I’d be lying if I said that I absolutely loved 2014, that it was the best year yet (let alone an awesome year). There were some awesome aspects of it, but for the most part I was consumed in patterns that drained my spirit and left me completed at the end of November. My energy was completely dried up. The carefree Savannah that I was when my life was flowing had wilted into an angry, sometimes aggressive, irritable monster. Looking back from Amsterdam, it shocks me that I lived like that for so long.
Even though it was the most difficult year of my life, it helped me grow immensely. It lead me to Amsterdam, where I’m ending 2014 with a watch-out-world-here-I-come attitude for 2015! I couldn’t have ended the year in a more kick-ass mentality.
Cheers to you, 2014, for dragging me kicking and screaming through the mud. I’ve peeled off the crusty shell and found myself pure and cleansed and so freaking ready to rock the socks off my biggest dreams.
I’ve got my survival pack filled with one very special Labradorite crystal, a reboot of self-confidence, an endless supply of unconditional love, a heart full of fearless curiosity.
We go through life thinking we need all this “stuff” and outside support to navigate the world with. All you need is yourself and love. If you don’t have that, then no matter the number of possessions and outside support you receive, you will struggle. My last year was evidence of that.
This Year I…
Stood up for what I believed and got it promptly shoved back in my face. Participated in the most amazing class in the world: Totemic Arts Apprenticeship, from Emelie Archer Pickett. Photographed and wrote an article about Mmm… Coffee! Paleo Bistro in Denver for Paleo Magazine. Moved to Santa Barbara. Participated in another amazing class, Bright-Eyed and Blog-Hearted from Rachel MacDonald. Had crazy housemate #1. Photographed the Santa Barbarian competition at CrossFit Pacific Coast. Moved back to Colorado. Started photographing a new cookbook with NY Times Best Selling Author, Tammy Credicott. Went to Lake Havasu. Got my scuba diving certification. Moved to Boulder. Cooked and styled and photographed my forth cookbook, Paleo Magazine Readers Holiday Favorites Cookbook. Had crazy housemate #2. Havok was hit by a car. Havok survived. Visited Santa Barbara for an indefinite amount of time. Photographed the beginnings of Alaris Fitness. Photographed the Strength to Give competition at CPC. Was threatened to be sued because I’d been far too nice to someone. Havok tore his ACL. Went to see where I was born (Arcata, CA). Explored the beautiful redwoods. Went to Lake Tahoe. Got very wet and cold in Lake Tahoe. Bought a new pair of bright blue and pink (!) Ahnu hiking boots (silly as it may seem, this is a big deal because I never buy new shoes). Had a photo published on the cover of Paleo Magazine. Visited a family friend in Idaho. Took a mini-road trip through Idaho and saw plenty of beautiful scenery and antelope. Explored Yellowstone. Learned that in many towns it’s illegal to sleep in the car. Got annoyed at this fact. Saw plenty of: moose, bears, antelope, possibly a bobcat… Went to Iowa to visit my grandparents. Won 1st place at the Ames Farmers Market Chili Contest (click for the recipe). Bought a ticket to Amsterdam. Opened up my online shop for beautiful prints. Drove back to Colorado. Stayed with my dad until I left for Amsterdam. Helped Havok heal from surgery. Had a recipe published in Paleo Magazine Readers Favorites Cookbook (Russian Borscht). Flew to Amsterdam. Attended my first tedx event while photographing the event for lululemon Amsterdam. Met Jimmy Nelson. Got his number. Made the most valuable purchase of my life: a Labradorite crystal. Had THE deepest spiritual experience with a full moon meditation. Won a Lokah necklace from The Tulsi Project (it says “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”, which means ‘May All Beings Be Happy’). Spent my first Christmas alone. Got the flu three times and broke out in a mysterious rash five times within December (after having no health problems my entire life). Had many adventures and a butt-load of personal growth leading up to the New Year.
Because of, or despite, the challenge that was 2014, I have a lot to be grateful for.
++ Myself! (I’ll begin with a bit o’ self-love as this is a BIG theme from now on)
Until this month, I didn’t know how much love I was capable of feeling toward myself. But something changed at the beginning of the month when I was learning how to be happy in Amsterdam. I was here for 5 weeks, period. No leaving early, no running away even if I didn’t like it. I had to love myself, I had to be happy, I had to surrender to NOW. There wasn’t another option. The cold winter city pushed and pulled me, until I started a morning routine that allowed my days to flow with ease: lemon water, yoga, meditation, sweating, juices and soups.
It became easier to drop away from the noise and into a healing cocoon I wove for myself.
As the year comes to an end, I’m in awe of the ease at which a smile spreads across the face and the choices I have started to make each day to determine the woman I want to be. I surprise myself at my comfort in spontaneity and my willingness to jump so impulsively into the unknown. Even now, I am fine-tuning the details to go off on another adventure in another country, in another continent, in a culture alien to me.
++ My partner in crime (sometimes literally – shhh don’t tell the authorities)
2014 was our first full year together as a couple, and in it we learned how to let our energies tango together – his fire (man/aries) and my water (woman/pisces). There’s nothing to do but learn the right dance moves when you’re in each others’ hair for more than 12 months straight! I’m pretty sure that from now on, everything will be easy-peasy.
Despite my eagerness to run away from all commitments imaginable, Tigran made sure that if nothing else, I stuck with him. He surprised me with a massive expansion of his heart, letting love soften his rough edges to become a bigger and better person than (I think) he imagined. Most importantly, he and Havok hit it off so naturally that he became the most devoted companion, brother, and father to my furry baby.
(If you missed my lovey-dovey public declaration of gratitude to Tigran, you can catch up on that goodness here)
++ My furry baby
I spent more time with my darling Havok this year than I have since before I left for college, and I’ve loved every minute of our furry cuddles (even if he didn’t). After a tough year for Havok (two accidents, many stitches, one surgery), I think he’s pretty ready to move on to 2015 with the rest of us.
++ Mother Nature
Oh mama Earth, you never fail to impress. This moment stands out as one (in the millions) where we were truly humbled by your magnificence. Driving to Yellowstone, we had plans to camp at the border of the park (for free, naturally). We drove up through Jackson to the campsite in the middle of the night, no idea of what we were passing by. Imagine our surprise when we woke up sleeping beneath the Grand Tetons moments before sunrise! Pretty spectacular to say the least.
You’re the ones who have kept up with me, even though I haven’t really known what I’m supposed to do. You’ve followed along as I’ve changed. I hope that from now on, you’ll be rewarded with endless inspiration and poetic musings and beautiful photography.
Do you set an intentional word for the year?
A core desire, an affirmation, a mantra perhaps?
I’ve been thinking of what words will propel me through 2015 and encourage me to stay true to myself and push in a positive direction. I want to feel INSPIRED, but I asked myself: well, what will make you feel inspired? So I dug deeper to find the root of that feeling. Inspired is strong, but it is up in the leaves of the tree. I found MOVEMENT. But what will lead to movement? I arrived at FREEDOM.
And then I came to:
We’ve hit gold. Looking back, I can see that my struggles sprouted around scheduling things so that I didn’t have flexibility, or at least it didn’t feel like I had flexibility. I was committed without wiggle room, which resulted in way too many “shoulds.” I suffocated.
It’s ironic because I’ve spent the last 17 months thinking I was flexible – I’ve been hopping all over the place. That felt like freedom. Or maybe I thought it should feel like freedom. If I can’t feel free when I’m traveling from place to place without somewhere I need to come back to, how will I ever feel free?
But then again, what is flexibility – and freedom – without roots? Either your roots can be receiving nutrients from the soil or they can be flailing about in the air, unharnessed and depleting precious energy stores.
With flexible roots, life has the freedom to FLOW (yet another good intention). At least for this new me, it opens the doors to ABUNDANCE.
Ending this year with such a big bang compared to how 11 months of it went has me brimming with super-concentrated inspiration and lessons.
1. There is infinitely more power in BE-ing than DO-ing.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a devoted Do-er. I knew that the more I did, the more successful I would become. The more I did, the faster my business would grow. The more hours I worked, the more I’d get back from the world. That’s what I was told all through life, by a system that no longer serves me. That, my friends, is the system on which American education runs. Be busy, do more, sleep when you’re dead, etc. If you’re not drained at the end of the day: you’re doing it wrong.
This year, I’ve let myself surrender to BE-ing. It’s not a process that happened overnight and there have been many times when I’ve doubted myself. It is, after all, going against everything I’ve known to be true.
So I’m beginning a mutually nurturing relationship with my Divine Feminine energy. She’s been hidden for too long, hiding beneath the need to man up in a masculine world, where we women are fighting to be equal. But through my new-found clarity, allowing myself to embrace the softness and wild nature of femininity is true equality.
2. Routine is not the enemy. In fact, it just might save your life.
If you know me, you know that the past two years (plus some), I’ve been running away from any whisper of routine and structure and commitment. This running has been fueled by fear of losing my adventurous heart, the fear of living somewhere forever, and the fear that if I lived somewhere I would face the fact that my business wasn’t going to work and I would have to get a job at a coffee shop. For the rest of my life. And that just wouldn’t do for my goal to stop drinking coffee.
Then I went to Amsterdam. It was cold, it was cloudy, it was dirty. It was a city in wintertime. Two of my (least) favorite things. I got sick (a lot). There was lots of recovering and signs from my body that I needed to amp up my wellness habits, and pronto. I started my mornings with warm lemon water, practiced yoga or meditated for 30 minutes, made a juice… And started my day.
Holy smokes, it has made an incredible difference in the quality of my day-to-day life. A little bit of routine has added a spring to my step, a sparkle to my eye, and a huge energy boost to my day.
Are YOU ready to manifest you’re deepest dreams and greatest desires for 2015, no matter how shaky they leave you in your boots? There is an energy change happening for this next year, I can feel it. There are some influential wellness people I follow and I’ve seen them talk about manifestation being faster than ever – even if not immediate. Things are manifesting faster than ever.
I had my first taste of that a couple of days ago. While I was waiting to get my hair cut, among the endless hair books was one that I was drawn to: an edition of the Monocle. I had never heard of it, but upon thumbing through it absolutely loved it. It’s an incredibly successful magazine that covers the entire world: culture, travel, technology. I made note of it on my phone and promised to get a copy when I got back to the US. But as I was strolling down a street looking for the best carrot cake in Amsterdam (I have a weak spot for carrot cake, especially if it claims to be the best), there it was. Waiting for me in a window of a shop I never would have entered (because, well, I don’t like shopping). Call it what you want, but I’d say that’s almost-immediate-manifestation. From someone who spent 2014 without any big dreams, let alone manifestation, it IS possible no matter what state you find yourself in. Without forcing it, one day it will come to you and your soul will be blown into infinity!
Adios, 2014! Watch out 2015, here I come. Bigger and better than ever, more prepared for life’s up and downs, and done playing small.
Let’s do this. Let’s make 2015 a year we’ll never forget, and let’s do it together.
Revolutionaries, I encourage you to dream big with me this year.
++ Tell me, what needs to be released so that you can blossom in unabashed glory as the whole person you truly are?
++ What were your biggest and scariest lessons to learn this year?
++ What is your guiding word / affirmation / mantra for 2015?
Happy dreaming, and a Happy New Year!