Mike McHargue, You’re a Miracle (And a Pain In The Ass): Embracing the Emotions, Habits, and Mystery That Make You You
To pay attention to and care about how I FEEL.
That when I imagine a future where I get sick and die – I’m living into a scenario that is out of my control. When I imagine a future where I keep showing up to what is, with gentleness and care for myself, I feel so much less anxiety. I’m living into a scenario that is within my control.
If we don’t wrestle with anger, we never get to the heartbreak. And if we don’t get to the heartbreak, we don’t get to the healing. -Lama Rod Owens, Love and Rage
Thank you for the joy.
I found joy in:
Deep cleaning – like, on hands and knees with a toothbrush
The Necessary Accessory of 2020
Long baths and lots of oils
Family TV watching: Ted Lasso, Bob’s Burgers, Blackish
Exploring my neighborhood
Rhythms + Rituals – the daily chore list, morning meditation, evening gratitude, following the lunar cycle
Playing games – Superfight, Monopoly, Life, Cards Against Humanity
Grandma – even though she died in 2019, I felt the loss more deeply this year
Spending time with my siblings and their children
Traveling – to see Chris’ family in Boise, Oregon Country Fair, Brownlee, the beach
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Riah Milton, Dominique Remmiefells
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Oregon State Capitol in Smoke
Thank you for the teachers and mentors.
I welcomed new teachers and mentors:
Morgan Harper Nichols
Emily and Amelia Nagoski
My 2020 contained so many FFTs (F**ing First Times – thank you, Brene Brown, for this descriptive term) – so much tragedy, loss, confusion, and struggle. It also contained magical synchronicity, unexpected joy, opportunities for rest, and deepened connection.
May we tuck away and integrate the lessons that are ours to carry forward, and may we leave behind what no longer serves us, as we cross the threshold from one year to the next.
One thing that unites many December holidays – is an honoring and celebration of LIGHT.
Being the darkest time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, we need intentional reminders that the light will return. This year maybe even more so than in other years.
Welcome the returning light
Photo by Davidson Luna
In our family, we’ve been lighting Advent candles, menorah candles, the Christmas tree, and the yule log. This time is always one of deep reflection, grief, gratitude, and the early whispers of coming dreams.
Reflecting on this intense year will likely bring up stuff for us. Part of this process is to meet what comes up – starting now – from a place of gentleness and curiosity.
Essential oils to support reflection
Plants and elements from nature can support our emotional processing. Here’s an oil protocol to ground and center you, that encourages reflection and movement of stagnant energy. You can apply it daily during your reflection period.
Balance – grounds your energy and spirit in your body, allowing you to access greater intuition and supporting you as you process emotions.
Cardamom – calls difficult emotions out of hiding, allowing you to move, feel, and process them to completion.
Arborvitae – brings extra support and grace to your vulnerability.
Cypress – stirs up stagnant energy and encourages movement.
Lime – eases pain, helps you connect to gratitude within Life’s lessons.
Vetiver – helps you get in tune with your deepest emotions and desires.
Douglas Fir – calls in the wisdom and support of the generations who came before you.
Peppermint – infuses the process with clarity and playfulness.
Frankincense – opens you to divine wisdom, guidance, and truth.
In order to cull all of the memories, milestones, themes and lessons from the past year, I first go back and do a month-by-month review.
Monthly Play-by-Play: Milestones, Important Events, Memories, Themes
Using your calendar, journals, notes, and photos, rewind to January. Put yourself back in that month, as gently as possible, and remember what you experienced.
Photo by Estee Janssens
On your Reflection Guide under the section titled “Monthly Play-by-Play”, make notes about each month.
What milestones did you cross?
What important events took place?
What memories do you have?
What themes were you working on or learning about?
What losses did you experience?
What did you celebrate?
What did you learn?
Stay with yourself
As you recall these memories, your nervous system will respond in kind. Let it.
Notice the emotions and sensations that are stirred in you. Breathe with them. Move with them. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Shake with them.
Be gentle and patient with yourself as you do the work of completing the stress cycle. This is a key practice in moving away from burnout.
Once you’ve made notes on each month of the past year, you’re ready to reflect on the year as a whole.
On your Reflection Guide, consider the highlights of the year.
What were the most important events of the whole year?
What were the major milestones?
What themes emerged and played out over the course of the year?
What were the main lessons?
Now let yourself have some fun, recalling all of your favorites from the last year. Use the template categories to inspire your reminiscing, and add categories of your own!
Spend some time reflecting on, synthesizing, and summarizing your takeaways from the past year.
What are you ready to forgive yourself for?
What are you thankful for?
What are you grieving?
What will you leave in 2020?
What are you welcoming into your life in 2021?
Congratulations!! You’ve completed your annual reflection.
You may feel many emotions after taking in your year as a whole. Closure, grief, gratitude, and sadness are all common. Completing a closing ceremony can help you to honor and embody all that you’ve reflected on.
There’s no right or wrong way to do a closing ceremony, so let yourself get creative. It can be as simple or as complex as you want!
The goal is to allow the energy from your reflections to manifest or be expressed tangibly.
Some ideas to inspire you:
Write on pieces of paper all that you’re grieving, forgiving, or wanting to leave behind, and then burn them in a fire.
This is a day that many in America celebrate by gathering together with loved ones for a special meal.
But what are we celebrating exactly?
I grew up experiencing Thanksgiving as a day of excitement and connection. I loved having family gathered together, eating my favorite foods, and even opening early Christmas presents from my snowbird grandparents.
I find myself contemplating how to honor and mourn the pain of others, support and work toward repairing equity for those who’ve been harmed, and celebrate the harvest in my own life today?
This reminds me of the inherent tension in paradox, and also the deep richness of compassion and healing that can happen when I’m willing to sit with the both/and. This is the power of re-membering – of bringing multiple and varied truths into the same space.
In Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, Emily and Amelia Nagoski share a twist on the standard gratitude practice that gets at the heart of what matters for me.
They instruct us to, instead of giving thanks for what we have, practice gratitude for who you have and for how things happen.
This year I’m entering the holiday season feeling like I’ve been-through-some-shit. Maybe you are too? We worked. We stretched. We broke down. We found simple pleasures. We got up to do it all again. Even when it felt unbearable. Even when we were exhausted and the odds were bleak. We #persisted.
2020 was a dark night of the soul.
Here is a list of the who and how that I’m grateful for today:
Chris, my best friend and partner in life, who sees me and knows me – all of me – like I’ve never experienced, and loves me more because of it.
The three humans I get to share this journey with, who teach me more about myself and about life than any classroom or book ever could, who fill me with such joy, awe, and ridiculous laughter – I couldn’t have picked better ones for myself.
My parents, who I’m insanely thankful to still have on earth, and who I genuinely love spending time with and miss incredibly much while they’re away half the year enjoying the sunshine.
YOU – as you read this. You who bolster me and inspire me within this loving community of humans working on taking better care of our precious selves.
The way that life has unfolded. That even in the most devastatingly dark and scary times, there have been comforts and moments of magic and reminders of the love that I believe is at the center of everything.
Summer Porch Happy Hour with Chris, Brea, Mom, niece Dylan, and Dad
2020 Thanksgiving Reflection
What did Thanksgiving mean to you as a child? What does Thanksgiving mean to you now? How, if at all, are you honoring or celebrating this day?
I’m entering 2019 with a stronger heart. A more resilient heart. A heart that has been cracked wide open, has nothing left to lose, and yet cradles the most precious treasures in her soft velvety folds.
From this place of wholehearted openness, I set my intentions for this new year.
I claim 2019 as a year of deep joyful peace. A year where abundance freely flows, where I am connected and present with myself and my loves. Where I am clear and focused about my work and priorities. Where my simple, strong, abundant business thrives. Where my kids are happy and connected.
This year, I release worry. Draining, hole-digging, useless worry. I ask: What is my business here? What is mine to do? What can I appreciate about this situation? I release the rest.
I embrace creativity. Going deep instead of spreading thin and wide. Loving myself even more. Listening to my intuition.
I seek to CREATE consciously, in everything I do. Untethering my curiosity and self-expression, I allow my ideas space in my tangible world. I make time for art, I give birth to my visions, and I listen inside for the quiet whispers of direction.
The material Life provides is curated just for me. I trust this path and all that appears on it. I use it as fodder for my creation, weaving heartbreak with joy, confusion with comfort, light and dark — all synergizing to form a stronger, richer, more brilliant tapestry.
Will you join me?
Here are some questions to contemplate:
What is your guiding word for 2019?
What wants to be expressed through you this year?
What’s no longer serving you, that you’re ready to leave behind?
Thank you for being a part of this journey with me. Sending you so much love along your way.
PS: If your 2019 goals include making more time for yourself, getting clear on your boundaries, moving toward joy and peace, or just generally loving your life and your self more — check out Burnout Proof Bootcamp. Our next session begins January 23rd, offers 1.5 GS CEUs for interpreters, and boasts a long list of rave reviews for its life-changing effects. 💖
2018 held my highest high and lowest low. So much grief and joy in one year. I am a better parent because of it. A better friend, partner, lover and human. I am grateful…so fucking grateful.
I forgive myself for the debt and the extra weight. I accept it with love and feel better prepared to face it and learn from it and thrive through it in 2019.
Curbing my worry has been one of my biggest challenges. Learning to set healthy boundaries and hold empathy, without trying to control others or the outcome is still a work in progress I look forward to developing more this year.
This is a tiny part of the New Year transition reflecting and planning that I do. Over the years I’ve used many resources, my favorite of which was the book Your Best Year Yet! — until I discovered Leonie Dawson this year and decided to try her My Shining Year workbooks.
Friends let me tell you: I am in L O V E!
If you don’t have an annual review and dreaming ritual yet, get yourself these workbooks and dive right in. She makes it fun and so effective.
I would love to hear from you in the comments:
What rituals or practices do you have for closing out one year and embracing the next?