Basically, rather than listing New Year's Resolutions, we picked one word that described our intention for the year. For me it was "welcome". With my husband beginning his job in Chad near the end of 2013, we were barely turning the page to a new chapter in our life together. Transitions are hard. This was the first time in our then 12 years of marriage (15 of being together) that we would be apart for a significant amount of time. Due to extraneous circumstances, we essentially moved in together after only three months of dating, so you can imagine how this change has been shocking to us.
Add to this that before now, I have never lived alone for an extensive amount of time. Suddenly, not only is my husband far, far away, I am now fully confronted with what it is like to live with me. There is no one else to direct my attention toward. In the silence I hear all my thoughts, fears, hopes, desires, joy, and rage. It is sometimes deafening.
Through my practice, and through Flamenco as well, I have come to learn how to be in the moment and accept what is, or at least to try. So I decided to fully embrace it. Hence, "welcome". In 2014 I welcomed the new lifestyle, the new challenges and struggles it would create, but I also looked forward to the new opportunities. One amazing opportunity was my visit to Chad:
However, over the last year, I had to learn that part of the practice of welcoming, is to welcome the unwelcome. In July I was hit by a drunk driver and my new car needed tons of repair (luckily I manged to escape with just a bruise on my arm). I also had to make the choice to leave behind some of my regular gigs because I felt they were not serving me, either financially or spiritually. On my way to Chad, my original flight was canceled and my replacement flight left me stranded in Istanbul for two days. Throughout all of it, I had to remember "welcome".
Now I am starting the new year with some physical complications that are due to a possible back injury. I am still dancing, but I am now making the choice to only do work that serves my whole well-being. In the meantime, I am also navigating a health insurance system that still wants me to jump hurdles to get the care I need. Welcome.
It has not been easy. I have been struggling the whole way, sometimes crying, sometimes ready to hit somebody, all the while wondering why I have to be so gracious. Yet, when I remind myself to welcome everything, there is a subtle peace that comes.
So in this process, I realize that in order to welcome anything new, I have to be able to let go, to stop resisting, to surrender. So for 2015, my intention is to surrender.
I remember more than a decade ago, in my early years as a Flamenco student, a more senior student once told me that the reason I was not getting a step was because I was afraid of it. She told me, "just let go and do it". So I did; I surrendered to the step and finally got it. In that moment, I welcomed myself into a new understanding of my craft.
So now I surrender to my latest reality--to living two-thirds of the year alone, to dancing in fewer, more meaningful gigs while experiencing some pain, to growing. In doing so, I hope I will truly make way to welcome whatever lies ahead.