2016 is coming to a close and not a moment too soon for me. Wow, what a year!
As I reflect back on 2016, I am reminded of the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”
Like so many of you, I have had my share of life challenges, including running smack into menopause last April. Oh my goodness! I was not prepared for the sleepless, sweaty nights and angry bursts that came out of nowhere. It seemed like I lost all my spiritual grounding and regressed to a toddler-like capacity to control (or really not control) my emotions.
It was in the second month of my menopausal adventure of having gotten no more than two hours per sleep on any given night that the worst news of the year came: my husband Toby’s diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia, a chronic pain condition that afflicts him in the mouth and face. It seemed to take over our family life in every possible way. I tried my best to muscle through, using my intellect and willpower to fight this thing along with Toby. I researched and advised, I prayed and empathized, I bargained and pushed, and none of it helped. In fact, my efforts only made things worse.
It was then, at the very bottom of that failure, when I found myself facing the powerful awareness that there was nothing I could do about this situation. This was one thing I couldn’t fix or fight my way through. I simply had to surrender. I felt like I had been ushered into the crucible formed from my life and asked to burn away all that was no longer serving me. Without much choice, I agreed.
I found it amusing that earlier in the year I had bought an original work of art depicting a gorgeous phoenix rising out of flames. As the burning continued, it seemed no area of my life, personally or professionally, would be spared. It wasn’t my first choice by the artist, but the other painting had already sold. That beautiful phoenix kept me going day after day as the need to surrender wore on.
Finally, in the fullness of my fiery surrender I found an amazing and painful truth that changed my life. I discovered that no matter how much I might not want to think about it, I am Alone in this human experience. No one can walk my journey for me. I have to do it myself, with Spirit beside me of course. But there is nothing that says the people I love have to stick around while I do it. Coming to grips with this was oddly liberating. I began to notice how often I had overlooked my own needs while trying to rescue others – many of whom weren’t all that pleased by my interference.
I became willing to give up all my old ways of relating and I began to rise from the ashes of all that had burned.
Months later I am still adjusting to the harsh reality of living with a loved one in chronic pain. I honestly don’t know how I would have survived this year if not for a small group of women whom I affectionately call my soul-sisters.
Last January I had the foresight to send out an email invitation to several close friends proposing that we read some good books together, kind of like a book club. We laugh about it now, referring to our circle with giant air quotes as a “book club.”
Our circle of 8 women turned out to be a hot-house of comfort and transformation for each and every one of us. We brought our sorrow and pain, along with our delight and joy into the circle every week. Yes, we read some books, including the powerful “Red Hot & Holy” by Sera Beak, but what we really did was share vulnerably from our hearts and listen deeply to each other. We explored the edges of who we thought ourselves to be. We found the courage to dive into the change that our lives were demanding of us. We created a safe and sacred place in which we could unravel our knotted stomachs, expose our broken hearts, and reweave ourselves back together into peace and surrender.
The gift of that circle has compelled me to offer circle work to other women in the coming year. I feel a deep calling in my soul to facilitate opportunities for other women to experience the nourishing gift of sisterhood that I have had this past year. And I am ready to answer this call. More on that later.
I found out only recently that 2016 was a Nine-Year in numerology. That means it was a year of completions and endings. Old paradigms and out dated ways of thinking were bound to fall apart. Well, Duh! I can tell you without a doubt that my old way of working no longer works! This year I had to find a new way to show up to life. And I am thankful to say that, as hard as it was to make the transition, I like the new way infinitely better than the old.
I know I am not alone in the challenges I faced this year. It was after all the year of the fire monkey according to the Chinese calendar. “Let go or be dragged,” was the mantra of the year – and oh was that right on for me!
For many it’s been a year full of unexpected outcomes, reversals in fortune, challenging relationships and plans on hold. But 2017 is a One-Year, a year of new beginnings – more so than most years, 2017 is calling us forward with the promise of a fresh start. The seeds we plant in 2017 will be with us for the next nine years!
I, for one, am ready to release the old and make way for the new. I am ready to consciously create a life of greater grace and ease. I am ready to set my heart ablaze and experience more passion and joy.
And I am going to do it in sisterhood.
January 7th 2017, I am joining with two of my beloved teaching colleagues and soul-sisters Laura Wolf and Robin Rose Murphy to offer a Women’s Power Retreat to give others a taste of the amazing healing power of sitting in circle. Whether you have sat in circle for years or are new to the idea, I invite you to come and check it out.
During this Women’s Power Retreat, we will share simple but potent feminine practices to help you:
• Feel energized, relaxed and vibrant throughout the year
• Deepen your sense of trust and guidance
• Live in the flow of deep receiving and conscious manifesting
• Stay connected to your power center, even when you are triggered
• More easily return to a state of inner calm and compassion for yourself and others
I know that you will be amazed by the magic that can happen in six short hours.
So get ready…
The new year approaches!
Gather with your sisters.
Step into the wild fire.
Burn away all that must be released.
Rise from the ashes like the phoenix that you are.
And call forth the 2017 you most deeply desire!
To find out more about this event visit www.power-retreat.eventbrite.com