As 2021 comes to a close, I must admit that it feels like it’s been one of the most challenging years ever.
I know there are so many arguably bigger challenges happening all around the world, and my hope is that writing a bit about some of my own personal challenges might be relatable, as well as offer inspiration for moving through whatever life may send our way.
So many wanted 2020 to be a distant memory as we entered into 2021.
I felt a new momentum in January, feeling new possibilities emerging, and having an amazing sense of productivity and motivation.
I continued in this way for a couple of months, writing copy for my new website, having productive planning and visioning sessions with a fellow entrepreneur, and falling in love with the new women who joined my Solace program.
Then March 22nd came. My home town of Boulder, CO was devastated by a mass shooting in a local grocery store. These kinds of things simply don’t happen in Boulder, or at least they didn’t.
The feelings of shock and sadness were so palpable. #BoulderStrong was the motto, and people joined together in whatever ways they could to be of support to one another, and find healing.
Yet, this proved challenging as Covid also ran through our communities. It was the final semester for my oldest son at his high school…his senior year…a time that was supposed to feel exciting, joyful, fun, and hopeful.
It crushed my heart to witness him and his classmates feeling so lost as the pandemic seemed to steal away experiences for them that might have served as rights of passage. Though I’m sure this pandemic experience will be a right of passage in itself, and part of their mythos!
My son graduated in June, and while the school did an amazing job of making the experience festive and beautiful, the restrictions and limitations were felt.
To top it off, my boys’ father struggled with cancer most of the school year, going through chemo and radiation, and culminating in a June 1st surgery that was followed by complications such that he couldn’t attend our son’s graduation events.
We felt deeply saddened, worried, and even a bit lost.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. This was not how we envisioned graduating our first child from high school and sending him off into the world.
And what kind of world is he inheriting? How do we meet him and all of his confusion? What does he need, and can we even give it to him?
These questions and many more were running through my mind, along with a slew of emotions and so much uncertainty.
I even lost two other friends to cancer this year. All a bit too much!
Yet we got through.
My boys’ father recovered and is now considered cancer free. We entered the summer with less in the news about Covid, and enjoyed a lovely road trip to North Carolina, visiting my boys’ grandparents, enjoying the magnificent ocean, and checking out the beauty of the North Carolina and Ozark Mountains on the way back.
Our travels felt peaceful, healing, and relaxing.
In no time, my youngest son was back to school, and a new school at that, as his other high school more or less fell apart in the prior year, and he longed for more than what they could offer.
Such a huge change! He feared whether he’d fit in, make friends, or have any ability to figure things out.
Thankfully, he loves it. He’s enjoying the teachers, playing basketball with a solid team of great guys, and just landed a lead role in the school musical.
Then, illness ran through the basketball team. My boys were ill with mild colds right after Thanksgiving. And, just as the colds were healing, we learned that Covid hit the team, and almost instantly on December 7th, my youngest and I had symptoms. His lasted about 2 days, while I was down with a high fever and what felt like torturous aching for 9 days. It was painful, and even a bit scary at times. My oldest followed, getting ill a few days later, but thankfully also moving through it very quickly.
I really don’t know what I would have done without my boys and the amazing dear friends who checked in on me and helped me through the trial.
There were many tears, some of discomfort going through the difficulty, but more of gratitude and awe at the beauty of friendship, and the love I was extended.
Apparently, I had a lot to burn out, and my fever certainly did a lot of work on me.
My covid experience made me quite weak, and as the year ends, I’m still recovering. Yet I somehow feel stronger for it all, and believe I’ll continue to build strength in ways I don’t yet understand.
We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas, and I felt grateful to have recovered in time to still enjoy the holiday as we did.
Then, on the second to last day of the year, our Boulder community was hit again.
Hurricane force winds ripped through the area, and grass fires were sparked. Over 600 homes were lost, shopping centers were leveled, and thousands of people were evacuated from their homes and/or left without power, gas and often heat.
When I saw the evacuation location list, one was listed as being “for those who are Covid positive.” I thought about the intensity of my illness, and started sobbing. I couldn’t imagine being ill at a time when I also could not be in my home. I still cannot fathom what those people must have been feeling, trying to navigate a serious illness while wondering if their homes would survive.
My boys’ father was a mile from the flames, and thankfully is home now, but lacking heat. Crews are working to restore things, but the devastation has been so challenging. I’m grateful for our safety and the warmth of our home, and yet grieving so deeply for all that has transpired around us.
The image of flames rising from neighborhoods burning on the horizon will be etched in my memory forever.
As this year comes to a close, and we sit in these Sacred Nights of Winter, or “time between the years” as they’ve been called, my thoughts are all over the place.
The uncertainty feels stronger than ever, and yet I feel a new resolve toward bringing more healing, resilience, love and wisdom to the world through my work and life.
With all of the difficulty, there has been a lot of joy and creativity too.
It was amazing to release my new website, and finally articulate more of my work. I loved offering more courses this past year with Becoming Effective, Mapping Your Sacred Year, and Wisdom of Fairy Tales.
And, despite all the challenges, my oldest son graduated! We celebrated with our road trip, and felt the joy of new opportunities emerging for all of us.
Fevers tend to be cathartic for people, often purging what’s not needed. I think I had a lot of old emotions…anger, grief, sorrow, doubt, etc…that needed to be released.
I still feel the stirrings of those emotions asking for my attention, and I’m doing my best to honor them with deep love and appreciation.
As I immerse myself in my annual Sacred Nights ritual of journaling, what continues to come to me is the importance of setting intentions…not just goals, but clear intentions that include a plan to move toward them.
Intentions have a sense of commitment, dedication, courage, and forward movement in them. When we declare our intentions, something immediately shifts. Intentions have an “I will” statement that goes with them, rather than “I hope to,” or “I’ll try to,” or “I plan to.”
Our crises become our teachers. We become resilient in the challenges we are faced with, and if we’re willing to see the transformation that comes, rather than simply label things as “good” or “bad” in our lives, we see that all is moving forward, living on in new ways.
May we all find resilience from our year’s challenges.
May we feel deep gratitude for the learning, the transformation, the emotional catharsis, and the wisdom gained.
May we use that resilience and wisdom to set new intentions that we truly commit to, declaring the life we long to create for ourselves and express in the world.
May we remember the love we have for others, and that others have for us, joining together in collaboration, healing and connection.
May our efforts and dedication transform the world just as we’ve been transformed toward love and wisdom.
Wishing you a blessed and transformative new year!