I rarely get to see the stars at night. Having been living in Seattle now for a year and a half, it’s mostly grey days and hazy nights. Sometimes I am spoiled by the moon glowing through my living room window, but with the light pollution from the city the stars are amiss on a daily basis.
Yesterday I took a late flight out of Dallas on my way back from seeing my family in Florida and Alabama for the Holidays. The sky was crisp and clear as a pane of glass. I could look down to the speckle lit earth below or up to the twinkling dots lighting the sky. It was in this moment I realized what a rare treat they are. And being slightly closer, albeit still millions of light-years away they seemed more magnificent than times before.
I’ve had a lot of these pauses of appreciation for the smallest of details, the most minute of moments in this past year. It can often feel like these are insignificant, but I can tell you honestly they are what got me through.
I’m not going say that this year went to hell in a hand basket like many probably feel (justifiably!) It’s been an incredibly trying year for me personally, too. I know so many people close to me who lost loved ones, had their hearts broken more than once, lost their job, lost their pet, their child, fear for their personal rights, honestly the lost goes on.
What I’ll say is that 2016 was a year for these things. And while difficult, excruciating even this year has been, it has been so for reasons. 2016 was the year of letting go for many people, it’s a thematic part of the year. That looks different for everyone, as life always does.
For me, it looked like letting go of a secret I’d been harboring. Finally speaking the truth, bit by bit, little by little allowed me to heal parts of myself that needed to be recognized again. It was isolating, tormenting and at times felt like I would never let it go. As if holding onto it made me feel secure, when in reality the only thing I was holding on to was shame. Through this deep process of healing I deepened my friendships, strengthened my relationship with family, and mostly loved the hell out of the part of myself that still wanted to hold on. I won’t go into the detail of it all here because the intimate details are not important nor of value to you, though knowing of my struggle is.
2016 for me, had a lot of loss and heartache and I felt it on every level for loved ones that I knew were experiencing their own losses too.
At the same time, it had a lot of rich personal and professional growth as I deepened my yoga practices and studied Amba to become a certified yoga instructor. A ritual that has now shaped my every day.
I felt what it was like to have pure joy and utter sadness at the same time. That whenever possible you should make someone feel like they are the most special person in the world to you, simply because you can. I spent so much time in nature and probably too much time thinking about my next adventure.
With adventure, I’ve climbed more mountains and traveled overseas more in this one year than my whole life. I took a risk in galavanting for two weeks in foreign countries and promised myself that staring at the Duomo in Italy would never get old (it doesn’t!) I remember the details of my time in Croatia where I jumped off a cliff into the Adriatic. I hiked one of the toughest mountains in the Seattle area on a mission to release something only to find the time with myself was what I needed. I won’t forget the surprise birthday trip to Mount Rainier to hike in the snow. And I’ll cherish the moments spent holding my Grandma’s hand this year as she’s battled several health scares.
I didn’t hesitate when it came to flying across the country 4 times this year to see my family when I needed to because my intuition told me it’s what we all needed.
I adopted an animal, and formed a bond with Acme who continually teaches me the power of affection. This love that continues to crack open your heart heart after each loss of the previous animal before.
Last night before I hopped on the flight back home I posted on Instagram “In 2016 I learned_________” and shared “The truth always heals.” So many of you commented and what everyone shared touched my heart. Yes there was loss, and heartache and struggle in 2016 but so many of you realized deeper things about yourself, your worth, self-love and relationships.
I learned, among all of these things not to take the small moments of joy for granted. Don’t take seeing the stars or the moon as a given. Don’t take your friends smile, your dads hugs, your mom’s handwritten notes, or your grandpa’s laugh as permanent. I want to experience these moments so intensely to feel that they are tattooed on my brain, so I can conjure them up at any moment I need them.
There have been a lot of losses. But through them all, 2016 has given us massive growth opportunities. Whether you choose or have chosen to take them is up to you. And while we all want to blame 2016 for being a shitty year, I’ll agree, and then argue that it also taught me the value of those moments of happiness amidst the heartache.
It’s often said that in the deepest pain can be felt the most tremendous joy and I 2016 proved that for me.
What did 2016 do you for you?