The Year in Review – A Positive Reflection on 2014

My bestie Carly and I decided to do a little “round up” of our own on all the positive things that have happened or benefitted us this past year. We have a renewed interest in positivity heading forward into the New Year, so we decided we should end our last year on a good note. You can find Carly’s post here.

2014 has been one of the most challenging and transformational of my life. Mindsets and ways of being have shifted and continue to shift. Beginning with my quarter life crisis in March, and lasting all the way until December, my life has been in utter upheaval this year. It’s as if the Universe decided I needed an overhaul.

Or perhaps I decided it… I was the one to take one small step to be more powerful in my life, to embrace it with an open heart. Considering that my word for the year was audacity… Yeah.

There were a few things that kept me going this year that I want to share here, as an offering of gratitude to them and how they moved me through.

Andrea Gibson – The Nutritionist
This poem saved my LIFE in April/May/June. There was a period of time where I literally listened to it daily just to have the strength to go to work. I would put it on in the morning before work, shed a few tears, buck up, and leave. I have no idea what I would have done without it.

Sayulita Trip
This trip that I took alone was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. If I could afford it, I’d take a trip alone every year. This one was a massive reset button on my life. It was also gloriously beautiful and I had the chance to just take it all in and enjoy. That, despite getting sunburned so bad on my chest that I blistered. Yikes! Haha. The little things just didn’t seem to matter anymore; I was the most myself I’ve ever been on this trip, and it was glorious. It’s been a hallmark of my year.

RootEd Yoga Teacher Training
I have no idea what I would have done this year without this amazing, vibrant, vulnerable community around me. I have learned so much about what it means to be rooted in myself, and what it means to relate to others. I have never plugged into a community so much in my life, in a true way, in a consistent way. It’s weird, but good. Plus, I am finding that I truly love Yoga in all aspects. It’s always drawn me, but there’s a greater draw now.

My first date with Kevin.
We ran around town looking for hammocks. We ordered the same meal at Ivywild. We ended the night with The Fountain and some kissing and stuff. 😉 It was one of the most glorious, synchronous nights of my year.

Kevin, in general
To be truthful, Kevin has been far more gracious to me than I feel like I deserve (he disagrees). He has been an absolute rock to me. I have been a stormy ocean of a girl at times and he has been the levy that I come up against but it holds me in, in the sweetest of ways. I’m so grateful for who he has been in my life thus far.

Visiting my bestie, Carly.
It wasn’t for the greatest reasons, but getting to see my best friend FO LYFE Carly (the one I linked up with on this post!) in July was a huge highlight of my year. Much singing of Chandelier, conversations until all hours of the morning… it was fantastic.

Spoken Word Poetry
This was the year I’ve really gotten into spoken word. And holy mother of pearl guys. That stuff has changed my life. I walked into an event and immediately felt at home, like these were my people. Their vulnerability encouraged me to become a more vulnerable person.

 

These are just a few things that have influenced me this year. I know there are many, many others that I am forgetting. But in the wake of all the transformation I have experienced, these things have kept me going. These have been the core things that have provided the inspiration I’ve needed to keep going this year, and I’m so grateful that they appeared in my life as they did.

Here’s to you, 2014! I can’t say I’m sad to leave you, but I do leave with a deep bow to all you have brought me.

As for 2015… I have a new word for this coming year.

I don’t make resolutions, I think that’s silly. I have some ideals. But this word is one I want to be a guiding light.

Savor.

I want to take in all the moments. I want to see the holiness. I want to never, ever forget the purity of the present. And I want to CHOOSE to enjoy it. Enjoy it all. This word for me is about truly enjoying. I feel that up to this point in my life I have enjoy, full body enjoyed, very little. So for this year, that’s what I’m setting as my intention.

To full-body savor the experience.

Welcome, 2015.

Down the Rabbit Hole

“Alice! Alice!”

She could hear the voices above ground, from her past life, but they were fading fast. Their frantic tone sliced panic into her heart, but her pinwheeling hands found no traction in the dirt.

Only a few moments before she had been walking along the forest path, happily clambering to a destination precisely planned out. The root spoiled everything. Reaching out its gnarled hand, it grabbed her pretty foot clothed in white frilly socks and black Mary Janes, and tumbled her to the ground. Or past the ground, if you will, for here she was now head over heels, falling down a hole deeply burrowed into the earth.

She was dizzy, then nauseous, then delighted and afraid. The feelings spun through her like her body turning through this hole. She was a confusing kaleidoscope that the whole underground world was now looking through. Red diamonds, blue squares, green crystals held up to the light and turning, turning, turning.

But it was strange… because she noticed that since falling through the floor of grass and ending up underground… she could finally breathe.

Taking Care

As a trauma survivor, and as a person, I’ve learned through trial and error that I have to take care. When entering situations, or contemplating whether to remain in certain situations, relationships, or places, I have to decide what will be best for my emotional state. In many ways, I have to consider this more than other people do. My triggers can be unpredictable, unfortunately, so it is often a fluid thing. One day something may work for me, and the next it may be a disaster.

I look back over my past year and have found it to be a great experiment in learning how to take care of my Self. If I wanted to remain a victim forever, I would continue to hang onto the mindset that as a trauma survivor, others should take care of me. Instead, I’ve decided to grow up, to go past victim to become victor.

And this has come very much to the forefront of my life in the past week. Since August, I had been living in North Carolina on National Student Exchange. As a college student at certain universities in the US, you can exchange to another university in the US or outlying islands, while continuing to pay in-state tuition. This is what I embarked upon in August and I intended to spend the full school year in North Carolina, on the beach. I’d been planning it since January, as a move to take care of my Self. I felt I needed to be at the beach, I felt I needed to relax after going through a trauma, getting married, then subsequently getting divorced at the end of 2011. Having all of that happen within 4 years had taken its toll so I decided going to the NC beach was just the thing to help me relax, let go, not take things so seriously, learn to have fun again.

After a semester in NC, I decided to return to Colorado. This was really uncharacteristic of me, because if I plan something, I follow through with a vengeance and often, to my own detriment. In moving back to Colorado, I savagely claimed victory for myself and declared myself victor and hero of my own life.

You see, North Carolina was not all I had dreamed it would be. It was a rough, rugged semester. My roommates were chosen for me and were a complete disaster, with one incident of vandalism of my personal property. Because of my trauma history, the vandalism left me feeling terrified, invaded, and like an enemy in what should have been my home. On top of that, I had massive financial stress, more than I expected, and I was having to build a new friend base.

So, when I found myself dreading staying another semester, I did the most impulsive and ridiculous thing I’ve ever done in my life. I arrived back in North Carolina from Christmas break and within 24 hours, drove back home across the country.

And in my head I’m singing, “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIENDS!!!!!”

I feel valiant, because I learned the lesson. I am worth taking care of. I need taking care of. And I am certainly the one to do that. I can do what needs to be done for myself. And doing what needs to be done for myself means that I can take the easier road. I do not have to force myself to bear up under circumstances that could push me to breaking. No, I can simply breathe and the door will open.

I re-read that last sentence with tears in my eyes because it is fulfillment. I wrote myself a mystical poem (Rumi style) a couple of months ago. And now I realize that this poem is exactly what it means for me to take care. It is just that easy, and that’s how it’s meant to be. I don’t mean “easy” as avoiding pain; instead, I mean “easy” as an inner experience of letting go of attachment and letting God/The Universe/A Higher Power/Your Higher Self guide you into what is meant to be yours. It really is just as my poem describes:

You are not incarcerated by fear.

The key is in the space
between you and the door.

Breathe.
Open.

There is no distance between you and freedom.

 

Namaste, 2012.