2016 you were cruel and unforgiving. You brought storms like nothing I ever could have expected. Illness, injuries, and the death of many loved ones. I found myself continually thrown into a dark pit of uncertainty and fear. Fear of coping with what had happened, and fear of what was next. When it rains, it pours, and this storm was a hurricane.

The only good thing about hitting rock bottom is you’ve only got one way to go from there…..up. When everything comes crashing down around you, how do you move forward, how do you push on? Sometimes when we’re in that pit we just want to stay there. Its too difficult to crawl out. But I didn’t want to stay in the pit. Not forever. I crawled, I scrambled, I fought my way towards the light. Everyday I did the things that I needed to to shed light on the darkness. I did yoga, I meditated, I volunteered, I practiced gratitude, I journaled, I read, I prayed. It sustained me but it didn’t “fix” me. This is important because when you’re in the pit, sometimes there is no fix. Sometimes you just need time. You need the things to sustain you because you may be in the dark for a long time. And thats ok. If you sustain yourself with life giving things (gratitude, health, community) you’ll survive whatever hardships are thrown at you. It may not be quick, in fact, it could take years. But you’ll make it. Don’t feel like you’re doomed because you didn’t read the right quote at the right time, or have the epiphany of a lifetime. Sometimes we just need to live out the chapters as they come. There are lessons in the dark.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” -Rumi

It took awhile to feel better, but there were things that I learned this year that I never would have invested in should my life taken a course of simple, self gratifying and easy. Is easy, fun and gratifying a nice place to be? OF COURSE! But you can’t stay there all the time. There’s beauty in the darkness; in the experience of self discovery and growth.

I believe in something bigger than me. That these lessons are meant to be learned. That our lives are inextricably intertwined and meant to be lived for each other. You may not have enjoyed your hardships, but what did you learn? How did it strengthen you? What can you take away from that experience that will help others? I believe that thats where the magic lies. Discovering the meaning behind your journey. Listening, watching and believing in your own personal journey is where life starts to get interesting. Are you ready to put aside what you’ve designed for your life and instead ask what life has instore for you? When it answers, and its not what you expected, desired or thought possible…can you be brave and follow suit?

“Change is the essence of life; be willing to surrender who you are for what you could become” – unknown

For 2017, I’m making gratitude a daily practice. I’m running into the new year with an open heart, a passion to serve and a desire to ebb and flow with life as it comes at me. I promise to fill my year with good friends, adventures, laughter and as many good days as possible.