2021 in a Nutshell
It is Monday, January 3rd. I sit at my desk in the corner of my bedroom while snowflakes drift thickly past my window. I’m excited for the coming year and its possibilities—there’s no doubt—but I’m not ready to dive in 100%.
2021 left its mark. I’ve talked to enough people to know that I’m not alone in this, either. We collectively felt the strain of carrying our lives in ongoing isolation when we were already tired and sad. For me, though, 2021 was so different from the year before. I had survived—no, thrived—in 2020. Slowing down the way I did benefitted me greatly, enabling me to find even more alignment, presence, and self-acceptance. (I know this is not everyone’s 2020 story, and I wish you peace for your experience). This past year, though, was dreadful, chaotic, and important. There were profound highs, very low lows, and I experienced burnout in a way I haven’t in years. Yet every second of this year was important, full of growth, vulnerability, and gained wisdom. How can I not honour that?
I want to reflect on the year, so that I can bid it farewell and move forward.
In January I graduated from an important practicum in mind-body healing, after 18 months of all-in learning, half of it online. I spent January creating a digital collage of my healing journey (see photo above) from when I first saw my mentor as a client through to the end of my training. The journey? Amazing. From then, I chose to launch forward alone, intuitively feeling there was an unknown path for me to walk yet again. Over the year, the path illuminated in unexpected and beautiful ways.
Gift of Astrology
In March, a friend came to me and asked if we could exchange services—she wanted to read my astrological chart and share it with me. I knew nothing of astrology, but her offer touched and encouraged me. During that session, I realized that my life path is written by and walked in collaboration with the stars. The universe has shaped who I am, building my life path into my cells. Not only that, the feeling of dissatisfaction and the related drive to fulfill calling that I have experienced for decades is written there too. I was born to make this journey. The reading gave me permission to embrace myself and unleash myself, as well as reassure me that I could navigate the year’s challenges.
Community in Writing
Last spring, I joined a women’s online writing community. Paperbacks & Co dropped into my life when I was wanting to establish a regular writing habit—and boy did I ever! As many days as possible, I joined our sprint sessions where we write for 15 minutes and then discuss writing and our lives in as much detail as we want. I not only dove into writing in a whole new way, I fell into a community of strong, vulnerable women who have my back and cheer me on. This year was tough, and I showed up to many sessions in tears. These women held space while I cried, then wrapped their arms around me and helped me stand up again. I will never forget it. Specific to writing, I drafted roughly a quarter of my book and tens of thousands of words in journals, blog posts, and more.
An Inspiring Idea
This year, I received inspiration for an expansive, creative offering for a specific niche of people. For months, I wrote out this dream, planned it, played with ideas, and made sketches. It woke me up in the night. Then life went sideways for me, and for half a year while I continued to work on the idea, I had to delay the launch repeatedly. What I now know is that this path doesn’t leave, there is no “late” in universal timing, and I rest in that. In 2022, this project will launch, and I celebrate that.
Living Messy, Living Human
While all my family struggled to support their mental health this year, one of us suffered more profoundly. The story is private: ours, not mine. This year we as a family rolled back the curtain on our messy moments, inviting in the eyes of extended family and professionals. We had done well for so long, adapting to our specific needs, but there came a time when we could not support ourselves well enough. We let others in on the mess, we are still walking through it, and my gratitude is that this year I learned it is okay not only for me to be messy, but for my family to be messy too. Mess is a part of any honest life, and I do not need to control it, fix it, or make it go away. Some messes are a part of us, and we learn to live them with grace.
Speak Even When Your Voice Shakes
This year I learned to speak. I learned to talk, in person, with my actual voice, to people who could reject me. I learned to say what I noticed, tell them how I feel, and ask for what I need, and to do it all without judging them or myself. I did this repeatedly in circumstances I could never have predicted when I looked ahead to 2021. Here again I feel profound gratitude, because somehow there is a community of people around me who listen to me when I speak, who care deeply, and reflect to me that they want me in their lives, even when I say the terrifying thing. I spent so many years of my life certain that I could not share all of me. Now, I share and am loved. I have been so held by so many people. Thank you.
Along with this, this year I came into my power and self-worth. I celebrate myself, releasing the fear of not being accepted by others. I realize that who I am and what I do, my way of being in the world, will not be everyone’s cup of tea—and that is also okay. What I have to offer will, however, be just what some people need. I pour my energy into these people and receive it back tenfold, and I release those with whom I don’t resonate to their own support systems.
Most of all? In 2021, I became a gladiator, and entered the wide arena of life. I set my intention to show up, to act, to speak, and to be myself, no matter what the cost. I determined to live vulnerably, if and even when it hurt me. And it did, sometimes, but I learned that I can move through hurt. I can transform through it into someone wiser, more grounded, more open, and more loving. My heart feels big enough to hold the world. I know now that when it breaks, it breaks open, not closed. It is something to navigate a year of difficulty and arrive at the end with joy, not because the year felt joyful but because I lived it with eyes and heart open. I didn’t hide. I didn’t self-protect. I stepped into the light.
Moving Forward to 2022
With this knowledge, this experience, I move carefully forward into 2022. I set no expectations of a high-vibin’ year. 2022 will be what it wants to be, and I will navigate through its beautiful mess with vulnerability, joy, sorrow, frustration, and excitement. I know that it will bring me amazing things—I am already on my way to these—but it would be naïve to not expect that it will also challenge me. It may bring inexpressible pain, and this is okay. This is life, the yin and yang, the shadow and light.
Welcome, 2022. I open the door, and I move through.