The Heart of Darkness: Why You Should Toast the Worst of 2014

meditation1

Peace out 2014, you beautiful beast.

Is it just me or has it been a tough twelve months? Disappointment, frustration and delay were the norm and I definitely wasn’t bathing in abundance.

Or was I?

Yes, parts of this past year flat-out sucked.

Living with your parents at 29, even for a few months, is no fun. Neither is cleaning diarrhea out of the carpet from your 60 lb pup. And getting paid next to nada to do the work you love—the work that fuels every inch of your being? Not cool.

But you know what? This year hasn’t been all bad. It never is, right?

No, for all its frustrations and monumental shortcomings, 2014 has held space for some surprising blessings, too.

You see, the worst stuff is always wrapped up in the best stuff or gives birth to it.

How do we pay homage to one without acknowledging the other?

We need both. And I’m grateful for both.

Those two willful pups? They’re the two newest members of our family—now 5 fur babies and 2 humans—we are complete. We had been talking about getting one additional dog last year at this time, knowing it was probably wishful thinking or the wrong time. What did we know?

It’s my belief that rescue dogs choose you and always for untold reasons.

Here’s what I’m sure of: those puppies are creating more than just a mess in our living room—they’re bringing us massive cuddles, almost constant amusement and all sorts of silly stories. And the love, oh the love.

They’ve also taught me to abandon the myth of “the perfect household” and not go (completely) crazy when something completely replaceable is ruined.

Did I mention this is my first time raising puppies and I’m a recovering perfectionist? Talk about an opportunity for growth!

Luckily, it hasn’t been my only one.

I’ve begun to devote major time and energy to the stuff I’m passionate about: writing, recipe crafting, building my wellness brand, and sharing my journey with all of you via two blogs and multiple social media accounts.

Thing is, I’m in year numero uno. My WordPress blog just turned a year old and I won’t be launching my websites for a few more days (stay tuned!).

I’m in the very early stages of building my dream everything but beginnings can be hard. It’s often a time when we’re still doubtful and unsure, constantly changing course and struggling to find our way. This last year has been a lot of that for me.

But it’s also been exciting and tremendously rewarding to see my fledgling vision begin to crack to life.

I’ve celebrated each new follower and remained eager to read each comment as I’ve grown my community of wellness and personal growth-oriented bloggers.

For someone who struggles to feel connected to the people in her hometown, it’s refreshing to find common ground with my virtual network. I know I may never meet some of these individuals firsthand, but their work and their words help me to be a better person, on and off my couch! (hehe)

And knowing that my journey may inspire another along theirs is reward enough right now.

Besides, if there’s one lesson that’s been pounded into me this year, it’s this:

If I do what’s in front of me to do and put my faith in the big, bad universe, I’m always provided for. Always.

Does this mean I don’t stress about money?

Of course not—I’m an artist and newbie entrepreneur, but the number of zeros in my checking account doesn’t consume me either. I’m not distracted by pretty things and I practice mindful purchasing instead of compulsive spending.

And I certainly don’t equate rich people with big houses.

I understand real wealth always begins within. It begins with knowing we’re worthy and have something valuable to offer the world and others—ourselves.

Moreover, I have enough hope to fill a house. And not just ordinary hope—a hope that’s met faith, married and grown into something else altogether.

It’s the steadfast, almost obsessive assurance that everything I’m doing, every single effort and obstacle along the way, is for some greater good.

Like my girl Oprah says, nothing is wasted. Every single painful experience we endure is designed for our ultimate good.

Not in some abstract, metaphysical sense. Rather, the pain, when adequately acknowledged, creates opportunities where there were none, ushers just the right new people into our lives, and in time, facilitates a deep and necessary healing.

Yes, our pain is pretty powerful.

We know we won’t listen unless it hurts so we walk right into the fiery pit, knowing we’ll ultimately be bathed in light.

Up close it looks like destruction, but if you could zoom out over your entire life, you would see the beautiful seedlings this year has gifted you and why the shitty, fertilizing events had to happen, too.

So as the world prepares to ring in 2015 and you are reflecting over your own personal glories this past year, remember to honor 2014’s darker times, too.

The times when you sat and cried in your car because you didn’t know what else to do.

The times you worried about how you would pay for everything and it all came together in the final hour (literally).

The times you were too scared or confused or angry to take rational action. But you did anyway.

Like it or not, these moments define us too, divine even as they appear disastrous. They’re messy and real and sometimes regrettable, but they all tell the story of who we are: the story of our shared humanity.

And that’s always worth celebrating.

All my best to you and yours in the new year…thanks for sharing this space with me. See you in 2015!

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