New Year’s Day did not disappoint. It was everything I would have designed for myself. Maybe that’s because I did design it for myself. Following the treat of BF’s blueberry pancakes, I remained, for a healthy chunk of the day, at our Table of Truth, dressed cozy pajamas, surrounded by a year’s worth of moleskin, my calendar, and a new daily meditations book.
I am a believer in studying personal history–synthesizing events and feelings–enlightened by present knowledge. I had forgotten I eased into 2020 in bed, sick with a nasty cold and with sadness over the death of a dear friend. Little did I know how much sickness and loss lay ahead for humankind in the coming year.
By February’s end, I had taken up pickleball and an old-style aerobics class. We’d hosted Thanksmas with our kids and having Adi, Lily, and the rest of our family together under our roof was the highlight of my year. I’d taken two trainings and completed the first of my quarterly meet-ups with a group of like-minded seekers in Nashville, TN. I’d committed to try a plant-based diet for a year.
And then life halted.
My journals become a landing spot for rage, fear, sadness, and hope. I railed at our country’s tragically inept response to the coronavirus. I faithfully explored The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, completing daily exercises where I poked around my roots and events where I heeded my authentic voice and those in which I flat-out ignored her. Until I couldn’t anymore and quit after Chapter five. I pontificated about This is Us. Should Rebecca have given up her singing career to marry Jack? Will Kevin ever get his shit together? I pondered many a podcast and positive quotations gleaned from my Instagram feed.
I treasured the periodic visits with the midwestern kids and manifested a way to travel westward to see the others. Buying and setting up a camper proved to be more lifeline than distraction.
As I brainstormed ideas for my 2021 goals and mantra, I came up with the following list:
- Be curious
- Be open
- Follow joy
- Be brave
The influence of one of my favorite authors and podcasters, Brene’ Brown, reigned. I settled on a single, overarching goal:
I will step into the arena.
Sounds simple, right? And easy to work around. But Brene’ is quite clear that when we do step into that arena, we will get our asses kicked. I will get rejection letters and suffer criticism and be ignored. I will be made fun of and questioned. Self-doubt will sneak in. I will fall on my face. But it will be okay because I’ll be meeting my goal. I’ll be in it.
For the upcoming year, I’ve decided to share my second cup of coffee each morning with Melody Beattie’s, Journey To The Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul. She writes, “Pack your bags.” I love that sentence so much. She invites me to pack lessons from the past and excitement for the adventure ahead. To map my own journey and allow the adventure, sans judgement. To follow my heart.
As I literally pack The Freedom Express for a journey south toward sunshine, I pack the lessons of 2020 and my 2021 mantra:
As I step into the arena, may I be open, curious, and brave.
And for my guiding principle: