Feeling the tightness of my shoulder muscles strain apart as I rolled into position, my diaphragm compressed, and the breath coming and going out of the top portion of my lungs - memories of everywhere I had been in this particular state come flooding back. I stand up to my knees, place my hands on the curve of my lower back, squeeze and arch my chest into the air as I gaze backwards behind me. I’ve always hated this position, as I can hear the scolding words from an old teacher and friend tell me that I can push deeper in if I weren’t afraid. My shoulders and lower back are where I hold the weight of the world and it is these places where the emotions have laid root. I pull up out and lay down, staring at the ceiling - breathing.
It is the first day of my 28th year.
Black coffee hits my lips, and I slurp it in to test the temperature. It has brewed dark today and the comfort of it warms me before I sink into downward dog again giving thanks. A while later after I have let the hot waters of a shower steam the bathroom and wash the old away, I roll up my mat and go down to greet the girls as they arrive. Both of them have brought me big smiles and plants - sometimes it surprises me how well people know the loves of my heart.
This past year has been another one of perseverance - filled with days full of adventure, and joy, and celebration; as well as unexpected transitions, heartbreak, obstacles, and leaving. In this past rotation, I dove deeper into accepting myself and being ok with (still) not fitting into the molds. I’m thankful to those who have been steadfast in their friendships to me, and for cherishing me as I am week in and week out. I can be a handful, I know.
I am thankful for learning how to determine what is worthy of hanging onto - and what needs to be let go. I am thankful for God’s strength and stillness and grace in my times of pain and doubt. He is still there no matter how far I wander, or how many times I turn away. I am thankful for my family - who no matter the struggle remains bonded to the core. I am thankful for a new home that feels more like mine than ever before.
I am thankful for growth.
I am thankful that I am loved by four sweet beautiful children who are the pride and joy of my work - there is no bigger blessing than watching them grow and change. I am thankful for second chances. I am thankful for the value of patience, which I am slowly still learning. I am thankful for learning I am not alone in so many of my feelings as I journey this life. I am thankful for people who challenge me to think, live, and love outside the boxes.
I am thankful for adventure.
My friends trailed behind me as I pushed up the last steep incline to the top of the mountain, stopping once to suck in a few more deep breaths before climbing past a group of guys summiting at the same time. My eyes grew wide as I looked out over the edge, the Pacific shimmering with golden sunlight in the distance and five mountains towering behind in the other direction. I sat there and let the breeze dance through my chopped off locks, cooling my skin - and felt the calm I am searching for so often. Over the previous forty days, I had given up doubting and waiting for Him to speak. And as He always promises, He showed up.
So today I am most thankful that my God speaks to me in the unique way in which I only hear and believe. I am thankful that there is no code or formula or way in which going about following Jesus that everyone must fall in line with. I am thankful that He has made me unique, and as a few of my loved ones all separately wrote in their cards to me - “you are one of a kind.” After a long time wishing I wasn’t, after being misunderstood time and time again - this year I am grateful that He made me to be just who I am.
Here my friends, is to another trip around the sun, I pray that it might be a rotation filled with stories of laughter, and love, and ongoing amazement of what a blessing this life is. So much love to all of you.