January. January. January. A time to restore our energy from the craziness of holidays. To reflect and rest and recuperate. Dial down our expectations. Create some emotional space for the seeds of newness to form *spins and twirls in her earth maiden gown*. While many are rushing to take down their Christmas trees, I am decidedly NOT. Well for starters I take four hours to put the lights on and longer to take them down. The tree is my yearly visit to the land of the Marthas (Martha Stewart, Susie Homemaker, Steven and that other guy with the beautiful home designs that need a full team to execute which should really be a home viewer warning). In years when things have been super challenging my homage to the tree has been an act of courage, defiance, of not giving up on beauty and magic and goodwill. So when all the fuss is over I like to sit on my sofa with a Frasier Fir scented candle glowing and soak it all up until the twinkles twinkle somewhere inside my very soul.
And by light of my restful tree I have been reflecting on you and on our past year together. A montage of our good times and hard times, and what it takes to change lives for a living. First the dazzling champagne corking moments; three of you were offered the job with substantial jumps in income and bonuses galore right before we rang in the new year. One of you was offered a rare opportunity to move up your corporate ladder, to flex your muscles and build some new ones. Like really rare because we talked about how rare it was all those months ago. One of you sent me the letter of commendation from your company for a year of unparalleled advancement from executive right hand to executive with a right hand. I remember when you cried and grieved and told me that you had fluked your way into an exceptional life but now it was gone and you would have to accept mediocrity and scarcity. I remember when you didn’t think you could show up and I said hey wait a minute before you give up…You were sure you couldn’t afford to keep trying and now look at you!!!
More than a handful —I am counting at least 7 of you— have gotten relationships properly off the ground past what I lovingly call the first and second trimesters. Beyond the deeper reprogramming and rewiring we have worked together through critical moments, to ask for and have needs met, to understand and resolve triggers, to reach deep into the potential of your Romeo or Juliette. And now you are moving in together, talking about weddings and babies. You have just navigated your first holiday season with your new beloved and all of the fam jam, expanding your holiday tables into a breadth of love and support. Wow.
Some of you, you know who you are, have swung from tears of broken intimacy and infertility struggles to a pregnancy with TWINS, and a stronger connection between you to do it right. You have told me how you don’t react the way you used to, how you see it differently, how you are so much bloody kinder to yourself. I call that a parenting miracle. And you just keep on keeping on, connecting, gaining insight, loving and living better. That is a lot of champagne for me because you’re not allowed to have any, but you don’t mind. Cheers!
One of you who is only ten tiny years old has learned how to have boundaries, how to recognize toxic behaviour from peers, how to make healthy choices and not blame herself for her parent’s hurtful behaviour. You have gone from a problem at school to thriving. You have healed an eating disorder before it stuck. I’ll drink a Kambucha to that! I mean it will be my first but new year new horizons. And if she can do it at ten, we can all do it. We can all take the steps that will emancipate us and turn our lives around.
You have thanked me, for being the best thing that happened to your family or your year. You have thanked me for helping you feel good inside your own skin, for loving yourself. You’ve thanked me for going above and beyond, for checking on you, for being there when you panicked at the other end of the text or phone during my dinner or a run, or on the way to pick out the tree. You have thanked me for your aha’s and your break throughs and your epiphanies and simply getting you through your worst moments and not letting you give up on yourselves. You have thanked me for helping your loved ones, for listening to your rants (I love rants!). You have sent me heart emoji’s and cards and the occasional gift which is sooo incredibly sweet. You’ve said that you couldn’t do it without me. Many of you have told me you love me. Awww shucks. But seriously, who gets that?
For some of you it hasn’t been about the glory or the champagne moments.
Some of you have learned to understand yourselves for the first time ever. To heal long neglected wounds. To finally feel whole. You find yourselves in a place where you can now take some risks, open up to love, recreate your path.
Some of you have left very toxic marriages or work environments; muscled through your first Christmas after a divorce; I can count several and you are working to regain your esteem, your worth, your sanity, your bank balance. Some of you are just getting going, others have achieved great milestones. Some are feeling hopeful, some just relieved to escape. Some of you have been scrutinized, wrung through the wringer and we’ve had to scrape you off the pavement and put you back together again. Some of you have parenting crises that are enough to land you in the fetal position on your flight to Zimbabwe, or Mars.
And for those of you about to rock we salute you. Just kidding.
For those of you who have been in the trenches emotionally through 2021, those I’ve been holding hands with while you work your little Patootie off only to be hit with bigger faster shit; for those of you who have gone belly deep with someone who may or may not figure out their shit in time to be your prince or princess charming, for those of you who are crying the necessary tears to get to those victories, EVERYONE WHO IS RINGING A BELL HAS BEEN WHERE YOU ARE. These are the hard parts, the messy sticky parts, the bearing your soul parts, the looking at Erin and saying you want me to do what while I feel absolutely ruined and desolate?
What if I am stuck here forever?
What if I am alone forever?
What if I am a fool?
What if it’s too late for me?
What if it’s my fault?
What if they are just playing me?
I know your fears so very well.
All I ask of you is to keep showing up, to let me tell you the truth, be the right voice in your ear because honestly those intimate moments of grief and doubt that you share with me are no longer dominating your reality, running the show, or deciding your future. And that is as much bravery as it takes to make game changing life altering transformation. That is the “lead” that I use to help you spin gold, day in and day out, and year after year.
You see I love the champagne moments (remember pre Covid when I could spell champagne?
But I also love getting in the deep end with you, being the sponge that absorbs all of the grief and despair and doubt so that we can climb out the other side of it.
I love hearing you out.
I love knowing that you will do it differently simply because I’ll be on the line every Thursday.
I love the quiet conversations and the big big ones.
This past Friday I closed my last Zoom saying to my camera face (btw very few of us look our best on zoom so like keep that in mind when you are video dating and also talking to me and pleeease don’t make me ‘zoomed in’ if you would be so kind but I digress) —in celebration of our emotional breakthrough I said to my pixilated face I love this. I love this work so much. Because I know how hard and scary it was for you to admit how you felt and what you actually need and to accept that it doesn’t make you a bad person, and I am so freaking proud of you for that. I am so grateful for that.
So today let’s crack some bubbly together. In honour of the hard moments, the sweating blood and confronting deep old shit, the moments of bravery, the in it together moments, the moments of holding on to the just maybe it can be better, the big aha moments and the moments of sheer joy and celebration. Here’s to all of it, to more of it, to sharing it with everyone that you love.
In the words of Carol Burnette, I’m so glad we’ve had this time together.
Sniffle twinkle sniffle, I’m gonna need a hug after this.
Cheers to you, Babies!
Let’s keep ringing it in.
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