For 2013 and Beyond…
Deer Park Valley, 12/31/2012
If good intentions pave the road to hell, then what paves the gilded road to heaven? Perhaps the bricks in that road are cemented with discipline, and a mindful practice.
On this first day of the fresh new year, as many of us call forth our aspirations and name our goals, I also reflect on 2012 and the powerful transformations and liberations that it brought me. I journal to curate the touchstones of my own life—and not just the sweet, beautiful moments either. The sad, scary, embarrassing stuff is part of the story too, and I think those are the elements that actually make me fully human. Looking back through the archives of my life, it’s clear that 2012 broke me. Broke me down, open and through in so many ways. The self I thought I knew shattered into a million pieces, and the dust resettled in such a way that things couldn’t go back to how they were before, because those old grooves and spaces no longer existed. The only option was newness: new fits, new ways to be. I was forced to put myself back together differently, and in so doing I was transformed, emerging with a heightened knowledge of self.
Autumn of 2012 was filled with hard lessons and many blessings. It was a season of “yoga moments”, where deep breaths and the courage to cry, sleep, eat, sing, dance and laugh when I needed to was all that kept me from the potential depths of my lows. It was also a season of major milestones, achievements, and a new level of discipline that I didn’t even realize I was capable of. I’ve been grinding to get to this place, and I’m still grinding, so who knows where I’ll end up—but I’m certain that I’ll still be blessed. In the last couple of months I have created my own ceremonies and rituals. I have called upon community when I needed to, cherishing genuine laughter and new friendships, but also rejoicing in my solitude, feeling loved and held even when I was alone.
Today I’m back in LA after spending the last 5 days at the Deer Park Monastery in Escondido, where I breathed deeply, ate slowly, listened with an open heart to myself and to those around me, and smiled to my joy and to my suffering alike. Celebrating the arrival of the New Year in this way/ in this place was so powerful. My dreams were filled with clear messages and ancestral transmissions, and each mindful moment affirmed that I am right where I need to be—right on time, imperfect yet perfectly aligned. And on the last night of the old year, just when I began to think she may not appear at all, the moon came soaring fast and strong and bright from behind the mountain peaks, ascending to her place in the sky and eclipsing every constellation with the largest halo crown I’ve ever seen her wear.
I have so much gratitude for 2012. I surprised myself last year with my own capacity to forgive, to evolve and to surrender. In 2013 I aspire to embody what I wish the year would bring to me –compassion, acceptance, vulnerability, honesty, authenticity, kindness, love without fear and affection without assumption. I recognize how far I’ve come, how far yet there is to go, and how much joy is to be had in every step of this journey. There are decisions to be made, but more importantly, there are intuitions to trust and listen to. I’ll practice being still, breathing slow and deep, reaching out to the people on my heart, and smiling when I feel the sun on my face (and even when I don’t).
Each new moment is a new chance to get present and get free. In 2013 and beyond, I hope you all find balance, and the necessary courage and discipline to actualize the life you want to live. May you all learn from your suffering, and release that which does not serve you to make space for joy and new blessings.
Happy New Year!