It’s that time of the year again. Time to wrap up the year with an an afternoon at home set aside to look back, reflect, and release. I’m in those liminal, in-between days now – perfect for drinking coffee while finding a balance of letting go and preparing for the journey ahead. Doubling-down on all of the holiday vibes. Committing to dropping into the 12 days of Christmas in ways that I have never done before. Enjoying and celebrating the festive feeling a little while longer than usual – or at least longer than most of society usually does.
I am in no hurry to move on. I feel no rush to clean up + clear out, though. I am aware of the energy of the new year and new beginnings. The mood is hopeful and fresh. Still, I feel very connected to the continuing Christmas season. And to slowly, intentionally release and wrap up the year that is now coming to a close.
So, as I allow myself these quiet, gentle days of an extended festive mood, I am listening to holiday music and watching those classic Christmas movies that have deep meanings for life. I’m eating leftovers, lighting the Christmas tree, burning the candles of the season, and donning the apartment with evergreen. The only thing I have removed is the Advent wreath – because Advent has ended. Now, is the time to indulge in the light and hope of Christmas.
And, today is my annual holiday wrap up. An afternoon dedicated to looking back over the year that is ending.
An Instagram post inspired me a few days ago and I decided that I would use that inspiration as my way to wrap up 2022. Instead of using journaling questions that I’ve used in years past, I want to share with you the questions that Leah (@featherpony) shared. They are so good, I think. Deep. Tough. And the perfect way to really reflect on the year.
So, here we go. Time to dig deep. Time to wrap up this year and unwrap all of the lessons.
What was the overall mood or theme of the past year?
I suppose if I had to choose one word to summarize the mood or theme of this year it would be love. But, not fluffy, kittens and rainbows, pink love. I mean deep, dark, messy, grief-filled, balanced, present, abiding love. It has been a year, once again, filled to the brim with highs + lows, joy + grief. And, to be honest, I think I’m exhausted. But, y’all. That is life. And this year, I’ve ridden the wave. I’ve been present. I’ve felt it all. And, the gift of all gifts is that I have been through it all with my love, my wife. As we say to each other now, “Through it all. Better together.” It has become our mantra, our motto, our focus, and our deep gratitude for the love that we share as we move through life together. And what a full-packed, deeply-lived life it is.
Did you set any intentions at the beginning of the year? How well did you stick to those intentions in the end?
I did set intentions. Or rather, not intentions, but a vibe. A mood. I gave up resolutions years ago. Then, I gave up goals. And finally, last year, I gave up intentions. Instead, I thought about what vibe I wanted to bring to my life. How I wanted to live my life. How I could align my life with my highest self.
So, I created a chart in my notes app on my phone. And here it is, in all its glory. With a newly added column where I have reflected on each of these vibes/moods/ways I wanted to live my life in 2022.
|THE VIBE: RHYTHMIC||THE WAY: Living in tune with the seasons + my body||THE END OF 2022 REFLECTION|
|Contemplative||Read, learn, study||I did read more. And listen to pods.|
|Monastic||Live mindfully by daily routines + rituals||Yes. Yes. Yes. This is how I breathe.|
|Cyclical||Follow nature + the moon phases||This is my life. Cyclical. Natural.|
|Evolutionary||Practice mindfulness through reflecting + journaling||I began writing more in my journal. And I started a Substack – which I looooove.|
|Creative||Blog + photography, Dancing||Photography-yes! Blogging-the least amount in 11 years. Dancing – no.|
|Inspiring||Plan monthly travel, art, + culture dates||Ok, no monthly travel. But, some weekend trips, a big summer roadtrip, and quite a few concerts + museums.|
|Present||Meditation + deep breathing, Laughter||To be honest, less meditation than the past years. But, a lot of laughter.|
|Grounded||Connect with nature, Movement||My balcony has been my deepest connection to nature.|
|Slow||Breathe, listen, mono-tasking (opposite of multi-tasking)||Oh, such a beautifully slow year.|
|Intentional||Align with my soul, follow my intuition||This has become like breathing to me.|
|Anchored||Meditation + breathing, Practice yoga||I went back to a kundalini class. It was magic for my soul.|
|Ancient/Ancestral||Read, Wisdom-seeking, Celebrate festivals/rituals||Yes to reading + seeking wisdom ways. A big yes to celebrating by writing.|
|Simple||Create a seasonal home: decorate/cook/host||I decorated all year long. Connected to the seasons. We hosted + celebrated.|
|Spiritual||Everything. All of it.||This is my slow, rhythmic, grounded life.|
What came up in the last year that was totally unexpected? How did you respond?
- Zola the cat died in April. It crushed us. We still think we hear her or expect to see her. She is deeply missed. Our little cutie. We talk about her and keep her memory close and alive.
- Our neighbor jumped to her death from her window beside our bedroom one dark night in February. We were traumatized. It took about 2 months to process it all. Some nights, like last night actually, I can’t even stand at my window.
What affirmations, thoughts, or ideas were your driving force?
I should have read this question before revealing our motto above. But, yeah, “Through it all. Better together” is definitely a life mantra that Lina + I share. In addition, the seasons of the year is the inspiration that guides me and reminds me that all is evolving, that nothing lasts, that the present moment is where I want to be. And that gets me through everything. Reminds me what is important. And gives me hope.
How did you do when it came to setting and enforcing your own boundaries?
I just read something today that challenges the idea of setting boundaries and it resonated with me. I’ve never been one for putting up walls. I’ve always been an open book and thought of others – even more so than myself. So, I understand the purpose of this thought of setting boundaries and prioritizing yourself. We need to care for ourselves. But, in a contemplative, grounded way. In a way that allows me to be emptied and united. To release my self of false self and remember the divine spark that is connect me with you and everyone else. There are no boundaries. We are all love, cosmic stardust, mother earth. So, yes, I need to make time to nurture my soul, to remember my true self. But, I do it so that all boundaries, all walls, all differences, all injustices, all inequalities might one day be broken.
What is something you wish you did differently?
It’s simple things. Move more. Little day trips more often. Nurture + expand my connection with nature. To give you a preview of my thoughts on 2023, I feel like I am ready to emerge from a few years of being a hermit. Years that I needed them to be what they were. But, this coming year feels like an outward-focused year. A deep dive into indulging in life.
What is something you wish you worried about less?
I want to worry less about feeling tired and making time for rest. I want to live with the idea that the more I do, the more energy I will have. I don’t want to think that I need the weekend to rest up, to recharge my batteries, to do nothing so I am ready to face the world again on Monday. Nope. I’m calling in less worry about feeling tired + more energy to expand and grow and create.
In what ways did you feel most vulnerable or pushed outside your comfort zone?
Well, all of the grief and hard times just challenged me all year long. Disappointment, fear, sadness, trauma, crisis… they left me feeling vulnerable. Like I was walking around with my heart on my sleeve, emotions close to the surface all the time. But, I have grown so much from it all.
However, if I am thinking pure challenge that rocked my world, I’d have to say my new job. I have been essentially creating a program from scratch. Literally nothing. And, while it is amazing, I have been overwhelmed from time to time with the responsibility that has fallen on my shoulders. Still, I am so up for the challenge. It feels right. And it is definitely the next step I needed in my professional life. The thing is… I’m not exactly sure where it is leading. Only time will tell, I suppose. And the only thing I can do is to keep stepping out of my comfort zone. It feels like the sky is the limit!
Well, that’s a wrap, 2022. You were a beautifully deep year. Filled with all the things of life. Birth (my niece was born in May!) and death (Rest in peace, dear Zola). Sadness and joy. Pain and pleasure. Grief and trauma and disappointment. But, also beauty and art and wonder. Here’s to you, twenty twenty-two. And to closing the book on this year, whose pages are filled with love and meaning. What more could any girl want?
See you soon on the first page of a new book, just waiting to be filled with stories and memories and more deep love.