2016. The Year of Living By Desire.

Originally published at journeysofrebirth.blogspot.com.

The most challenging aspect of dissecting a rollercoaster year is understanding the lessons that were bestowed upon us. In the time taken by our planet to make a single revolution around the sun, I’d be safe to assume every single one of us has felt the spectrum of emotions — from rage and sadness to pure, unadulterated glee and passion. It is the human condition. Exactly what makes us special living beings. But how do we allow ourselves to learn from this emotional journey with each passing year?

As I read year-end reviews from friends and published writers alike, I am struck by the central underlying theme in each. Gratitude. Each expression is as unique as they are, but gratitude appears in all of them. The thankfulness for the joy of family, friends, travel, new life, new relationships, gratifying work. The thankfulness for the hard times, the strife, the health problems, the divorces, the wisdom gleaned from death.

In each of these human experiences, we are granted the opportunity to expand our emotional vocabulary. The invitation is there, ripe and juicy for the taking. But it is up to each of us to pluck the apple from the tree and inspect, analyze and embrace it before unfurling our hungry teeth into its flesh.

For an impatient and highly impulsive person like myself, this is nigh impossible. I have my work cut out for me, but the will is there to truly learn from the trials and tribulations of years like this.

Over the past half decade, my life has given me proof that I can live untethered by set schedules, stable income, and a ‘room to call one’s own’. The world opened up to me in a way that I had yet to experience — one that loosened me from the grip of being a puppet in the grand master’s play. And though I could wax poetic about the experiences and the joy of being free in this manner — something I have done quite a bit over these years — the time has come for me to graduate to the next phase of my life. A phase that combines this fluid, free-form freedom with a maturity and responsiblity I have eschewed for quite awhile.

Before my gypsy days began, my life was rife with goals and plans. Goals and plans and lists of things — and I consistently hit and achieved all of them. As gratifying as these achievements were, there was something lacking deep inside. An effervescent passion that came straight from my core, sourcing from my heart. Bucket list entries were getting knocked out and to-dos were getting crossed off dozens of lists, but I wasn’t connecting with my truest desires and feelings.

Behold, The Desire Map! What a concept! Crafting goals with soul?! Planning a life based on how I wanted to feel, versus what I wanted to accomplish. Now this is something I can wrap my head (and heart) around.

So as this year closes out, I pause for a moment to truly thank the universe for each of the hardships it has sent my way. For showing me that although, right now, my life is still far from perfect, I have mustered the courage and the energy to plow through. Every time I was knocked down, I peeled myself off the cold, dark floor and lifted myself up again. When others offered to HELP me, I allowed them. When love knocked on the door of my locked heart, I opened it. In a way I had never known how to in the past. This year, as I dodged punches left and right, I let love rule. And it is exactly what has given me the will to survive.

As I map out the desires, feelings, and emotions I want to experience in the coming new year, I focus less on my failures and shortcomings, and more on my abilities and strengths — and how they make me feel. I focus less on poor decisions, or asking ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ and more on strengthening my communication skills and asking myself questions that inspire, motivate and encourage me. To get me closer to how I want to feel.

I bid adieu to 2015, and welcome 2016 with a few desired feelings: creative exuberance. gushing with love, passion and contentment. expansive. healthful and energized, fit. spiritual depth. cozy warm home. patient and compassionate. strong and open communication. unique personally curated style. financially stable and free. conscientious intelligence. fulfilled. HAPPY, JOY, BLISS!

Cheers to a beautiful 2016 to all of you — and let your feelings guide you in the warmest direction!!