Happy New Year! Although I view Winter Solstice as my personal new year marker, we've officially crossed the more culturally popular new year and with that territory comes the just as infamous new year's resolutions. While I have my own intentions that I'm cultivating space for during this next cycle 'round the sun, I believe it to be equally important to take the time to reflect on the past year's wisdoms that have been received. It's become a Lumen Letter's tradition for me to share some of the more lasting impressions of learned lessons and insights gleaned in my own life. You can check out past year's reflections at my Lumen Letters archive. In no particular order, here are 18 of the more meaningful gifts I came across throughout my experience this past year. I truly hope these insights serve as inspiration for your own reflective process as we move into this coming cycle of the seasons, wheel of the year.
No.1: Bruised forearms by means of honing self defense skills feels so good. Even if it technically hurts, the tenderness seems to dissolve when the realization sets in that you're becoming a more badass, self-reliant woman. Training Krav Maga this year in Brooklyn not only provided another healthy outlet for the complex emotions I was navigating with preparing to move to the other side of the country, but created a sense of community and blossoming friendships that I'm immensely grateful for.
No.2: Getting a flat tire doesn’t always have to put a big damper on your day. Sometimes, it allows you a little more time to commune with sacred plants on a beautiful summer’s day in a mountain meadow with a kindred spirit.
No.3: Psychedelic space naps are rad. Also known as floatation therapy, I thoroughly enjoy how weightless sensory deprivation oftentimes leads me to deep sleep with trippy visions.
No.4: The PNW fall season far exceeded my expectations. Coming from an east coast, fall foliage native, that's saying a lot.
No.5. Sometimes, your life just falls into place so sweetly.
No.6: Never rent a home site unseen. Because a foot and a half of your ceiling height will be missing, along with over 150 square feet. And that bar/restaurant they told you about downstairs, well, it’s actually a nightclub.
No.7: Learning the traditional ways of sourdough bread baking from a dear woman is a very special thing. Thank you, Aline, for taking me under your wing and showing me the ways sourdough speaks.
No.8: Wherever you go, there you are.
No.9: I took to commuter biking like a fish to water. Sure, there were some awkward learning curves, but now I ride Broomy Blue all around town on the regular. She's my like my broomstick, carrying me through the currents of wind. Or the pouring rain. Literally, rain or shine, on cold mornings or sweltering afternoons - the weather won't stop me. Pedaling my way to rehearsal or teaching (it's such a great warm up!), I love the freedom of flying down a hill or cruising through the quiet neighborhood streets at night. Moving more outside was one of my intentions for 2018, and biking as my main source of transportation around Portland has contributed to fulfilling that intention.
No.10: Montana is so fucking beautiful. I never expected those words to come out of my mouth. If it weren't a landlocked state, I'd seriously consider moving there. Spend 5 days driving and camping through the state during the late spring, when the days are sunshiny warm, but there's still fresh snow on parts of the mountain terrain, and you'll understand the glory of this place, too.
No.11: Ask and you shall receive. While this doesn't always hold true, I did notice that it worked out in my favor, quite effortlessly too, more times than not.
No.12: Pro nuance, anti bullshit. I still want this on a T-shirt after seeing Joe Rogan sport it during one of his podcasts.
No.13: My health challenges regarding hormone imbalances and resulting cycle chaos has only brought me to closer connection, reverence, and gratitude for my body and it's intelligently complex beauty.
No.14: I do some pretty crazy things for my art. From pulling all nighters, cramped in a small box to create a stop-motion film, to rolling around in the mud like a pig. When it's to convey a message you wholeheartedly believe in, or to land the dance job you've been eyeing since last year, there are no regrets, it's always worth it.
No.15: Harvesting my own plant medicine is far more potent than buying herbs in bulk from the store.
No.16: Facilitating women's gatherings is kinda my jam. Having hosted 7 gatherings between NYC and Portland this year, I'm incredibly grateful for the community of women I've met, who continue to show up to be with one another in sacred circle and honor the importance of this work.
No.17: Continuing to come into your own as a teacher, and a movement professional, isn't easy work. To defy the held standards, to pave a new path, or follow one that has been long forgotten comes with a lot of resistance. The strong current won't keep me from swimming steadfast through the waters of nuance and awareness, though.
No.18: I made the right move.
May you appreciate and integrate the gifts from this year's past,
& embrace the opportunity to be filled with an abundance of graciousness in the year ahead.