2017 was by no means the most joyous year. But it was a year filled with some of the most joyous moments of my life.
I wouldn’t wish this year away even if I could. This was the year my son taught me about love. He showed me what human connection is and revealed the role I can’t wait to step into again. This was the year I exposed myself. This was the year I started listening to myself and trusting myself. How could I ever wish that away?
When Jen came to visit us in the hospital, I didn’t know it would be the last time we would physically embrace each other. And yet she has visited me so many times this year. Whether it’s imagining her standing behind me with her hand on my shoulder, or hearing a kookaburra and seeing her smiling face, she is always around me, whenever I need her. She has become my “inner champion” – especially when I have doubted myself or put too much pressure on myself or a certain situation. She is always there and I don’t even need to imagine the words she would say – I know what they would be.
I didn’t realise what my spiritual practice meant to me until this year. I didn’t know how important storytelling and stories would be until this year. How could I? A wise friend once said, “Before you know something, you don’t know…” – those words have been with me this year. This year of 2017. This year of tremendous change. This year that I started with the ambiguous intention of “Embrace the Change”. And embrace it I did. When it was difficult to embrace, I called upon the ever-expanding energy of Bhuvaneshwari – the Goddess of Infinite Space. I was introduced to Bhuvaneshwari by my teacher, Lori. She told me her energy is like that of a heavy, warm blanket that embraces you from behind. When the energy that constricts and makes you feel small is in your orbit, breathe it into that ever-present energy behind the heart space, and as you exhale, imagine that energy has been cleared by Bhuvaneshwari and sent back out into the world through you. It helped so much this year, having that in my back pocket.
Without 2017 in my life, I would not know what community was. At every turn there has been family, friends, neighbours, yogis and strangers, just waiting for a doorway to connect. One of the first encounters we had with a neighbour was when we came back home after our trip away and wandered down for a swim at our local beach. We passed this neighbour on the steps down to the water and she asked how we had been because she hadn’t seen us in a while. I told her we had just lost our son and broke down in front of her. She listened tenderly and told us even though she had two grown children now, she went through several miscarriages and each one was devastating for her. Without 2017 I would not know that about her.
Nor would I know about patience. Jack taught me patience. And although I still struggle with patience, I have made a commitment to him that I will be more patient. I will be more patient. I’ll be patient with my meditation practice. I’ll be patient with my grief. I’ll be patient with loving kindness and what that might bring up for me. I promise, Jack, I’ll be patient.
I can say with certainty that I’ll be glad to say farewell to 2017, but I can also say with confidence that it has, by far, been my greatest teacher. And for that, I will be forever grateful.