A Love Letter to 2016

F*ckin thank you, 2016. Yes, that’s right, I am saying thank you and I’m not going to back it up with scientific research because it just makes me feel better to be grateful. I am going to use gratitude for my own selfish need to FEEL THE GOOD because 2016 has kicked my ass, my family’s ass, my friends, my community and the whole planet.

Thank you for the freedom of unemployment to go through every emotion known to man in the quest for spiritual development. This past year I learned to love crying on my floor as every childhood trauma flashed through my mind relentlessly screaming to be surrendered. Thank you to all the people who saw me in random department stores with tears streaming down my face behind my dark Audrey Hepburn sunglasses and just let me be.

Thank you to the humbling experience of taking a part-time job in mental health paying the least amount of money I’ve ever made since first starting in Wellness, over 20 years ago. I learned to live on less and remembered everyone needs a little hope. I chose to hold the hope that my clients have the ability to heal from their learned self-abusive and limiting habits, as do I. I am grateful for the reminder that a life unlived or avoided leads to suffering. I am moving forward and so are my clients so apparently a lot of humility helps.

Thank you to the friends who said, “You are not a victim, make some choices and do something with your life.” I love these heartless creatures I call my friends. They teach me to love myself even when I forget, which is apparently every time I date someone.

Thank you to the guy I dated on and off and on and off and on and off. Being a light switch was enlightening: I learned I have an immense capacity to love and forgive; I learned that making myself a priority is the sexiest thing I could ever do; I learned you can compromise where to eat but never on the importance of communicating your honest thoughts and feelings; I learned next time I will choose to fall in love with someone who actually wants me in their life. That’s right, when a man wants to be in your life, he is. Sounds simple but I just figured this out. Falling in love can make even the brightest person dim.

Thank you to my friends who called on me to be there for them when their parent died, when they filed for divorce, when their kids became ill, when they were ill and did not want to be on this planet anymore. (By the way, if you have never talked a friend off the brink of death and giving up, then maybe you should.) It was excruciating to hear their pain but I am eternally grateful because it took me out of my own pain, into my own spiritual development, and back into the Wellness community, which I now know needs my voice, too. Thank you, all of you, for showing me the most beautiful, raw, exposed, rapturous pieces of you in your “brokenness”. Turns out you weren’t broken, just mending and waiting for the glue to dry. Me, too.

Thank you to the Water Protectors in North Dakota who, through their determination, have shown the heart of the Native American people, their commitment to the earth, and finding their voices to speak up against all the broken promises. Your example has inspired us to unite for the protection of the water and indigenous lands. You are helping heal us all.

Thank you to Hilary and Donald for making a mockery of politics and showing us the real Wizard of Oz. Election 2016 brought to the forefront all the abuses women and minorities have endured in their own fight to have a voice in this country.

I would stop here to thank all the tremendous friends and artists who exited this year — but there are just so many tears I can shed in one article so, instead, I’ll just stop here.

While this has been a hell of a year, I am excited and grateful for the coming new year. 2016 led me to definitive and strategic choices for a better life across the boards. The muck has cleared and the road ahead looks free of roadblocks. I now have a blueprint for success for 2017 and beyond, and I intend to include all of you, as far as my voice can reach.

So, please, take some time and be grateful for all that you have been through this year. Make a list of what you have learned. Decide what you want 2017 to look like, make a step-by-step plan and follow it. Get help with that when you need it — personal or professional. Maybe from me, or maybe I know someone, or maybe I know someone who knows someone. Hey, good things are coming and good people are already here. Let’s at least say we ended the year watching Star Wars, Rogue One. That has to count for something.

Happy holidays to you and yours. (And no, I’m not excluding Christmas in that, Donald.)

Love,

Natalie.

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