No. 124: The Year that Broke My Heart.

2016 broke my heart.

It was a year that presented so many challenges and fears: a brain tumor scare, someone putting nails in all four of my tires, the ending of relationships, health scares and job losses in my family, a frightening political landscape, and the belief that I was at the mercy of fate. I was filled with fear. I was, in some ways, a stranger to myself.

But as a friend so beautifully put it, the cracks are were God, love, and light enters.

I attended a wedding today. And the pastor so beautifully shared that creation itself is a love story. Their love gave them a child. He feels God’s love for us was so strong that he burst into a million pieces; the Big Bang wasn’t about just particles and molecules but about love. And love, he says, is the connecting thread that’s woven. Life is full of surprises, of fights of the pain, but love keeps us going.

Oh, how I’ve cracked this year. But oh, how love has pulled me on and on.

So there’s another story. A story I need to tell, because it needs to be told. And in a voice stronger, and louder, and with more passion and more courage than the other.

This year, I…

  • became a certified yoga teacher
  • started to sew, purchased my first sewing machine, and made blankets, headbands, pillows, and even pajama pants
  • learned lyra, stilt-walking, trapeze, the German wheel, juggling, and acrobatics
  • jumped into a waterfall
  • assisted on two yoga retreats
  • did yoga on a horse
  • committed to a big adventure in 2017
  • raised awareness for an amazing ethical fashion company I believe in
  • saw the value in using my voice
  • auditioned for a show, and got the part I wanted
  • taught myself the ukulele
  • directed a musical and a Shakespearean play, two of my best yet
  • won an award at work for exemplifying one of our core values
  • watched my goddaughter grow
  • took Daisy to the beach
  • presented at a global forum in New York City, along with Gloria Steinem and Ariana Huffington
  • ran two 5ks
  • visited two animal sanctuaries
  • planted a garden
  • revisited this project
  • gained two wonderful roommates
  • was entrusted with the education of over 100 girls
  • saw friends and family
  • cried tears of happiness
  • learned, again, that I am stronger than I ever thought imaginable.

I attended a bonfire today. I threw all that I wanted to into a fire. Friends were courageous and kind and trusting enough to share their lists with me as well, and I made sure they were included in the flames. And I watched them burn, and smolder, and eventually become embers.

I don’t know what 2017 holds. But my resolution is to rise up. To rise beyond my own expectations for myself, my limiting beliefs of what is possible. To rise above the inevitable hurt and pain and cracks. To reach and strive toward possibility.

On the last page of my letter to 2016, I wrote: “you thought you knew me. But I’m not this year. I am the phoenix.”

It may have been the red wine talking, or my inner fire; regardless, may it be so:

Here’s to rising in 2017. I am grateful for all of you.

No. 123: Artist Dates.


When I was in college I read the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It suggested that you take yourself on an artist date to encourage your creativity to flow and to treat yourself. I was great at practicing this when living in a city. I’d venture to The National Gallery in London (still my favorite museum) or to the Met for their young adult parties. 

As adulthood set in, I moved to the suburbs, and I got Daisy, my reasons to remain home grew: laundry, lesson planning, staying with the dog. 

Tonight I was reminded to take the time to nurture my creative self. I saw A Christmas Carol  at McCarter Theater. I nurtured the part of me that strives to tell stories, to sing carols in a big theater, to delve into character.

I got to do this *and* cheer on a student I teach. 

I’m one lucky teacher and artist. 

No. 122: Returning.

 

I couldn’t say it as good as this article, so I’m not going to try. I’m just going to share this blessing.

May all that is unforgiven in you be released
May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities
May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future
Graced with love

No. 121: Wildflour.

As I mentioned in my previous post, some of my closest friends were visiting these past few days. With our various food choices, it can be on occasion challenging to go out to eat.

I looked no further than Wildflour, the gluten-free restaurant down the street. They offer pastries, breads, soups, crepes, brunch: you name it, it’s delicious. And it just happens to offer lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Ginny was deliriously excited about her crusty, gluten-free baguette. The rest of us were just thrilled to have such a tasty meal.

Check out their beautiful website here! And if you’re in town, be sure to swing by. (I recommend the “B”LT and soup.)

No. 120: Lady Soulmate Time.

I have a group of 4 friends from college. Through a series of events ranging from a joke made about being a club to me  being “taken in” by them in my sophomore year, we often referred to collectively as Club Quad.

We try to get together at least once, if not twice a year, and we refer to this as our “Lady Soulmate Time.” We will always have families, sometimes partners, other friends, and distance and jobs. But as was once said, your truest soul mates in life are your friends. I laughed more in the past 48 hours than I have in the last 4 months.

We live in four different states. We have different quirks. One of us is vegetarian, one is gluten-free. Four are brunette. We all love wine. (But two of us hate chardonnay.)

Through thick and thin, we have vowed to have each others’ backs. And I’m so grateful to have four unique friend soulmates.

No. 119: Ann. 


I have been watching episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee for the past several days. It’s made me desperate to do several things: sew, live in Britain, and be an 80 year old seeing yogi.

I blame the last on Ann, who won serial (season) 1 of the Bee. Her spirit, her meticulous attention to detail, her delight in all things creative: I just adore her.

But perhaps my favorite aspect came in the post script: after winning the Bee, Ann is “venturing into new territory and has just made a quilt for the first time.”

At 81! How amazing. 

You’re never too old to try new things. I hope I’m not too proud to try them at my age (any age!) as well. 

No. 118: Christmas.

There are a million things that have been said, that are said, that will be said. I do not wish to add to the discussion without purpose. This is sums it up best, for me: love is Christmas. 

Whether your day is more “River,””Joy to the World,” or “Santa Baby”:

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, joyous everything to you and yours.