It’s the end of the year and like a lot of folks I’m taking some time this week to look back on the past 12 months and simply acknowledge the fact that I made it through another year while honoring this most recent journey around the sun.
As an astrologer and someone who is on the front lines of working with people around what is most alive and meaningful in their minds and hearts, I know that 2016 has been an INTENSE year for many of us. And it’s been all over the map.
I know folks who have had HUGE milestone successes this year, like my dear friend Theresa Reed who’s newly published The Tarot Coloring Book is selling like hotcakes ( and she and I have a little secret something cooked up for 2017 around her book). Or friends that have fallen in love, gotten married, became parents and grandparents and just continued creating the beautiful circle of life and love.
But there has also been the mass exodus of rock stars and beloved folks in the entertainment industry to the other side of the veil which has shaken many of us to our core. In particular the loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen and Carrie Fisher hit me incredibly hard. A lot of these folks were the same age as me and had been part of my emotional landscape for most of my adult life.
And of course, the political madness and scary disappointment of Trump being elected to the oval office has left many people feeling grief stricken and disoriented. My personal sense of the world has moved from being a not always thrilling but more-or-less known quantity to becoming something wildly unpredictable bordering on terrifying.
And the past year for me personally has been mirrored in the larger collective by being both wondrous and challenging.
On the plus side, I filled TWO Wild Heart Expressive Arts teacher training programs because the demand was so great for this kind of creative healing work. Which makes me incredibly hopeful for the state of the world.
I also offered my first INTERNATIONAL Wild Heart Painting ( or Libremente Corazon Pintura ) retreats in Mexico …. which were wonderfully successful… and renewed my wild love affair with Oaxaca. And plan to make this retreat a yearly event.
I am working with THE most incredible women in both of my teacher training programs who are SO hungry and inspired to bring this expressive arts work into their communities. And who are finding the courage and gumption to actually make it happen.
My husband and creative soul mate, Tim Lajoie came on board in a more public way in terms of teaching, writing and designing the future trajectory for Creative Juices Arts. So look out for some new and interesting changes here in the world of creative juiciness.
Nature has ALWAYS been my primary medicine and Tim and I spent a lot of time in the coastal redwood forests simply hanging out and communing with those amazingly powerful giant tree beings. I also discovered that the redwood trees love, love, LOVE having me sing and rattle to them.
I experimented successfully with a new online teaching method … one day mini-workshops … that I plan to employ more of in the future.
I realized that I had been more than three months out of twelve on the road teaching or traveling for fun and I actually loved every minute of it. I thought I would miss being at home, but the only thing that I DON’T like about this lifestyle is all the packing and unpacking.
I spent more time with my girlfriends playing and hanging out and simply connecting and being nurtured by the unconditional love and wisdom of women.
And I attended TWO conferences just for ME … Brave Girls in Boise, Idaho and Bioneers in San Rafael, California… for the first time in years!!
And of course there’s the hard stuff….
It seemed like every one of my painting retreats in 2016 was accompnied by a medical crisis of some sort … mastitis, problems with my breathing machine when at altitude, spraining my foot pretty badly … that created unnecessary drama while I was teaching. Nothing was terribly serious, but it was all incredibly annoying.
I am definitely going to look into creating some sort of ritual to break that pattern going forward.
I often choose a word for the year as a guiding principle and in my experience that word brings with it all the ways that I SUCK at that particular issue.
This past year my word was boundaries and I learned more than I ever wanted to know about all the places my boundaries were lax, leaky and loose. Not fun, but incredibly instructive. And it led to some much needed policy changes to help create firmer and more functional boundaries. Which will make everyone happier in the long run.
When I was growing up in the 60’s I was exposed to the idea of consciousness raising which focused on topics like civil rights, feminism, nuclear disarmament and war and was designed to bring greater awareness to these particular social forces. I found this process to be wonderfully exhilirating and enlivening. Learning about these issues and how I could be a force of change allowed me to feel a sense of liberation and like I was part of some grand awakening.
This past year was a consciousness raising experience of another sort.
The courageous activism at Standing Rock and the military like response to a peaceful and prayerful protest opened my eyes to the deep genocidal wound that still haunts and informs the policies of my country. Through the Black Lives Matter movement I had to come face to face with my ignorance around the systemic racism and trauma that black people live with every day, what it means to have white privilege and how much anger and frustration are boiling over in the hinterlands that led to Trump being elected to the highest office in this land.
Which has all been incredibly humbling, painful and quite uncomfortable. I’m still trying to integrate what all that means and what I want and need to do with those awarenesses going forward into 2017.
So one question that is on my mind and in my heart is what was 2016 like for you?
What were your joys and triumphs?
Your trials and ultimatums from the Universe?
What stretched you and asked you to grow?
What brought you the deepest sense of contentment and fullfillment?
Where were you asked to be braver than you thought possible?
What opened your heart and touched your soul?
I heartily encourage you to take some time this week to reflect on the hard and good stuff in your life this past year. To spend some quality time with YOU by making some space for acknowledging your journey and being with whatever feelings you have about 2016.
To celebrate, grieve, be curious and open your heart to your own lovely humanness. And to prepare the sweet soil of your soul for what is ready to be born and made manifest in the year to come.
And I would love to hear your reflections in the comments box below!