It’s increasingly important to me to take time to reflect on my life. One of the most helpful things I’ve learned is to slow down. Even in everyday situations and moment by moment, I slow down to become aware of my own needs, wants, what of my own shit I am projecting into the present moment and choosing how I want to react moving forward. This has helped me become the person I want to be – someone who can calmly, consciously choose my reactions in life instead of being at the mercy of my emotions and past programming. Day to day I sometimes lose sight of the progress I’ve made but in taking some time to reflect on an entire year, it’s clear where my healing has happened over the past year.
2017 started interestingly – I impulsively decided to join a yoga teacher training and Trump had just become President. This year has brought a lot of political changes and turmoil – many angry people and lots of people turning on each other. Anger and hate and debating to no end. This really took a toll on my mental health as I was very angry that anyone had even voted for someone so blatantly hateful, and I was concerned for the safety of my country. I realized a large part of the last months of 2016 and the first few of 2017 I carried a lot of anger in my heart.
Yoga teacher training helped me observe this anger and hatred without judging myself for it. This was one of the most helpful, healing things I have learned to do this year – to identify an emotion, why I feel it, and just let it pass. Observing without obsessing over trying to fix everything was an incredible way to freedom.
Many times in yoga teacher training we sat and discussed things that made my skin crawl. It was uncomfortable to face myself but in the end, this is what had to happen. I learned to sit with difficult emotions and show compassion to myself in ways that I may show my friends. For a long time, I felt like I was stuck and feared difficult emotions and the continuous ups and downs in life. I was so confused on how you effectively dealt with the roller coaster and didn’t get pulled down to the lowest places. In yoga teacher training someone told me I was “stuck in the hallway.” I’d moved through the first door but the second door was a little harder to move through.
Now that I’ve moved through the second door, I realized it was a door of surrender. It can be the hardest part of the spiritual journey – to fully trust the bigger plan, the Universal plan, the cosmic plan. To know that you’re right where you should be, even in the hardest times. To understand that even the lowest times have a purpose, and it’s not to torture us – it’s to help us grow. Once I reached this point, I felt a whole new level of freedom, happiness, and fulfillment.
Graduating yoga teacher training was surreal. I remember idolizing my yoga instructors and I never thought I would be one. It’s an honor to be able to teach yoga and bring this beautiful philosophy to people. I look forward to all the things I can learn over my lifetime to deepen my understanding of this beautiful practice.
At the beginning of the year, I also changed jobs. I was burnt out in my current job and decided to change jobs within the same agency. It ended up being a great move – I love my job and love the people I work with. It was the right move!
Soon after yoga teacher training, I went to Maui. It was my first time in Hawaii and I LOVED MAUI! While I was there I thought that maybe I had a past life there, which was the first time that had ever entered my mind. I felt at home there. I had time to explore the island, hike to a beautiful waterfall, and drive the Road to Hana. I went to a writer’s workshop and learned a lot about writing the type of book I want to write. I met some really wonderful people! It was an amazing experience.
Summer went by awfully fast. Andrew and I saw Tool AND APC this year. I also read Maynard’s semi-autobiography. AND this Christmas I got a lot of Alex Grey stuff including a blanket, calendar, AND signed Lateralus album. It was pretty amazing.
One of my good friends from when I was young got married. Another had a baby. My cousin had the first baby of our generation and it was amazing. I taught my first yoga for beginners series. I’ve taught my first gentle yoga classes. Andrew and I tried a Volkswagen car show and it was a blast. We went to a food truck festival for the first time. In October I was able to stay in Hawaii with my entire family and meet the newest addition to our family. Hawaii twice in one year – once on my own, and once with my family to meet the little one?! – I am beyond lucky. I also read a lot of books and listened to Stephen King read an excerpt from his new book and he was only 20 feet away. Dream come true.
Harley had to have a surgery on her ACL. She did wonderfully and is healing great. I was so nervous to have her go for surgery but it worked out okay, and she is in less pain. The other dogs are doing good too and we’ve created quite the little family here – I love it.
The holidays weren’t too bad. I think I’ve really worked on myself over this year that I experienced the holidays differently this time. I was able to more effectively sit with my emotions and memories and not go straight into a panic attack. I had one big one but that’s an improvement from years past. I chose to not do gifts this year besides some for Andrew and my sister who was picked for me to be her secret Santa. It was a lot less stressful this year but I would have enjoyed getting gifts for other people too. I ended up going away to Kripalu for a meditation retreat a few days before Christmas and came home Christmas day. It was a great experience and I’m wondering if I’ll want to go next year for something similar. It gave me time to reflect but it was the first time I had ever been away from my family on Christmas Eve and morning. I was able to celebrate with my Dad’s side of the family Christmas day, Andrew’s family a week later, and Andrew and I had our own Christmas on New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve has always been a special time for us. It was our original official date that we became a couple – way back in 2005! We went for a delicious dinner and went to see Star Wars. We usually go to Boston but wanted a more low key evening but it ended up being wonderful.
The start of 2018 has been interesting. Within the first week, I started a no sugar added nutrition plan, got a really shitty head cold, and got my period haha. It’s been an interesting week but I’m glad to be able to relax this upcoming weekend!
I hope you enjoy some of these pictures from 2017. Thanks for reading – infinite love to you all.