A Year of Yes: Grow, Feel, Heal.
It’s no secret that my favorite band is Coldplay. Every album they come out with pairs beautifully with what season of life I’m in. And it’s no surprise that when A Head Full of Dreams came out, I was ready to say yes to growing, feeling, and healing—Up&Up.
Fixing up a car to drive in it again…
I was driving home from work one day, listening to Up&Up, and mid-traffic it finally hit me, Chris Martin had done it again–
Yes I wanna grow, yes I want to feel
Yes I wanna know, show me how to
Heal it up, heal it up
I realized mid-year that I had already slowly started to grow, feel and heal, and it was time to take charge of the process.
I never really had a break between college and where my life is now. College happened so fast and I landed my first job right out of school. I reached a time in my life where I was finally financially independent and I had a good job with a lunch break and a legit work-life balance–I finally had time to have a life. What? I know. It was hard at first, but I was ready to start saying yes to things I had never done before and the things I missed most about myself that I had left behind.
I started to follow the path of fun-Mon while responsible-Mon took a break for a bit, she would only come out if we had to take a left turn instead of a right, you know like your usual back seat driver. I like fun-Mon, she’s great. She reminds me a lot of the funny, care-free girl from high school. Involved in so much creativity, encouraged free hugs, stoked for volunteer work…a true hippie at heart honestly. I missed her, I wanted her back.
What happened to her? Well, loveleemonicaa went through a rough patch. Joy’s dearest, most loveliest islands of personality disappeared for a while.
- She had to give up half her fun teenage years and look after herself in a different way.
- Her heart was shattered in a million pieces because she was just being herself, trying to show love to those she thought she loved but never loved her back.
- Her faith was thrown a curve ball and she was so confused, she let doubt in.
She got hit in the face pretty hard to say the least. I’ll tell you that story someday…maybe.
I missed fun-Mon, I wanted her back so bad, I had to go down a rabbit hole to find her again. But in the meantime, I was tired of saying “I want to get those pieces of myself back,” and “I can’t wait to do that someday.” So, I slowly started to pick up the pieces I missed. The right people showed up in my path, and I started doing the things I had always wanted to do; I started rebuilding my puzzle. One with a picture I couldn’t quite see just yet, but one piece at a time, I started to feel like it was all coming back together.
Needless to say, I lived by Up&Up this year, as if it was my New-Year-New-Me Mantra. I Up&Up’d everythanng. #ThanksColdplay
So, I said yes to a lot of things in 2016:
I said yes to reconnecting with relationships from my past.
The ones I had left behind because I was too afraid to open that door again. I left them behind, to protect myself. And in return, I shut them out. Especially the ones that were there for me the most during my darkest days. I wanted to reconnect with the right people, and apologize for leaving them behind. I wanted to see if I left a piece of myself with them, see how I could help them climb out of their own rabbit hole.
I said yes to creativity again.
And this time, without fear. I started painting and creating mixed media pieces again. I started playing by the rule of thirds and got back into photography. And most importantly, I greeted writing as an old friend and wasn’t afraid to share it with the world. I chose creativity without fear and it made me come back to life.
I said yes to music again.
I started going to concerts and experiencing live music. I got Lilo out (yes, that’s the name of my ukulele) and started learning new songs. I touched a piano again, my fingers guided me through the keys. I started singing in the car again, unafraid of belting out the songs I used to love so much, harmonizing and working on my karaoke go-to songs. I opened my heart to the instrument that awakened my soul, I started taking cello lessons.
I said yes to repairing relationships I had with family.
Trying to get to know them better. Understand them better. See them as people, not just blood. I started asking myself questions that would motivate me to seek relationship, and repair relationships: What did they like? What were they good at? What made them come alive? How could I help them come back to life? What were some of the things we had in common then, that I could revive and better our relationship now?
I said yes to traveling.
I started going places. Even if it was just for the weekend. I went to see my favorite band alone while I visited a friend from the past, in a new city I had never been to. I went to Europe for the first time, with my brother, and I had my own Eat, Pray, Love experience in Italy. I started checking places off my list, instead of just building one.
I said yes to going out.
Spending time with my friends, getting to know each other better through good drinks, long laughs and epic dance moves; creating memories through inside jokes. Well, I was usually the butt of the joke, but I still laughed along with them. Scoping out the attractive guys and freaking out when they would shove me into the deep end to go and talk to someone. Pushing me out of my comfort zone, for the good of my confidence.
Realizing that I was most confident in the deep end when I was just being myself, in a unicorn onesie, doing the shopping cart, oblivious to all the guys who somehow found that really attractive and actually came up and talked to me, and joined me mid-dance routine.
I said yes to dating.
The Dog Days were over; it was time to get myself out there again. I found out what I liked and what I didn’t. Trying time and time again, getting rejected, rescheduled, forgotten, ghosted, hurt, time and time again. Getting up from the bathroom floor after crying, just to continue swiping and trying again and again. Discovering that through all of the pain and rejection, there was nothing wrong with me. That when I felt like nobody wanted me, I wanted me. I learned what I really wanted, what I needed, and how much I was worth.
I said yes to God.
I started talking to Him again. I wanted a spiritual connection with Him and the world around me. I wanted to open my heart and understand the bigger picture–a more universal love. I started looking for Him in music, nature, books, people, blog posts, animals…anything. I tried meditation. I tapped into silence and discovered peace. I tried my cradle-Catholic-roots; what was familiar, to get back on the bike again. I tried new things, I found new life coaches. I read about other theologies, other religions.
Like Pi Patel, I wanted to find love in all things and understand Him better, regardless of doctrine or religion. I was divinely guided to a spiritual adviser who finally asked me what my story was, and for the first time, I shared what had happened to me in my faith the last 10 years of my life. I answered the call that was inside me, guiding me back all along, after all these years.
I guess you can say I had a good year.
I lived really fast, then started to live in the moment. I even saw a lot of new bird species I had never seen before. I laughed a lot, I danced a lot…I cried a ton. I went down the rabbit hole and rebuilt the islands Joy loved so much; I found fun-Mon again. At the end of the year, I said lumos to a lantern with a spark of thanks, on behalf of all the growing, feeling and healing I had been blessed with that year. I filled it with hot air from my past and I said: Up&Up, at last I see the light.
But just because the year was over, didn’t mean I had closed the book to a year of yes, time is relative–I just learned how to balance it. And the growing, feeling and healing? That’s not over either, I just welcomed the process into my life for the first time.
I let the wave of relief rock my body back and forth, as I continued to breathe. Sometimes by hyperventilating when I touched Chris Martin or when Brett Dier liked my tweet. And sometimes my breaths were slower, when I would lay under my favorite tree during lunch and just watch the leaves dance in the wind. Or even slower, when I would listen to Pi’s Lullaby on repeat trying to channel peace in front of a candle from Bath & Bodyworks.
This past year, I said yes to a lot. Sometimes maybe too much, and at that point I discovered another word…Yes’ best friend: No. But, more on that later. This year, I picked up old pieces I had dropped along the way and created new pieces to fit with the old. I put them together to create this beautiful person who is still growing, learning and loving, and I think that’s worth something. I have a good feeling for 2017, and you should too, because this is only the beginning of a lovely life worth living.
Lovely Life Lesson:
Say yes to growing. Say yes to feeling. Say yes to healing. Just. Say. Yes. You’ll figure out the details later. Grow by learning new things you like and pick up the pieces you miss most about yourself; put them together and create something lovely. Feel things: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, Disgust. Heal the wounds you’ve kept with you for so long, discover what root is still making them burn.
Whatever it is that happened to you this past year, let it go. Start fresh. Start digging for the things you miss most about yourself. They’re still in you, they’re still alive. All you have to do is turn on the light. If you need help, let me know. We can go down the rabbit hole together, I’ll bring the deluminator. This next year, instead of going on another diet, try something you’ve always wanted to try, (because you’re already beautiful just the way you are) read a book, get back into running, paint, sing, learn a new language, anything.
The world is yours, take a chance. Make it a year of yes, and most importantly, when you start to doubt what you’re doing to better your life, stop yourself and keep doing it. Don’t ever give up trying to find yourself and the happiness you deserve.
Surrender, and…Just. Say. Yes.