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My Biggest Takeaways from 2020

2020 is coming to a close. I had a big vision for this year. I started it off with hopeful phrases calling it the year of “clear and bright 20/20 vision!!”  Well, it hasn’t exactly been clear or bright.  However, as I look back over the year and how it has been for me, I have to say that I’ve learned a LOT this year!  And not just about online technologies like Zoom or that Netflix has some really good movies and shows!

For one thing, I’ve learned that, though not always easy, I really do have more patience than I thought I did!  And among other things, I’ve learned how to be more calm with the unknown and have deepened my ability to accept what is, to let go and to embrace change.

And for me, the thing that has allowed me to make it through this year with so many challenges, disappointments and losses, has been my gratitude practice.  I’ve learned in an even deeper way how gratitude can really build resilience through challenges.  And yet…that’s still not my biggest takeaway of what I’ve learned in 2020.

Because just saying that my gratitude practice has helped me be more resilient would not be telling the whole story.
The truth is that I’ve been with a lot of sadness, disappointment and even deep grief throughout this year.  And I’ve come to learn at a much deeper and visceral level about my ability to hold both gratitude and grief at the same time.  This may be my biggest takeaway of 2020.

For me, the loss of the lifestyle I’d grown accustomed to, with all of its in-the-flesh touch and connection opportunities, has been the most difficult.  A huge part of my life for the last 25 years has been conscious dance gatherings and movement classes with lots of heartfelt hugs and contact dances!  This has been such a big part of my own personal evolution and growth. It has provided me through the years with a loving community as well as a place to practice my favorite form of embodied creative expression and playfulness.

My list of losses also includes being able to sit in-person with a private breathwork client or with a group for a sacred breathwork circle or for a workshop (I had 2 exciting co-created offerings planned for the spring with other facilitators!)  This is big for me since it has been such an important part of my livelihood for several years now.

I could go on and on about my list of losses and disappointments, but I have to say that what stands out for me more as we are leaving 2020, is my list of things I’m grateful for! My breath, my deep connection with nature, outdoor dis-dances, my health, my family, my beloved and all his loving support. I also have a lot of gratitude for the technology that has allowed me to offer virtual breathwork sessions! And for the financial assistance I’ve received from our government. I’m deeply grateful for the ingenuity, the patience and resilience I’ve been able to muster, and the passion I’ve felt to keep on track and make my business work so I can continue being of service to this world that I love and appreciate… even with all of its difficulties and darknesses. This list of gratitudes could go on endlessly! I am so grateful for gratitude!

I’ve discovered that my ability to deeply feel gratitude has kept me afloat through all of the feelings of loss and disappointment.  These are two different parts of me, each co-existing, but feeling very contrasting things. When I feel the grief of loss come over me, it feels safe to let myself experience the achy longing or disappointment and the heaviness of sorrow, knowing that another part of me is holding gratitude and will at the right time bring back the light to keep me from drowning in complete darkness and despair.  Every moment of grief reminds me of something I’ve loved and that it was a gift.

I’m not saying that I can jump right into the gratitude without first spending time with the pain of grief.  The sadness of loss needs to be felt…yet under the sadness there’s a trust that the gratitude, when I’m ready, will be there to soothe and remind me of the gift of love under the grief.

As this year has shown me, when I let myself feel the grief of loss, accept what now is and embrace the change…then I’m clearing the way for more gifts to come into my life, even during the most challenging times.  And for this understanding, I am grateful…and I feel excitement about the coming new year and the gifts it will have to offer!

One Response to “My Biggest Takeaways from 2020

  • Thank you for this sweet piece, Devi. You ending reminded me of this precious Rumi poem… so apt:

    The Guest House

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    As an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    — Jalaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (The Essential Rumi)

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