greeting a new year & a new season.

If I’m being completely honest, I’m not in a celebratory mood today – this New Years Eve feels heavy… and dark. What the hell, this whole year has been heavy, and dark… and maddening at times. It’s pure chaos out there!!!!! I *wish* I was bursting with hope and joy today, but I’m not one to lie and fake a smile. I’m finding it hard to find hope while looking at the current state of the world but trust me, I am trying.

I’m feeling a lot right now but mostly, I’m feeling exhausted… immensely + entirely exhausted. Although that doesn’t quite encompass the intense clusterf*ck of emotions I have been sifting through this year. BUT, here I am!!! I made it to December 31st, 2021.
365 days of ups & downs, tears & laughter, anger & joy. All of it.
I have to give myself credit.
I worked hard this year.
I faced fears, I took accountability, I grieved, I fought, I stood up for myself, I questioned my beliefs, I recognized the pain inside me, I challenged negative thought patterns, I got turned inside out

… and boy, was it painful.

As I reflect on this past year, I have to tell myself over and over again,
this world is not all darkness…

Light and dark. Chiaroscuro. Yin and Yang.

I just finished reading my last book of the year, Wintering:The Power of Rest and Retreat by Katherine May. I bought this book months ago and read it at the perfect time as we are slowly making our way into the real midwestern winter. What I loved about this book, was that it was real. There was no sugar coating or toxic positivity. Winter is hard but this book reminded me that the lows in our lives come and go – and there lies the hope – in the coming and the going.

“To get better at wintering, we need to address our very notion of time. We tend to imagine that our lives are linear, but they are in fact cyclical. I would not, of course, seek to deny that we gradually grow older, but while doing so, we pass through phases of good health and ill, of optimism and deep doubt, of freedom and constraint. There are times when everything seems easy, and times when it all seems impossibly hard. To make that manageable, we just have to remember that our present will one day become a past, and our future will be our present.”

–Katherine May

There is a time for everything.

Pattern, synchronicity, cycle, season, coincidence… whatever you want to call it, there is an energy and heartbeat to the rhythms of the world around us. There is a time for knowing and a time for learning. Rest and activity. You can’t have everything at once. You come apart and get put back together, you break and have to pick up the pieces. Pain is inevitable. Pain is relative, of course, but it is real. To be human is to experience sadness, sorrow and heartbreak.To live is to feel each of these emotions as you meet them, and then move forward.

There comes a point where you have to be honest with life, to be vulnerable and accept the lows amongst the highs. In order to embrace life, you have to accept it all. You will meet dark seasons where you seem to drift in some state of hibernation and you will meet light seasons where you dance through the days in celebration. It’s all a cycle. There is so much to learn from the changing of the seasons.

Acceptance is where we find hope.

This year, I’ve learned to accept all of who I am and all that the world is. I’ve had to open my eyes and wake up to much of what I have spent my entire life avoiding. I’ve had to bring my darkness into the light. Now, I am shedding my skin and figuring out how to go forward from here.

Life is, by its very nature, uncontrollable. We should stop trying to finalize our comfort and security, and instead find a radical acceptance of the endless, unpredictable change that is the very essence of this life.

Katherine May

Wintering has brought immense growth. I’ve accepted more of who I am and have been diving into why I am the way I am. With acceptance, I can reflect on my past and move forward with accountability. I’m not scared anymore, instead, I am building on the energy of empowerment. I’m fighting to step away from the doom + gloom victim mentality that I’ve been living in. I’m turning off autopilot and stepping into building the life I want. One day at a time. I am actively walking away from victimhood, denial and the seemingly endless stream of excuses. I can no longer run from my demons and hide all the pain. I have to face it all, it’s part of the cycle of things. It’s not pretty but it’s really not supposed to be.

As we move into a new year, I pray for each and every person that is struggling to find their place in life. I pray that we all find the strength, energy and love that is needed to face each day. I pray that we can meet others with understanding, patience and grace.

Sending peace & love to all,