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A New Year's Wish

Michelle Larson

by Monica Peace

As the year comes to a close and I prepare for a new year, I stop to reflect. Every year at this time I take a day for myself to close out the year. I journal what I have accomplished and learned. I acknowledge the areas I have grown and the areas where there is still room for improvement. I pause and appreciate the many gifts, lessons and milestones. I don’t rush. I take my time and savor the many pieces of this beautiful year all folded into one.

This past year stands out as pivotal. It started with a new job that has brought me back to a family of people I know, trust and respect. I am grateful for the community of individuals who have encouraged me during a year of change and a place where I could find success in my work and provide for my family during troubled times.

I put my house of seven years up for sale during a tough market in Southern CA and after several failed attempts, finally completed the process in November. Along with that came the ability to separate from a marriage that wasn’t serving any one of us, and the courage to file for divorce.  For the first time in 15 years I don’t own a home and am a single parent. It was hard to let go of the identity I had tied to the things I thought I needed in order to be okay. I have found freedom in renting a beautifully remodeled home, in the same school district. It is supporting my goal of being debt free and desire to have options to relocate or travel on a whim and avoid being financially influenced by market fluctuations. Surprisingly, I have also found freedom in creating a new life for the boys and letting go of the misconception that in order to be a family you needed a mom and dad living in the same place. Instead I am focused on developing a healthy co-parenting relationship and an environment that supports the needs of my two beautiful sons.

I am most grateful for our health. Someone once told me a rich man has many wishes, but a sick man, only one. I truly believe that when you have your health, you have everything and anything is possible. Despite all the change, and stress that accompanied it, I have stayed focus on taking care of myself, and it has paid off. I helped facilitate a Woman’s Wellness Retreat in Ojai in May, where I spent a weekend exercising, teaching, and exploring my spiritual path. Through that intention, I discovered a true passion for yoga, which I have been practicing religiously since June. I am so grateful to Jessilyn and the beautiful yogis at AsanaFit who have helped me expunge the limitations I had previously set in my mind, because of the metal rod that has sat in my back for over 30 years. I have never felt more strong and sound in both mind and body, than I do at 45. I owe much of that to what I have learned through my yoga practice and the gracious teachers who have inspired me to reach beyond my greatest imagination to find strength within.  Yoga is one of my most life changing experiences, and I’m so glad it arrived in a year I needed it most.

I have also become actively involved with Bliss Sisters, a group of amazing and inspiring women, founded by Michelle Larson. Michelle is a gifted spiritual teacher and leader, and like yoga, I was blessed to have the gift of her friendship and teachings find me during a time of change and uncertainty. There has been great comfort in the discovery of a community of women, who share wisdom and understanding based on their experiences. Together we support each other on the journey to create a life of intention.

In November, I celebrated the 20th anniversary of my father’s death, at a beautiful retreat in Mexico. Originally I had planned to attend with Michelle, who had something come up at the last minute and couldn’t join me. I almost backed out, but I pushed through my fears of the unknown and traveled to Teo alone. There I met some of the most beautiful people who will be my friends for life. I explored ancient places of beauty and wisdom. I spent a week quieting my mind and being present in simple moments. I let go of everything that was material and urgent. I faced fears to acknowledge truths about myself and my life and make a plan for change.

The quote that most closely resembles my year, is one a friend shared with me. “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together” - Marilyn Monroe.  I believe through loving fully we sometimes lose it all and in that process find what really matters.

Now it is time for me to focus on my intentions for the year. They are limitless. I will create a list that is aligned with the truth of where I am today and the desires of where I intend to be a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now. I am just two plus years away from a long term goal of taking a year sabbatical in Europe with my sons. I still haven’t figured out “the how” but I know if it remains core to my intention that it will come to be. I love that we never arrive and that there is so much in life and within ourselves to be explored.

My wish for all of you as we approach the New Year is to ...

Acknowledge your gifts
Push through your fears
Create change
Find adventure
Celebrate everything
Find gratitude in life’s lessons
Practice forgiveness
Give generously
Embrace health
Love with all your heart
Live your truth

Most importantly, I encourage you to give grace. It begins with yourself and then expands to all those around us. We are not perfect, but we can thrive during times of imperfection if we are willing to be free from judgment and expectation.

With Love and Light,
Monica