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12 months + 12 blessings: My annual Thanksgiving tradition

I can hardly believe that it’s Thanksgiving already again, you guys.. And, since it’s time for turkey day + all the trimmings, it’s also time, for the 3rd year in a row, for me to count my blessings here on the blog with a post all about some very important memories from this past year. I chose to keep this tradition going because it is a good way for me to focus on all for which I have to be grateful. The good, the bad. The tough, the amazing.

And, on this day especially, this post serves to celebrate all of the blessings I have, instead of focusing on the very real pain of living in a country that doesn’t celebrate this very family-oriented, simple holiday. Sometimes you just gotta make your own happy. So, that’s what this annual, looking back post is all about: the joys + the sorrows, the challenges + the beauty, the highs + lows, of living in the midst of all of the feelings.

And, since last Thanksgiving, there have been all of the feelings. Not really low lows or even high highs; but the whole year has been a rather internal, intense year when I think about it. I’ve slowed way down, turned deeply inward, and embraced many of my contemplative + nature-loving ways.

So, as there have been so many moments + memories made, one thing is certain: these past 12 months have had a fairly deep, heavy feel to them. A kind of sinking down into my soul feeling. And, I suppose that’s just how I intended it to be when I cast my vision + chose my word of the year… rooted.

This past year I have rooted. I have dug down into my own soul. And I have created a deep foundation of wisdom, magic, and connection with the earth. It’s not until right now, as I write this, that I really realize that I have truly manifested a rooted, grounded life.

There is a serious, calm, stable vibe that I carry with me now. A sense of knowing, even more deeply, who I am. But, enough with the words now. Let’s countdown 12 moments of 12 blessings from this past year.

December

As soon as Thanksgiving was over last year, I found myself immersed in the darkness of December. I remember it now as a very calm, quiet, silent time. A month, even in the midst of everyday life, filled with dark mornings + silent meditations. And it was the first step in what would become a year of living with the seasons. What I mean by that is that I followed the patterns of nature throughout the year. Flowing with the seasons + the natural themes that arose:

Winter is the dark, slow, cold, contemplative season. And I did my best to live my life in the same way. Wandering near home, cozying up with candles, and spending much time in meditation and with family.

Spring is the season of creativity, of waking, of movement, of being born again. A transitional time. And, as you will see below, that is exactly how my day to day life unfolded.

Summer is the season of light, life, fun, and free spirit. With vacation + travel, I followed that carefree vibe of summer every single day – exploring, resting, laughing.

And, finally, autumn begins the season of turning inward again. Death, transition, change, harvest, surrender, and letting go. I flowed with the moody, warm, deep inner flow of this season as well. Letting my year of living with the seasons comes to a close.

On the winter solstice last December, I committed to letting my daily life reflect + manifest the mood + the vibe that was so easily seen in the seasons of the year as each month passed. It would be a grounding, rooting, stabilizing, magical way of living. And, it all began in December. For this journey deep into my soul’s connection with Mother Earth, I am eternally grateful. It has, I must say, transformed my life + confirmed that the belovelive way of life, for me, is a wild + sacred way of living.

January

Lina + I switch off celebrating the holidays in Sweden + in the States. Last year was a Sweden year, so we were with Lina’s family. But, my parents offered to fly us over to the States after Christmas Day to spend a couple of weeks with them – and how could we turn that amazing offer down?! So, we did just that. We had a late, but no one could really tell, Christmas celebration with my mom, dad, and brother. And, then we just spent the next 10 days hanging out together. We didn’t visit anyone else. We only saw a few friends on New Year’s Eve. We spent every single day with my brother. And it felt just perfect – and we all really needed each other.

February

It finally snowed in February. Like a lot. And I basked in the beauty of our nordic world. There is a little hill + rock + group of trees about 2 minutes from my home, and I found myself being drawn there almost every single weekend morning, observing + waiting + watching as the sun peeked over the horizon earlier and earlier with each passing day. I noticed the changes from week to week, and I felt my soul slowly beginning to wake from the dark winter.

March

If there was snow in February, there was even more in March. Just as we were starting to really crave spring, winter decided to hold on. So, what to do? Well, with the energy of spring creeping in, even under the snow, Lina + I decided to repaint our bedroom. It was time for a change, time for a rebirth, time for something new. We gathered all the supplies + made a super fun project out of it. Working together. Drinking beer. Laughing. Listening to music. It was a paint party… bringing new energy + new vibes to our home. And it was so much fun.

April

April knocked me off my feet. Literally. I thought I was entering the month ready to get moving, ready to burst into action (action to what, I didn’t know). But, instead, I found myself exhausted, in pain, and unable to do anything except go to work + come home. Once at home, all I managed to do was sit in bed. Read some. Watch Netflix. It felt like I was hibernating. And I wanted to do just the opposite.

But, my body said “Slow down. Even more. Don’t keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. This is the rebirth you were looking for. This is how to live in the present moment – to honor your slow, contemplative soul. You’ve got to slow down.”

So, I didn’t take pictures. I didn’t write on my blog. I didn’t do anything that I didn’t have to do. And I emerged in May more grounded, rooted, and contemplative than I ever thought I could be. It’s so hard to explain all of this in words…. it’s just so deep within me. And damn near impossible to express.

May

At the beginning of 2018, two new people popped into my life. Nadia, my new colleague at work, and her husband. I had been on the committee to interview her + I knew she was the right person for the job (and for me). Turns out, she was more than I ever could have imagined. She was my soul sister that I’d never met before, but known all my life. And she + her husband quickly became daily members of me + Lina’s life. All winter + spring we did everything together.

Then, when May rolled around, spring really emerged + everything came back to life… including me. I remember Nadia + I sitting together in the hot sun of the first weekend in May declaring from our souls that we were going to soak up May one day at a time. We were going to fully live these early summer days – no waiting for the weekend or summer or time off. We pledged to sit outside, drink beer, feel the sun, dance, listen to music, laugh, eat out, and whatever else we wanted day after day. And the 4 of us did just that. Damn, it was so beautiful.

June

Ahhhh… June. Lina + I bought a grill. We bought outdoor lounge chairs. And we bought an outdoor umbrella. We decided… fuck it. We don’t have a balcony yet, and it’s a pain in the ass-ish to get around to our backyard, but we’re gonna make a cozy, perfect outdoor space just for us. So we did. And we basked in it all month long. Hot sun. Cool drinks. Grilling out. Weekend after weekend. Just taking it slow + easy. Simple. No fuss. No mess. Just enjoying what we had, where we were, and the magic of our own backyard.

July

Time to fly! After a quick weekend trip to the Swedish archipelago, we hopped a plane and went to North Carolina for a month. We did all the things we do. Hung with family. Drank beer. Met up with friends. Road-tripped with my parents. Enjoyed the mountain views. Ate out at restaurants every damn day. Drank more beer. Spend all the time with my brother. Prayed that it would never end.

We also made it down to the beach for the Reynolds family beach week + spent an almost whole day gettin’ our annual New York City souls filled.

August

Back home in Uppsala, Sweden + after one more week of vacation, it was back to work + back to regular life. But, for Lina + me, this is the first time in perhaps the 10 years that we’ve been together that life is actually “regular”. From moving countries, to applying for residence permits, to sickness, to school, to job losses, to crazy amazing experiences too, things have constantly been shifting + changing for us ever since we met.

And, yes, that has all been exciting + tough + wonderful + challenging, but it feel so fucking good to settle down. Stabilize. Get rooted. And find our stride. I wouldn’t change anything of the past experiences we’ve had – not a one. And, we are absolutely aware of the privileges we’ve had + the shitty shit we’ve faced. And we’re grateful for it all. But, we are so damn grateful for life right now. Regular ole damn life.

September

I turned 44 in Septmeber + it felt magical. The thing is, I can’t really say why. It just did. It felt right and good and steady. Already in September I had begun to realize that I’ve been growing into my own this year. In a very slow, very calm, very deep way. So, I have just felt it. Just gone with it. And just trusted that I will be able to understand + express it better as I get more perspective.

There was nothing flashy or different or exciting about September, but it was all magic. The magic of work, of home, of being in nature, of just living.

October

October is easily one of my favorite months. It’s mysterious. And, as the harvest comes, the year comes to a close. I felt those endings deeply this year. As a sense of letting go, surrendering, and saying goodbye. The darkness crept in + so did I. As if I could go any deeper within my soul, I did. But, in doing so, I wasn’t (nor have I been all year) pondering + discovering + uncovering deep jewels or nuggets of gold hidden within me. No, I wasn’t (nor haven’t been) thinking about it all. I’ve just been experiencing.

Living. Reading the signs of the day. Touching the trees. Talking with the birds. Watching the moon. Feeling the wind. Sitting in the dark. Sometimes writing, sometimes not. Sometimes meditating. Many times not. I have felt + intuited my way through every moment. Moment by moment. And that’s pretty much the only thing that I have consciously done. Been in the moment. Consciously created a sense of cozy, grounded, calm in each moment. Like I said, felt + intuited my way through it all.

November

As usual, I wanted to sit in the dark in November. It is the dreariest month of the year. And the darkest. It’s between October’s day of the dead + the winter solstice in December. The holidays are not yet upon us. So, it’s just dark. And all I want to do is sit in it. I want to gather all of the feelings + thoughts + vibes from the past year, hold them close to me, set them all around me, and let them soak into me. I want to let the potential of the dark swirl within me and allow the mystery of the conception of a new year, a new birth begin right here with me, in the dark.

But, November never turns up as a slow month in my daily life. It is always just the opposite. Work is demanding. There is much to do. And, as I so desperately want to follow the pattern of nature, life begs of me to be active + out there + awake + aware.

And, yet, maybe that’s exactly how it is supposed to be. Because, when I find myself being pulled in many different directions, it is then that I must choose to be slow. I must choose to bring that grounded, rooted, stable, calm sense of being right out into my everyday life.

So, November is the month that seals it all in for me… all that I have learned this past year. All that I have for which to be grateful. This is the beginning of a new year, of a new cycle of the seasons. And, for me, this is the beginning of embodying my wild + sacred, contemplative + mystic, grounded + rooted life. This is where I take the depth of 2018 + bring it into the light + life of 2019. 

For this journey, for all of the years of my personal journey in life, I am eternally, deeply, inexpressibly grateful on this Thanksgiving Day. And, for each of you that stop by here whenever you can, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here + for being you.

Wishing you joy + comfort, magic + blessings of light + love, to each of you as the holiday season begins. Happy Thanksgiving, wild + sacred souls. 

xoxo. liz.

Published in the seasons year summaries

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