My parents got a divorce when I was two years old and my dad has never been a consistent part of my life. We once went 10 years without seeing each other.
My first serious relationship was built on possession, manipulation and disrespect, not completely but mostly. I thought my first love would be the only love so I stuck it out even when everything inside of me was telling me to go.
I was fired from my first bartending job because of a miscommunication after working a 12 hour shift on St. Patrick's Day (which is illegal). I did get a better one a week later.
My sister's high school sweetheart, the younger brother I never had, died in a freak car accident at 18 years old. I will never forget every detail of the moment I found out.
What does all this mean? I have stuff I've carried around with me in my invisible backpack. We all do. Sometimes the stuff is heavier than it needs to be and most of the time it is stuff that can be released.
Would doing so remove the event from memory? Take away its impact? Mean you're cold-hearted? Absolutely not. It would mean you value yourself enough to tend and take care. You'll have more energy and love to share with others. And you'll have created space for new experiences to come.
With 2015 coming to a close in a few hours, many of us are looking at our stuff. What did this year bring to us and what did it take away? What were we excited to receive and what brought confusion, frustration and sadness? What did we learn about ourselves and how did we share that with others?
Today I decided to do a special NYE meditation at a park near my house within a circle of large trees. I sat among them, mesmerized and in good company. Each inhale took me further from the noise, each exhale guided me deeper into silence. My converse enveloped in the soft but crunchy leaves, as if a conversation were taking place between the two of them. The wind grazing my face filling me with renewed energy. Ground beneath me supporting what was, the sun above me reaching out for what's to come.
How similar we are to trees. Rooting down for stability and finding support from those nearby. Growing tall with the sun and extending our arms wide like branches, using them to protect ourselves from harm. But what happens when some branches, the excess, are weighing us down, compromising our development and quality of life?
The tree discards what it doesn't need, preparing for what's to come. Are there things you could leave behind with the close of this year? Patterns? Behaviors? Relationships? Well aware that you are better and stronger because of them but that they no longer serve you.
When we find it in ourselves to let go, we create space for new relationships to develop. The dropped branches become logs that keep us warm. Shed what you don't need and you might find that those logs build a fire within, fueling new found wonders that lie ahead in 2016. Here's to that!