Are you ready to throw 2020 out the window?
As we near the last days of this year, I imagine you would like to forget it ever happened and just leave it in the rear view mirror.
It’s been a year unlike any we have seen in our lifetime, and has affected us all across the globe with loss at an enormous scale that has left many overwhelmed and exhausted.
It’s been a raging storm on every level from personal to professional to ecological.
Like waves crashing again and again.
We kept thinking we were going to get a BREAK, and then another wave.
I’ve heard so many people say they are taking a “break” this month or “hibernating” and it’s understandable!
I can only imagine your nervous system is shot.
I can imagine your heart is really hurting from the constant flood of bad news.
I imagine you are looking to recover.
And most of all, I imagine you would like 2021 to be VERY different.
I want that for you too. Which is why I’m reaching out today before the year is over, because there is a crucial step to ending this year that will ensure next year IS different for you.
In one year’s time I lost everything I knew.
It began with a divorce in 2013 that ripped my heart open, and then having to sell my apartment in Queens. This apartment was my first experience as a home owner, and within a few months of living there in 2005, I thought I was pregnant. I was terrified because I had just booked the Evita 25th Anniversary National Tour, and really wanted to do the show.
I remember walking to get a pregnancy test with my then husband, and he was so calm. We walked by a pregnant woman, and I panicked thinking,
“Oh my GOD…this is a sign!”
The test came back negative, and I was so relieved, but also so surprised at my husband’s calmness. When I asked why he wasn’t freaking out, he said,
“We have this apartment now. I can see our family here.”
I held on to that moment, and imagined turning the office into a nursery.
Until 8 years later, when I was packing everything up, and hearing his words in my ears,
“I don’t want to have children.”
I was 37 and felt I was losing my chance at a family, my deepest desire.
Then on the day I was moving out of my apartment, someone broke into my car and stole everything I had put in there.
Three months later I lost my dear friend to a heart attack, and with it, one of my main sources of income, as I was the main sales point for a brilliant fashion designer I had been working with for two years. It was sudden, and took us all by surprise.
And to tie it all together in November, I was in two car accidents back to back…on the same day. I truly thought I was going to die that day. My car was towed and the lot owner threatened to take my car apart “piece by piece” and sell it. I had to get my insurance to send out an officer. It was horrifying.
It was unrelenting.
But as 2014 came onto the horizon, I had something very different I didn’t have coming into 2013.
I knew exactly what I wanted.
Each one of these horrible experiences kept showing me all the things that were not working in my life. In the face of each one, I asked for help and guidance.
2013 was the worst year of my life, and yet it was showing me what I needed to make some very big changes.
Because, as I sat and really looked at each loss, I found truth.
My ex husband never really wanted to have children.
Our marriage was broken.
We were never going to create the life I desired together.
That apartment had all kinds of issues and constant neighbor problems.
I really didn’t want to have a career in fashion sales.
A lot of what was in that car needed to go anyway.
Most of all, losing so much in such a short period of time, taught me that I was capable of rising up. A dear friend called me a Phoenix in the middle of the year, because while my whole life was burning to ash, I was using the ash to plant new seeds.
And I didn’t do this on my own.
In fact, that was one of the biggest changes I made BECAUSE of 2013. I asked for help. It was clear on every level that trying to muscle through and make it look like I had it all together wasn’t working.
It never worked, and 2013 showed me that.
So, in 2014 I hired my first life coach and actually took the first steps towards building something fulfilling. It was those first steps in 2014 that led to starting to write again, and brought me to you.
At the end of 2012, I was forcing my life. I was determined not to let anyone know how broken it was…but it was breaking at the seams. I couldn’t keep it up, so 2013 cleared it out for me.
Because that year changed the whole course of my life. 2013 woke me up TO my life, and I began to truly care about each day, and take very different steps I never thought possible.
Building a six figure business.
Launching a global brand.
Finding and marrying my life partner.
Finding a man who WANTED to have children.
Moving into my dream home.
These have all taken TIME, they have required support and extreme care. But the seeds were planted in 2013. It was because of surviving that year, I actually believed it was POSSIBLE to have the life I wanted.
I found my confidence.
I found my powerful presence.
And it was because I was bringing forward a love FOR my life. A deep respect for each day and trust that every crazy turn was here to HELP me.
A living love. One that was present every day, no matter the storm. One that recognized when something wasn’t working, I could make a new choice. I had far more agency than I ever knew.
Thank you 2013.
Before you end this year, take a moment to take stock.
Reflection is one of the most powerful tools you have accessible to you at every moment.
You want to reflect, because otherwise you may be missing an enormous amount of information that will actually guide you moving forward. You don’t want to repeat mistakes or find yourself just as stuck next year as you were this year.
The way you change is to first acknowledge what wasn’t working. And what’s really important here is to do this WITH compassion. When you reflect, release judgement. This isn’t an exercise in self punishment. Violence begets violence, and any punishment towards yourself is violent.
So, be gentle and loving with yourself. This year has been rough. That’s ok. You are allowed to feel depleted and scared. Hug yourself and open your heart.
Now, grab a pen and paper and write down what was insane for you this year. Write down what didn’t work. Where did you feel stuck?
Now, take three deep breaths. Feel your belly expand and close your eyes.
Place your hand over your heart or belly, and ask yourself,
What do I want?
What is my vision?
Connect back to what is most important for you, and write this down.
Now, what is one change you can make?
What is something that clearly didn’t work this past year that you want to change in 2021?
Write this down and set an intention. Tell a friend or loved one what you are doing to do and let them partner with you. Or hire some help for your new year. We are always stronger together.
I wouldn’t be here with you without an incredible group of people who have supported and cheered me on towards my dreams even in my darkest moments.
You deserve that too.
And this new year can be a new beginning.
And it becomes a new beginning because you take the time to learn from this past year, and you do so from a place of love.
On a very warm day in September of 2018, I stood in front of my closest family and friends and married my life partner. The seed that was planted in 2013 blossomed in a miracle I had waited for.
And as the ceremony ended, and my now husband and I held hands in awe of the moment, my teacher Shugen Roshi, the Abbott of Zen Mountain Monastery, shared this poem he wrote for us.
Now I share it with you, to inspire you in the way you VIEW this year. Because it has been crazy, uncertain and very winding….and yet, what if it is here to connect you even deeper with the life YOU want to create?
When a trickling spring emerges
and begins its journey to the ocean
it does not know the Path ahead.
It only knows the way of bend & slope,
stones & eddies, sunshine & moonshadow.
A living love is like this too –
Knowing the future is pure fiction.
Be brave and enter the night,
Be joyful and greet the day.
Be humble and nothing is hidden.
The stark & glorious truth
is that you must live this now
to surely attain what this is.
And this, despite all your careful & loving plans –
will never fit into the palm of your hand;
but better, will yield & grow as it should,
just as the bubbling spring already
is joined with sea and sky.
It’s all there within you.
A living love.
Year after year.