We are moving away from the darkness and into the light.
Winter Solstice (December 21st) became my favorite holiday the year that I started attending my friend David’s annual Solstice party, where people gathered together, cozy and contemplative, to reflect on the past year, light a candle, eat, drink, and sit by the fire. The celebration was simple – no gifts, no prescribed meals, no fancy outfitting. Simple and true, Solstice stood out to me as a day to lay things bare. The stripping away of the year’s performance – the chance to reset, to consider, to start again.
This Solstice, I reflected upon 2019, a year that hardly seemed there at all, it flew by so quickly. And yet, when I give time, all of the elements are there – 2019 was a year of lovely and hard things, and a year of lessons and growth, as all the years are.
With gratitude, I confess that this year’s “something lovely” came to mind quickly and easily – it was the stitching together of meaningful community. I live in New Hampshire, a rather rural and removed place, in a comfy space with my husband and my cats. This is a lovely thing in itself, but (and) I’ve been desperately trying to figure out how to fill in the social gaps left by having limited access to the people in my life that all seem to be so far away from me (in Pennsylvania, and Florida, and Poland – you know, places that aren’t quite so drivable…).
And I’ve kind of nailed it. This year, I seem to have created a lifestyle that is conducive to travel and the freedom to see everyone I want to see. This freedom has been hard won, highly prized, and the result of strategy and prioritization. I’m proud of it and I can’t believe I’ve made it happen. I see my people often now, and I can’t think of anything I want more in this life.
2019 brought difficulties, like every year does. I transitioned out of a group practice and began my private practice this year, and that’s a Scary thing. I took more professional risks this year than I have ever before, and it was anxiety-producing and exhausting (and also sensational).
I learned about tech and marketing and bookkeeping and all manner of sordid but necessary nonsense, and ultimately also learned about my own strengths and limitations (ie: Marketing – I’m okay at it! Bookkeeping – Nope. Outsourced). New, interesting, hard stuff.
I’ve always believed that the hard things are generally worth doing, and this has been no exception – but yes, it was hard, and I’m happy that the initial year of putting this thing together is complete. Onward.
It’s hard to put a finger on this one, but I believe the word for what I’ve received in 2019, more than anything else, is grace. I’ve shared a lot of myself, in writing and in conversation, with colleagues and with friends, and I’ve been surprised at how generous others have been with taking me at my word. I’ve felt heard; often deeply so.
What I’ve received, I guess, is the undying support of the people in my life, and the grace that they extend in giving me room to become myself, time after time. I rarely feel judged, I frequently feel cared about, and I sometimes feel understood. What an incredible gift, to be free to say what I think and feel, and to change my mind as I do.
Something Set Free
This is a big one. Starting my private practice meant a lot of things, but most notably, it meant that I’d have to take good care of my fears about my own capabilities, and really embrace the notion that I have something of worth and value to offer to others. I felt ready at the start of the year – my belief in myself is strong – but even still, letting go of the reigns (and the paychecks) completely and fully trusting in myself required no small amount of courage.
I still have the fearful parts (they don’t go anywhere, you know), and I spend time and energy hearing them out and nurturing them accordingly. The faith in myself is what feels most defining – this honest evaluation that I am safe and free, that there is really nothing to fear.
We are moving out of the darkness and into the light. We’ll revolve around the sun again, and the time will surely have a bounty of new lessons, joys, and pains attached to it, as it always does.
It’s been a year. What’s it meant to you?
Cheers to all.