Two weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch, making winter playlists for my classes and I heard myself say to my husband that winter is my favorite time of year. For real. It rolled right out of my mouth. That was immediately followed by, “except being cold, because I hate that.” So, I’m not exactly sure why I decided winter is my favorite. I think it’s just the practice of mindfulness in full effect and the fact that winter is almost here so I might as well embrace it. And I have. I made winter playlists. Obviously. I bought new boots. I planned a bomb ass Solstice Celebration. I put my spring/summer clothes away. That one was new. Never have I ever done that before and for some reason, it made me feel incredibly accomplished. Christmas isn’t stressing me out AT ALL. I just feel ready for all that winter brings. I am ready to slow way down. I am ready to spend time hibernating. I am ready for all the rituals involved in the upcoming weeks. I am ready to spend time with my soul. Every year I pick one word as my “mantra” word for the year. My one word for 2019 is Allow. To be in the space of allowing doesn’t come naturally to me, so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. I wrote about that last year. It’s here if you want to check it out. I just read it myself and it did a world of good for me. I never go back and read my own blogs. I should probably spend some time doing that this winter. Looking back, I think I got exactly what I expected from living in the space of allowing. Which is great, because some years the word I pick shows up in unexpected ways that make me say “What the actual fuck?” I have learned to be specific with intentions so the Universe and I are on the same page. In my year of allowing, I let go of trying to force things that I thought were for me. I had two big projects on my agenda this year, planned, promoted and floating around in the world. And guess what? Those things weren’t for me. They never came to fruition. And I know the WHY in that. Those two things were never an absolute YES from me. I went along with them and felt good about them, but they were never things that made my soul scream. And the lessons in that were HUGE. It was totally ok to put myself out there and try something that didn’t work out. Also, I fully understand now that if it isn’t a HELL YES in my soul, it’s a NO from the Universe. I need soulgasms. Cool. Thanks Universe. To be in the space of allowing meant that I just did my thing. I allowed the path to open up in front of me and kept stepping forward. The path led me out of therapy because I’m finished healing. Haha. I kid. But, I have the tools to handle myself, my emotions, and whatever pops up in my life. The path led me to The Hanuman Ashtanga Yoga Shala in the spring. If you follow me on social media, then you KNOW I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga this year. There’s a whole little story of how that happened somewhere on the blog, but I’ll save you and just let you know that I was divinely guided. Prior to stepping into the shala, I had zero experience with the practice of Ashtanga. I knew enough to know it was physically challenging and like all things that are good for me, it wasn’t for me. Until it was. When the messengers showed up, I paid attention. I allowed myself to try it out. It has been my biggest blessing in 2019. I love the practice. Most days. My teacher is amazing. The shala students are all wonderful. I have learned so much about myself practicing in the shala. I learned that I am stronger than I think I am. I learned that I can keep going when I am sure I am going to die. I learned that the pure joy that comes after the not dying is indescribable. I learned about trust in the shala. Trust is still a hard one for me. My teacher is compassionate and kind and I trust him to keep me safe. And he does. I allow him to help me when I need it, which is every time I practice. See? There’s that allowing again. I went back and forth with Allow last year, because it seemed a bit “weak” to me, but ultimately, Allowing is all about strength. Allowing is about having a strong faith that what is for me, is going to find me. I don’t have to chase it. What’s for me will always be for me. Allowing is being ok when things don’t work out. The strength is in pushing past the fears and trying. Allowing is living my life, writing my blogs, teaching my classes, all of it, whatever it is, when a new friend shows up on the path and says “I want you to write your book. I’m a literary editor. You just write and I will turn what you have into a book. No pressure.” And, because I have learned so much about trust this year, I just roll with it and assume she knows what she’s doing. Feels a lot like allowing to me. And it seems like the next logical step for me. I’ve always known it was in there. I’ve talked about it. Now I get to be about it. My word for 2020 is Expansion. I won’t be getting the tattoo. I know some of you were going to ask. I am about to grow on every level. Sounds scary as shit. I am ready to do my thing and be open to how that plays out. I have no real expectations, as the Universe prefers to surprise me anyway. I am just going to write. And write. And write some more. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron says “The first rule of magic is self containment. You must hold your intentions within yourself, stoking it with power. Only then will you be able to manifest what you desire.” I know what she means by that is to not tell people who will doubt you and make you second guess yourself. I circled that line in the book and wrote NO beside it because I am fortunate enough to live in a world where people believe in me. I live in a world where I can blast my intentions and people show up to help me make them reality. I created that world. So beautiful. So grateful. I really understood how much people believe in me that time I Facebook shared a photoshopped image of myself doing a handstand on an iceberg in Alaska. In all fairness, it looked pretty real if you didn’t stare and I had been in Alaska. The comments blew me away. My initial thought was that these people are dumb asses for thinking I actually got onto that iceberg. My next thought was WOW. People believe in me and think I can do anything! How fucking awesome is that?! It’s powerful people. I have always had people who believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. That is a true blessing and honestly, it’s the only reason I’m still alive. Seriously. Thank you for believing in me friends. Expansion feels good for 2020.