365 days. A million more moments to see something new. To open my heart. To uncover more of who I am. To reclaim more light. To take up more space. To become more free.
This weekend marked the completion of the thirty-fourth year of my life. I am becoming increasingly more aware of the ways I am changing and the limitations that have shaped me. The stories are fading, the truth is emerging, and I am finally connecting to the woman who has been living beneath the chaos.
For most of this year I have been writing a book, a compilation of healing and heartbreak vignettes. Yesterday, two days after my 34th Birthday, I launched that book. Not only is it done, but it’s been born and is on its own journey in the world and into the hands of those who need it.
Given that I’ve hit two big markers in the past few days, I decided to take some time to reflect on what this year has brought me and the big lessons I’ve learned. Here they are:
I can handle anything.
There is something that changes when you fall into the darkness and take the long, slow road out. I’m not talking about holding on for dear life to get through the bumpy ride. I'm talking about something that happens when you surrender to the path of your healing. It has its own pace and rhythm. You can honor it or fight it, your choice.
If you decide to fight it, the pain worsens. You get stuck on track. I found myself there time and time again until I got the hint and lost my interest in shortcuts. I was willing to buckle down and do the hard work of healing.
Ripping off the band-aid doesn’t garner the same results. This slow, soakin’-it-all-in, takin’-my-good-ol’-time healing has changed me at my core. It has shed off layers that can’t be put back on.
I am forever changed, and I now walk with a confidence I wouldn’t have otherwise. My gait reminds me that I am stronger than I believed I was, and I can handle anything.
Focus on The Bright Side.
This isn’t the message in my book which is titled The Bright Side of a Broken Heart. The message there is to dig deep, dive in, and face every morsel of terror in your body. It’s about feeling it to heal it. No positive thinking or mantra work involved. No manipulation or avoidance tactics. It’s about the raw beauty of grief, heartache, and healing.
One of the biggest lessons for me this year has been getting to know the subtleties of energy. Those deep beliefs that it’s not safe to speak up, that we don’t belong, and that standing in our power will get us hurt? That’s the manipulative, dark energy in us that keeps us stuck and small.
I know it might sound like some kind of voodoo, woo-woo magic if this isn’t familiar to you, but I’ve witnessed this energy releasing in most of my clients and have experienced it myself. What I’m really talking about here is something I think anyone can get down with:
I’m a fan of being honest and keeping it real. For some of us, it feels like we’re being a fraud if we don’t voice the negative thoughts and emotions that are nagging at us. But what we are actually doing is feeding the energy.
Pulling ourselves out of the grip of dark energy feels impossible, but it’s actually quite easy. In the Breathwork groups I lead I often have people begin laughing. Sometimes there are twenty people in the room sobbing, and then I say, “Ok now let out a giant belly laugh!” The resistance is palpable. When you’re sobbing like that it feels like the sadness could go on forever.
But then people suddenly switch to laughter. They have to because I’ve told them to, and the stragglers who really resist end up caving into the contagious energy that is now rippling through the room. And then suddenly nearly everyone is laughing so hard they feel like they might never stop.
I often tell them to notice that switch, how impossible it felt, and how in a split second they made the choice to move from heavy to light. Focusing on The Bright Side is just like that.
Your moment-to-moment choices determine how you show up in life. If you keep focusing on the ways you aren’t being the way you want instead of the way you are, the energy that keeps you stuck grows.
Breathwork really works.
This is not news to me but something has shifted for me these past few months where I am noticing huge changes in the way my mind and emotions operate. If you read my blog or are interested in my work, I’d take a bet that you’ve got some experience with sadness, deep feelings, and intense emotions like me.
Our minds can easily judge others and ourselves. We can feel overwhelmed by our emotions. We can obsess over the smallest details and overanalyze encounters that leave us queasy. We can often feel we’re left the victims of our minds and our feelings.
I have suffered from mild depression throughout most of my life, having bouts of sadness and lethargy that seemingly couldn’t be explained. I have released an enormous amount of pain and heaviness I’d been carrying around for most of my life, some my own and some I have taken on from others.
In the past six months or so I have experienced close to zero moments of depression or anxiety. I understand my emotions pretty well now, and when I feel them piling on I breathe and release. I don’t find my mind constantly judging people or myself. I’m not shrinking myself down nearly as much, and I have been taking bigger risks.
My mind has lost its bitter tongue, and my heart takes up more space.
Breathwork works. After four years with this practice, I am in awe of how dramatically my life continues to change. My experience of myself and others is more compassionate. I enjoy who I am more. I take up more space. I feel more comfortable being me. I see the goodness wanting to burst through everybody.
It shows up in layers. There is always more to go and that’s what excites me. This is the best I have ever felt. A couple years ago I said the same thing and the year before that. How incredible to find something that makes you feel better and better with age?
Letting go is about trust.
In my firewalk on New Year's Eve I chose to work with the word trust. It’s a word I have written down every single day for over a year. Everything I have learned these past two years is about letting go, and letting go is about trusting.
I only hold on when I’m afraid. I hold on when I can’t see what’s ahead of me. I hold on when I don’t feel I am worth more. I hold on when I don’t trust I’m supported.
Holding on doesn’t serve me. It keeps me stuck. It holds me back from living from my truth: that I am someone who is worthy of love and beauty and goodness.
I let go by breathing. I let go by being willing to see more and grow more. I let go by putting in the work of letting go. I let go by focusing on what it means to trust.
When I’m connected to my intuition I know that I don’t need to see in front of me. It’s safe to close my eyes and be guided from within.
My connection to life has become rich this year, and that just so happens to be one of my Core Desired Feelings.
Goodbye, 33. The year that I found myself again and reclaimed those bits and pieces that were locked up and stowed away. I loved this year so, so deeply, and I’m excited for what adventures await.
Thank you for being here with me.
Fun Facts: Grateful for 33
- I wrote and published a book—which means I’m now an author!
- I walked on fire under the stars in New Mexico on New Years Eve.
- I held my first retreat in Joshua Tree.
- Many of my Breathwork circles have sold out.
- As I grow I see my clients growing like crazy—so rewarding!
- I worked with way more clients than the year before.
- I taught Breathwork to a group of 50 people at a music festival in the desert.
- I let go of a friendship that wasn’t serving me.
- I became obsessed with these Animal Spirit Cards.
- I camped on the beach under a full moon.
- I deepened my connection to the earth.
- I created the Choose Yourself Challenge.
- I rented a house in Joshua Tree and spent 4 days finishing my book without a soul in sight.
- I started a podcast.
- People started requesting to interview me.
- I continued into my second year as a Desire Map facilitator.
- I started teaching monthly Breathwork circles at WeWork in LA.
- I was featured in W Magazine’s September edition.
- I sang in front of people for the first time since I was 12.
- I did another round of Healer Training.
- I put in an offer on a house in Joshua Tree. Didn’t get it.
- My voice has opened and grown stronger.
- I upgraded from a studio to a 1 bedroom bungalow.
- Nature is calling my name, big time.
- I started a support group for writers, artists, and makers.
- I went surfing for the first time!
- I got really clear on the love I am ready for.
- I said no to things that weren’t aligned with who I am or how I want to feel.
- I forgave myself and the people who have hurt me.
- I discovered old beliefs and worked on healing them.
- I took an impromptu trip to Mt Shasta and swam in a silky lake.
- I treated myself to a night at The Ace in Palm Springs and celebrated myself on my Birthday.
- I let in more gratitude and love than I ever have before.