It’s late afternoon on the last day of the decade and as I sit and reflect on not just this one but the past two, I’m dizzy with all that has transpired. It’s hard not to get emotional.
I remember exactly where I was on this night in 1999. And with whom. A small gathering of family and friends. A boy with dreads to his waist and a voice like velvet. A boy who wrote songs for me--songs I still keep. A boy I wrote poetry for--poetry I still keep. A boy I loved.
I remember the feeling of anticipation so thick in the air as none of us really knew what to expect as the year rolled over into a new millenium.
I remember exactly where I was on this night in 2009 too. And with whom. A small gathering of friends. A clean-cut boy who I’d known for a lifetime and broke up with on the way to the party which, because of our long history of friendship, did nothing to spoil our fun. It was a good, clear awareness with which to enter a new year...a knowing that what I thought was love wasn’t, and a knowing that I wanted more, even if I didn’t know where I’d find it.
This year the only boy in my life is my son and, with respect to my love life, I’ve graduated from boys to men. Though...there aren’t any of those hanging around at present either. But I’m okay with it. Because the most important thing I’m leaving 2019 with is a deep, unwavering, and true love for my Self. Back in 1999 this depth of self-love was only a notion, a concept from a book, certainly not something I could grasp and hold onto. My, how I’ve changed in the interim.
In the last two decades I have fallen in love (countless times, some more deeply than others), gotten married, had a baby, gotten separated then divorced, graduated from Yoga Teacher Training, Gestalt Training, and Chef’s College. I’ve started businesses and folded them. I’ve lost far too many friends to cancer and suicide, nearly lost my only son to brain injury and championed him back to health with a ferocity that leaves even me breathless when I think back on it. I’ve travelled to roughly fifteen countries on six continents...deep into the Amazon jungle, to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and to the very depths of my own soul. I’ve let go of dreams that no longer fit and brought bigger ones to fruition. I experienced the most life-altering, profound, and gut-wrenching pain with the loss of my sister to suicide and come to understand grief in the nucleus of my every cell. I have learned that even within pain so immense and all-consuming, there is a way through and that somehow, inconceivably, life does go on and it does, despite it all, remain beautiful.
I have learned to draw boundaries, to honour my own truth, to maintain my integrity at all costs, to never make promises I can’t keep, to say what I mean and mean what I say and do the things I say I’ll do. I have learned the value of true friendship and community and that each requires nurturing, they don’t just happen. I have learned what it means to let go, that expectations are my enemy and surrender is my friend, that my perceptions of the world must always be willing to bend. I have learned the longer I live the less I know and that there is true beauty and fulfillment in approaching the world with a beginner’s mind at all times. I have learned to go slower, to do the things that make me breathe--that a deep breath can fix just about anything in an instant. I have learned to love the pause...the space between. I have learned I am capable of SO MUCH MORE, but it’s up to me to decide if more is better and, sometimes, it isn’t. I have learned that I have no time for mediocrity but that it’s okay to go easy on myself. And that my life doesn’t happen on someone else’s timeline or by someone else’s definition of success or ideas about who I’m meant to be. I have learned that the only person I answer to is me. I have learned that I love the feeling of never letting myself down and that it’s the tiny, daily habits of normal things like drinking enough water and taking my vitamins and going outside and leaving space for nothingness that get me the results I want. It’s rarely giant, sweeping gestures. And the same is true in friendship and in love. I have learned that the only guru I’ve ever needed resides right inside my own heart and I can count on my intuition to never lead me astray. I have learned to listen to the quiet voice inside and to make room for enough quiet time in each day, week, month, and year to be able to hear it.
I think, most importantly, I have located my own internal compass. I know who I am. I have remembered. I have remembered myself home.
Happy 2020. May your vision remain ever-clear. May love be within you always. May you never doubt the wisdom of your own heart. May every journey lead you back to peace.
And may you always remember yourself back home.
Home Sweet Home.
I love your guts.
Happy New Year.
A piece of poetry to send you on your way...
i wish you
more laughter than tears
more excitement than fears
more joy than sorrow
a richer tomorrow
i wish you
bliss and blessings
from below and above
most of all
i wish you love