standing at the precipice of all that is known, looking out over the vast unknown of her life, she smiled.
today is the beginning of something new.
This time of year is the hardest for me. So many memories, like water in my veins, I find it hard to even move some days. I want to curl up in a cave and hibernate, my bear-self heavy with the burden of survival. And I know this about me. Each year it is the same, the same challenges, the same memories.
And so, each year, I collect things, experiences, relationships that I know will help me through this time. The hardest lesson I have learned is self-care, one that comes with struggle and tears and a willingness to just give in and open wide to the Universe with all my sharp edges. I’m not always willing, but the adventurer in me sees it as a game, another summit to crest, another crag to master. Together, with my bear-heart and my scarecrow self, we open. Using the tools I’ve gathered, I try to stay present, in this moment, until through the fog is the first light of dawn, the moment I know I have survived another year.
I live by the words of Pema Chodron. Her work has brought me more insight, more struggle, and more peace than any other author. For this time of year, especially when dealing with potentially challenging family situations, I pull out snippets of this book. Start Where You Are is a great entry to Pema’s work, which isn’t easy stuff. “Embrace my challenges instead of ignore them? Huh?” Yeah, that was my first response, too. But after doing this work for a while now, I promise it makes a difference. It’s worth it.
I love the work of Danielle LaPorte. I have since the early days of the Fire Starter Sessions, and this new offering is even bigger, better, deeper than ever. The Desire Map is a process for discovering your core feelings: how *you* want to exist in the world. And then making them happen. For me, getting through the end of the year includes a lot of self-reflection. Why not manifest something amazing through all that navel-gazing? PS: I love my belly button.
Speaking of navel-gazing and magic making, here’s another tool I like to use annually. For the past five years, Susannah Conway has released her (free) Unravelling workbook. In it, there is space for reviewing the year that is ending (what you learned, what you released, what changed for you), and practices for welcoming and planning the upcoming year. It includes a calendar, to plot out your biggest dreams, and it helps you choose a guiding word for the new year. Don’t skip this part — it can change everything.
There’s a common story that we overeat and get fat at the end of the year. Holidays, winter, blah blah blah. But what if we could surround ourselves with stories of body love, body acceptance, body adoration to counter-act all the body shame we are hearing and feeling? My friend Sas Petherick has just the thing. The Body Stories is a collection of short writing about welcoming, love, and accepting our bodies. Written by women from around the world, it’s compiled into a beautiful (free) ebook (click the image to download). Surround yourself with acceptance, and the struggle of the year-end doldrums will be just a little bit easier.
If you’re interested in going deep in 2014, and I mean deep into magic, art, possibility, and healing, then Pixie Campbell and her SouLodge is for you. With sessions running throughout the year, each focusing on a different aspect of the work, Pixie brings her unique blend of art, mystery, shamanism, and lionness strength to her work. Step in for one, or join for the series. This is one experience not to be missed.
Please connect with me on Twitter — I’d love to continue this conversation and see where this journey takes us in the coming year.