I think this is an important read. Which feels weird to say because I’ll be using it through the scope of my own experience but I think it applies across everyone’s lives as we end and begin a year (especially).
If someone were to ask me what was 2022 like, I would immediately say- rough, difficult, emotional, a struggle. A year of self doubt, hesitancy, and uneasiness. If someone asked if I would repeat 2022, I would answer no right away. Without thinking I would say 2022 really kicked my ass, no thanks.
All of the hard things I experienced were very much real and alive and difficult. It made the many days they existed in my life feel heavy and dark but if I were to take a moment to reflect on the year, I would change my answer.
Yes, it was hard. It really challenged me and left me exhausted…but with all of those hard times….so much good came. So much good that with a knee jerk reaction I would overlook and chalk 2022 up to a hellish year. But in reality, there was so much I gained. So much.
I gained life altering and life long lessons from the hardships I faced that will go on to benefit my life going forward in both measurable and immeasurable ways. I gained new friends, I gained a new community of like minded people which can be really hard to find when you’re a tree hugging, liberal, yogi in rural Kentucky. I graduated both my 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training and my Level 1 Warriors at Ease training that lead me to feel confidence I had yet to experience as a yoga teacher and now I show up and work with the military and veteran community daily, which was my biggest goal and greatest “career” desire. I’m excited to see how that evolves and grows.
There were a lot of mental health challenges and revelations that have now improved life 10 fold in my household. I had so many hard conversations and tough choices that have now led to greater outcomes and relationships that will carry forward. I had to continue practicing using my voice up against louder ones and what I’m left with is more self confidence and trust in myself, my words, and my choices.
I learned to let go when I used to grasp so tightly. I faced a lot of fears and held my breath a lot (which is so ironic, I know). But in those moments I continued to move my feet forward both literally and figuratively despite a piece of me begging me to cower and in the end I got to see that everything ended up ok. Another reminder that I can do hard things, that we can all do hard things.
I was let down by people and surprised by others. I encountered more kind, empathetic, and loving people than not and realized and learned that the ones who were not those things were hurting in their own way and to give them grace while also protecting my own happiness.
I learned so much more too but I think the important thing for everyone to try and see (and it’s not easy), is that in the darkness there is light too. We don’t have to snuff out the light because the dark felt so heavy. We can feel two things at once on the opposite end of the spectrum. We can feel both tired and sad but also alive and happy. Feelings are visitors and they don’t last forever. Moments can feel hard but it’s the journey that’s important. Life is a rollercoaster and it always will be. If we can count on anything, it’s change. If we can find our breath and allow that to be our anchor, we can make it through anything.
I’ll end this with my favorite poem of all time. It’s a hard one to read and accept because as humans discomfort is something we try and escape but ultimately it only brings us more suffering.
Happy New Year, my friends.
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.