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Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.—Yvonne Woon

Yesterday afternoon I returned to DC after a quick  jaunt to Oklahoma for family time. While there, Mom and I pulled out our calligraphy supplies, a sketchbook, and magazines to start my three-part end of year process: reflection, intention, action.

We lit a candle, played Bach for Book Lovers, and sipped tea for hours. Above you’ll see photos from the afternoon experience. It took us awhile to get familiar again with the calligraphy pen (I kept holding it upside down) and, once I did, I created my 2018 reflection and 2019 intention page.

I thumbed through my planner to mine those 2018 memories (more to be added) and let the ink blots become part of the process. A Rumi quote I recently found was added, “When a bird gets free, it doesn’t go back for remnants left on the bottom of the cage.” This hit me right in the heart. So much goodness in so few words.

Soften is the word that kept coming up for me and it just feels right. Our word (or theme/intention) of the year serves as a guide. When facing decision-making doubt, I’ll ask myself, “What’s the choice most aligned with softening?”

Tonight after hosting the New Year’s Mini Retreat at YogaWorks or tomorrow morning before hosting the New Year’s Salon, I plan to work on the action portion.

Below is more on the process and  audio HERE. I hope you enjoy . . .


The end of the year. Another completed chapter. Let’s tie a ceremonial bow around it and honor our evolution—highlights, lessons learned, struggles, dreams, experiences. Each of these played a role in the year’s unfurling.

Reflection

To awaken memories, set aside time to flip through places you kept notes and dates, such as your planner, online calendar, and journal. Scroll through your photos for visual cues. Pull out cards, ticket stubs, conference swag, and/or exhibit brochures (I keep these items in a shoe box wrapped in pretty paper labeled “memories”). Collect any mementos you may have tucked away from this year and pile it on your kitchen table.

According to Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters (interviewed on Tranquility du Jour), “The end-of-year review process is very similar to sowing seeds. When you plant a garden, you don’t sit and stare at the seeds until they sprout. You know that some will germinate and some will not, but it is not up to you to make them grow. All you can do is set the conditions for their growth with good soil, adequate water, and the right amount of sun. And that’s what this exercise does—and while you are sowing seeds during this period, you can be enjoying the fruits of the previous year’s harvest at the same time.”

Grab writing tools and paper. Sip tea and list what you recall from the year in no particular order and answer the above questions. Capture big moments (e.g. started graduate school) along with tiny ones (e.g. sipped a cherry limeade at the drive-in with Mom). Let the list flow.

Here are a few questions to help you get started:

  1. How did you spend your time? There are 168 hours/week and 8,760 hours/year. Where did yours go? Break it down into categories such as family, creativity, work, spirituality, etc. Compare where it went to where you’d like to see it go next year.
  2. What journeys did you take?
  3. What were your accomplishments and disappointments?
  4. What lessons did you learn?
  5. How have you grown from this time last year?
  6. How do you hope to show up this time next year?

Design a visual representation of the year by printing an assortment of photos and creating a collage. Or if you’re more techie, use an app like Collage Creator to assemble an electronic history that can be a desktop or image to share with loved ones.

Sometimes I paste a beautiful image pulled from a magazine into my art journal and list memories on it with a Sharpie. This reminds me of the year’s ups and down, allows me to express gratitude for what transpired, and honor the evolution. (This year I chose a white page and let the memories flow with a calligraphy pen).

After this process (which can take days, by the way), review your answers, images, hopes, and dreams. Light a candle to honor losses. Acknowledge how every experience has made your year unique.

Intention

Set an intention for what you hope to see unfold next year. Is there a word or theme that stands out? Picture yourself a year from today and note how you’d like to feel, what you’d like to have accomplished, what you’d like to have shed, where you’d like to be living, who you’d like to be with, and on and on.

Bring this person to life in visual format. Pull images from magazines that represent the feeling of the word you’ve chosen or the feeling of the answers you’ve written to the exercise above. Display this where you’ll see it regularly.

Action

Here’s where we bring some doing into our dreaming. In Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach wrote, “The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers, but above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”  What small steps can you take today (and tomorrow, and the next day) to move toward that vision you have for yourself this year? List these and add them into your planner.

You Got This

Allow this process to nurture who you are and who you are becoming. Sans judgment, simply observation filled with loving-kindness. Spread your wings and fly, dear one, and don’t go back to that cage. Bisous. x

Slowing Down with the Solstice

In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.—William Blake

Dearest, I hope my latest Love Note just landed in your inbox and that you were transported on a virtual tea date. Nurturing our senses, getting real, and connecting is Survival 101 this time of the year.

I’m knee deep in editing the new project I announced last week and am so excited about it that I’m having trouble sleeping. Ever get that feeling of being so alive and engaged in something that it colors your world?

Sometimes it’s a new love interest, that coveted job you’ve been after, or, for me, a project that you’re delighted to birth (or a pug I want to adopt—it’s been a whole year since I got a new rescue!). I can’t wait to share this with you in the new year!

Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year. The good news? Moving forward, the days get longer and brighter!

As we transition into this new time of the year, winter seems to give us permission to go within. You know, hibernate. To slow down and quiet, just like the natural world around us.

Looking for wintery activities to try over the holidays? Consider some of these below.

Enjoy a long afternoon walk. Stargaze. Snowshoe. Notice the moon (it’s full on 12/21). Put up bird feeders and keep them stocked. Make a pot of soup. Create warmth during the longest night by cuddling on the couch. Build a snowman. Ice skate. Collect pine cones to make scented pine cones. Volunteer. Sip vegan lavender hot cocoa.

Catch up on Tranquility du Jour podcasts. Schedule down time. Light candles. Try a 24-hour digital detox. Soak in the tub with sweet almond oil. Write. Practice kindness. Choose your charities for end of year giving (ahem, Pigs & Pugs Project is amazing!). Get crafty and create handmade gifts.

Watch this 1-hour video on ways to make your holidays less harried. Begin to wind down the year with deep reflection and a long nap by the fire. Rinse and repeat. Or, watch this 1-hour video on doing an end of year review.

Pause for a view of the full moon and set an intention. Wishing you a joyful celebration of the Solstice and a smooth transition into this season of slowing down. Bisous. x

NYC Delights

Last weekend I headed to NYC for a weekend of vegan nosh, ballet, yoga, and more with my friend Jenn who owns a lovely yoga studio in Montreal. During our whirlwind 48 hours, we stumbled upon a few new finds and hit staples, too.

In case you have a jaunt to NYC on the radar, I wanted to share these resources. I’ve also included three additional posts below highlighting previous NYC adventures.

Our first stop was Vegan Love, a tiny spot on East 10th that had lots of delights such as raw pizza, green juice, muffins, avocado toast, and more.

Next we headed to our AirBnB to drop our bags and then stopped into a corner cafe called 5C Cafe. Their menu had five vegan options so we noshed on mac and cheese and tacos.

On to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and pick up some goodies for her family. Oh, and stop at Eat By Chloe for a vegan cupcake. With full and happy bellies, we set out to see To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. SO good! We crawled home exhausted after a full day.

Saturday started at The Butcher’s Daughter followed by lots of wandering through Nolita, NoHo, and the West Village en route to our early afternoon ballet class at Joffrey Ballet School. Before ballet, we hit Moo Shoes and stumbled upon Sweets by Chloe for another cupcake and matcha lattes. To fuel our ballet, naturally. The class was amazing and Jenn did her first sous-sus (as shown above).

Post-ballet required vegan pizza at Double Zero followed by turmeric lattes and cake at Plant Made. Then we headed to Village East Cinema to see Can you Ever Forgive Me? Again, we stumbled home pooped. But not like the stumbling we saw with all the Santas who had been doing an all-day bar crawl. That was a sight. They had all started out so jolly and fresh as we headed to brunch that morning.

Sunday morning my feet ached as I slid out of bed. I stood in the shower for 20 minutes trying to warm up and relax my poor muscles. We packed up and hauled our bags to The Organic Grill for brunch. So very yummy and our waiter was a dear! Oh, and I ran into Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary there. Heart that man and his amazing work!

Our final stop was Jivamukti for a one-hour, 35-minute yoga class. But who’s counting, right? My body hadn’t moved that way in a long time and I felt like a puddle of body parts.

Jenn headed for the airport and I sat in their cafe sipping rose tea, noshing on my go-to Yogi’s Choice menu option—brown rice, spicy tempeh, steamed kale—and trying to recover from all the movement. Hello, anti-inflammatory.

Then I headed toward a Maison Kayser near the train station to have tea with someone I met back in 2004 at George Washington University Women’s Studies graduate program and we’re now both therapists (and aspiring ballerinas).

The journey culminated with a luxurious train ride home in the quiet car and a pick up by Tim and the pups. So grateful for this getaway, friendship, and all the tasty treats that we put into our bellies. Bisous. x

NYC Artist Date 2018
NYC Girls Weekend 2017
NYC Weekend 2012