Every year when December rolls around, year-in-review lists start popping up everywhere. I love reading them but tend not to make my own. Probably because I spend so much time all year long reflecting and trying to learn, grow, and improve that doing a cursory year-end list feels reductive. This year, though, as 2021 draws to a close, I find myself taking time to look back. To pause and honor the progress made as I continue my journey of peace and healing before changing the view to begin looking ahead.
Back in May of 2021, as I was prepping for the release of Unclaimed Soul, I took a quick trip to Cabo with a close friend. While I was there, I saw beauty and light everywhere I went and realized that the last time I’d visited was miserable. Partly due to the company. Partly due to where my own mental health was at the time.
It was at dinner our first night that I realized I had the tools now to rewire my memories and reclaim the experiences and places that are important to me. I could rebuild the associations in my mind so that when I thought of Cabo, I no longer had to think about pain or sadness. Instead, I could think about the fun I was having with my friend in the very place that once brought misery and loneliness. I had the power to let it all go. That realization set my path for the rest of 2021: reclaiming and letting go. I put my rewiring abilities to the test a few more times during the year.
Reclaiming the positive energy I love about New Orleans, and the serene beauty of Maui, by visiting again with people who I love and who genuinely love me. When I think of those places now, what immediately comes up are beautiful memories tied to amazing experiences.
I found that once I choose mindful, intentional action – choosing to reclaim and let go – it gradually became part of my everyday life. During the year, I let go of connections that were no longer functioning or serving me in a healthy way. I reclaimed my voice in others that had gradually become unbalanced, or where we saw each other as who we used to be versus who we have become. People grow. Dynamics change. Accepting that meant sometimes I had to let go of people I loved very much because staying connected required that I continue to shrink the parts of me that needed to grow. I will look back on 2021 as the year I reclaimed my place at the top of my priority list and let go of anything that kept me in old patterns. In 2021 – and beyond – I chose me.