2017 has gotten off to a quiet start for me. This is intentional. After returning from New York, I’ve been spending the past week sleeping late, reading my new book (Swing Time by Zadie Smith), doing yoga asanas and meditating, with a little work sprinkled in. As much as my head tells me to launch myself into the new year and push forward with projects, my heart tells me to go slow. I’m listening to my heart.
Being in New York for the holidays was exactly what I wanted it to be – easy and comforting. It had been almost a year since my last visit, and seeing my family and friends reminded me why the city is still home. As grounded as I feel in Belize, I still have roots in New York which felt just as strong as ever. Though my relationship to the city itself has shifted, there is so much love for the people I was fortunate to spend time with.
I brought in the new year just how I needed to – hanging with family, drinking prosecco, eating my mom’s gumbo, and giving tarot readings. I entered 2017 consciously and happily. I had decided I was going to wake up on New Year’s day without a hangover, and that actually happened. I’m proud of this.
As much as I was looking forward to coming back home to Belize, I felt some pressure to hit the ground running, to get started right away on actualizing goals and making shit happen. No haps. As soon as the plane touched down and I stepped out into that glorious sun, I knew there would be no rushing anything. I knew that I would be processing the last year, that my body was gonna need to be still for a while, and that a period of rest and reflection was necessary. Somehow, knowing that made it easier to surrender to it.
What I have been doing is focusing on what I want. Not forcing or planning, but really listening to myself. In thinking about my word for this year and my intention moving forward, the word that keeps coming up is “connection.” I want to feel connected to myself through my self-care practice and creativity. I want my work to come from a place of inspired action and service. I want to experience and collaborate with my communities, both local and abroad. This is what is meaningful to me now.
This is really an expansion of what I have been growing in Belize – a greater sense of connection to life. And in many ways it feels so different from what I was doing before I moved here. My life is simpler. I have more time, more space for taking care of myself and doing what I feel moved to do. I have sunlight and fresh food abundantly available to me. I share a comfortable home with a loving partner who is my best friend. I am doing work which allows me to share my unique gifts and experience, and which constantly offers opportunities for growth and learning.
And still, there are days when doubt creeps in and I question whether I’m on the “right” path, whether I am doing enough or working hard enough, if I’m doing life “wrong” because my income isn’t steady. There are times when I wake up to the beautiful sky and trees outside my window and feel anxious because I don’t have everything in my life figured out, and feel guilty about my angst being juxtaposed with such magnificence. I’m learning, all the time, that these moments are my mind acting the fool and pulling me away from what I know to be true: I am supposed to be here.
That awareness is what I want to keep coming back to. Because when I do, there is no doubt and I am in the flow of my life. Last year was hard, full of upheaval and instability. I asked for growth and change in 2016, and I damn sure got it. In just trying to get through, so often my reaction was to retreat, to withdraw and attempt to get my shit together. What I learned from that was there’s so much I can’t control but I can choose how to respond.
Rather than isolate in fear, I can be present in my life and see the goodness in it. I can connect through meditation and yoga, through being present with folks and really seeing them and allowing myself to be seen, through engaging my work with intention and integrity, through sitting on my porch and feeling gratitude for the beauty that surrounds me. Life is giving me so much and I can choose to connect with that at any moment.
So this is what I’m choosing this year. Connection. Being present, reaching out, giving and receiving. Because I am here. We are here. All of us. And I believe in us.
Happy new year, y’all.