December Reflection Guide
On the new year, aligned growth, & tending to the here and now
I’m writing to you from my office with the heater blasting. It’s 44 degrees outside, which probably feels neutral to people elsewhere in the world — but for my California self, it’s cold. I am loving the crisp air and need for wool socks, though, and feeling most like myself during this liminal time of year.
Despite the liminal, surreal, timeless portal feeling it often holds, I also know this time of year can be difficult — for myself included, in some ways. It holds a heaviness, a pressure, a symbol of grief. It holds comparison and envy, longing and missing. Alongside the joy many feel during this time, I know there is a multitude of weight being carried, often silently.
If you are holding the weight right now, I just want to remind you you’re not alone — that there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the hardness of it all — that you don’t need to be fixed or changed, but held and heard. I hope you find spaces and places where that is wholly and readily available to you.
And if you are feeling the joy and connection present in your life right now, I hope you allow it to really be there — to not minimize it just because others are hurting — to let it reside right alongside the grief that may be living in your ribcage, too. There is room for both. There is always room for both.
Something I’ve found so obvious yet profound this year especially, perhaps because I am a new mother, is just how much we all carry in ways others have no idea about. I think about everything I’ve experienced, felt, and moved through this year that no one else is aware of. I think about the moments I’ve had that haven’t been witnessed or shared, the struggles and beauty I’ve felt that haven’t been seen by anyone, or few. I think about my experience alone and remember how true this is for each of us — despite what we want others to see or feel about us through the curation of what we choose to share publicly, there is a whole ocean underneath and behind the scenes — a whole swirl of depth and experience no one would ever guess or assume. This isn’t because we’re fake, pretending, or performing; it’s because it is both not required and impossible to share the complexity of what it means to live a life in a human body.
I try to remember this especially during this time of year, but always — this idea that we are each moving with so much that is invisible to the eye of the person at the grocery store, or the follower on social media who isn’t actually in relationship with us, or even our own loved ones at times. We all hold a complexity that will never be witnessed in its entirety by anyone other than ourselves. This is why I place so much importance on compassion, on contemplation, on learning to be a gentle witness to our own being — because in many ways, we are often the first and only witness to each and every ounce of what we hold within us.
There is a gift available in this — a gift available in being willing to witness ourselves honestly and clearly, to be willing to practice holding a lens of compassion to what we find, and to be willing to share it with those who might help us carry the load. I know it’s a lifelong practice for me, but it is one that makes the holding a little less scary, a little less lonely, a little less hard.
I can barely believe I’m sending out the last guide of the year. It is a hefty one. I’ve changed the name of these from journaling guides to reflection guides because I truly feel they are so much more than just a journaling guide — they invite reflection, contemplation, and self-nourishment in whatever way feels aligned and alive for you. Sometimes, that may be through writing — other times, it may be through hosting a conversation with loved ones and moving through questions from the guide, or exploring the musings while going for a winter walk, or recording a voice note of what comes up for you while moving through it. Regardless, it is for you to use in any and all ways, and I aim to make them even more full, supportive, and rich moving forward. I put a lot of time and heart into creating these; I hope they feel like an outreached hand and and an invitation inward. Find it below, and find all past guides on the archives page.
I’m sending this to all subscribers as a reminder that there is a paid option to support this newsletter and my work. I figured I should try doing that at least once a year. Some part of me still feels like it’s wrong, annoying, or greedy to share about my work — and I’m working on it. I have never shared about it very explicitly or sent a paywall preview, yet it feels like an act of self-care to practice telling you about what is available, even once. Paid subscribers keep this free newsletter possible, make it possible for me to keep writing, make it possible for me to work on my next book proposal, make it possible for me to do this work that feels so meaningful. I am deeply appreciative of your presence here, whether free or paid, and if you’d like access to the paid subscription offering but can’t afford it, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll gift you a free subscription, no questions asked.