As 2016 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on its purpose. It's been a mess of a year-- the kind you might want to throw a match to and start fresh. We've had wars and shootings that have rocked our collective sense of self. We've lost beloved souls, whose music and performances have soothed our hearts and inspired our tomorrows. There's been division and destruction of our relationships and our land.
For many of us (myself, included) these public hurts have been mirrored by private heartbreak. The kind that rips us open and asks more of us than we thought possible. The kind that keep us hidden. The kind that fill us with fear.
I could end there, but that's not how I roll...
See, 2016 was a disaster of a year. I've done disaster before, and what I know more deeply than I know anything else, is that disaster also brings grace and hope--if we are willing to see it.
The events of 2016 have awakened many to the injustices that have been perpetrated against people of color, religious minorities, native peoples, our land, our waters, and our children. These injustices are not new--we just pulled them out of the shadows. As painful and persistent as these truths are, we cannot change them unless we face them. 2016 did that for us.
2016 did that for me too. My personal life was filled with awakening too. It wasn't pleasant, but it was absolutely necessary. It shook me, turned me upside down and inside out, until I could finally see my life in its truest form. Now I'm doing life differently, and couldn't be more grateful for the shake ups.
Back in my trauma recovery days, when I was feeling particularly raw and messy, a wise friend reminded me of what its like to renovate a house. There's this stage where everything has been gutted, the inner workings of the house exposed. It looks like a complete disaster and panic and fear can set in. We can't read the blueprints, the master plan, and we want our house back the way it use to be--even if there wasn't room for everyone and we didn't really like it. If we trust our contractors and designers, the ones with the vision and skills for execution, we love the after and can't believe how we could have lived in the before.
That's my hope for 2016. It was our demo year. We smashed holes in all the walls, exposed some mold and pests that had been multiplying in the recesses of society, and now it's time to get to work on the new vision. Trusting that the ones with the master plan know things are right on schedule.
There is no real transformation without the discomfort of exposing the raw, messy underbelly of our reality. It's why I love rock bottom... at least, my own rock bottoms.
One of my awakenings this year, was that I had been trying to play Superwoman and hold up the world to protect others from the pain of their own transformation and the impact of their decisions. The truth is, I wasn't protecting them as much as I was protecting myself from the discomfort of the renovation. So, now I'm a superwoman in recovery and am inviting other women with me for the journey.
For me, 2016 was a year of renovation and recalibration: looking even deeper within to grow and explore my truth. I'm stronger for it. I'm grateful for it. And, rather than hold on to the hard that got me there, I'm choosing to embrace the strength and fierce determination is has awakened within me. My vision is clear and I'm ready to trust the master planner.
That is my wish for you as we close out this year. That you find gifts to embrace, lessons to lean-on, and connections to fortify. 2016, wasn't pretty, but we're getting somewhere. Count me in on the re-construction for 2017. Cheers!
I have always been guided by this quote, often attributed to Martin Luther: "Here I stand, I can do no other." It guided me into youth work and affirmed the space that exists between the traditional fields of social work and education--offering a little of both and just as much of neither. It also affirmed what I felt when I told myself at seventeen, "someday I'm going to open a youth center." I knew the chances were long and the road would be tough, but in my bones I knew it was true.
Along the way, I've had many experiences, some that have brought me to my knees and some that have sent me flying. When my stand came true, when my dream became a reality, I was faced with the feeling that I wasn't done yet- this wasn't it. My purpose, once rooted in an adolescent heart had grown up too, and my dreams were expanding beyond the space I had created for youth. I wanted to share my story in ways that could better equip others working with youth to engage their own hearts and transform their own hurts.
Pain and oppression are cyclical, feeding more pain and oppression. I want to fill the space between with hope and healing, so we can shift and shape a new reality.
Over the past year, I've been finding my feet again. It began by offering trainings to people-serving organizations and schools on trauma-informed practice, resilience, and self-care. Now, as we say goodbye to what has been a brutal 2016 (personally for me and very publicly for many) I am excited to announce that the piece of my puzzle that eluded me for a while, has finally revealed itself!
Beginning in 2017, in addition to help heARTS grow and continuing to offer trainings, I (an *a-hem* recovering Superwoman) will be launching the Superwoman Recovery Program! It will begin with an online class called Superwoman Reboot and will grow to include opportunties for private coaching and Circle convenings with local women.
What I know is this: we are the ones we've been waiting for, and the world needs a steady and strong dose of what our Super Selves can offer.
Want to know out more? Head to the landing page for details and to sign-up for updates!
Just like my pull toward youth work, it may not make sense to everyone but my truth is real: Here I stand and I can do no other.
With peace and (super) solidarity!
About the blog:
Reflection has been a constant on my journey. This blog is a collection of my thoughts and ideas about my healing and the world.