2018: Paving a Path of Peace

Dara LevanBlogLeave a Comment

Before writing today’s piece, I decided to read what I published last New Year’s Eve. The words, intention, and energy of that post forced me to dig deep and reflect on the past 365 days. What a difference a year makes! Every Soul Has a Story emerged from its safe cocoon by the spring of 2018.

As the weeks passed, my wings have expanded, and I fly more freely. The wind that once blew me off course has become a whoosh of inspiration. Trust, truth, passion, and presence lift me higher. I don’t proof each piece 30 times anymore before hitting “publish”– I only do so about eight times. That is progress!

Please join me as I reflect on a year of love, loss, revelation, and transformation. This is my last blog entry for 2018. EACH of you have impacted my journey, and I am forever grateful. Thank you from my heart to yours.

Reflective. Liberated. Connected. These are just some of the feelings I have experienced this month. Last December, I promised myself that in 2018 I would do what’s right for me and my family regardless of external influences or societal norms. I did. I also committed to speaking my truth, living each moment fully, and letting those situations or people not meant for me to leave peacefully. I did this, too.

I think about those who have departed, whether physically or emotionally. I am deeply appreciative for all who have crossed my path, whether for a day or a lifetime. The souls who remain, whether by choice or chance, have catapulted me forward.

Those who are no longer in my life have taught me as well. I will never forget, but I choose to forgive. I send love from my heart to theirs as they continue on their own path that no longer intersects with my own. I am thankful for it all.

My sister-in-law, Lauren, left us in September. As I write this, I still feel as though she will call us and shout “Happy New Year!” after midnight. It’s crazy, it’s heartbreaking, and it hurts not only my heart but many who I love dearly. We deeply feel your absence, Lauren. This is another “first” without you. But we will party a bit harder this year because we know you’d want us to live as you did! You truly lived in and for the moment. And you will ALWAYS be part of us.

I ask myself challenging questions and listen for the answers. The quieter I become, my soul softly speaks. And as I listen, a vision for the coming year has become increasingly clearer. The messages I need to receive seem to arrive at just the right time. I also know now that silence is an answer, too.

Gratitude has always been an integral part of my daily life. I choose happiness. I choose to find the positive in situations that may seem unbearable. This is mindfulness. And I am getting comfortable with sometimes being uncomfortable.

Every New Year’s Eve, I’m even more smitten with this man I am blessed to call my husband. (Quite frankly I wanted to write an entire blog about him, but he’d be mortified. So I will wait for one of the books I will soon publish!) I used to think this night was a ridiculous, raucous, and heathen-filled holiday. People of all ages often drink until they hurl. Others spend an excessive amount of money on dinners. New Year’s Eve used to seem like an annual excuse for typically tame, logical humans to make irrational, regrettable choices.

In 1998, I said “yes” to my best friend, forever love, and lifetime partner. Tonight marks the 20th anniversary we became engaged! I think of that moment and how New Year’s Eve is a night I celebrate. In recent years, we travel to Vermont with Alec and Zoe. I soak in the love from each other, our children, and our friends who celebrate with us. My heart is full.

In the 365 days and 525,600 minutes of 2018, I learned:

To heal and nourish the body, mind, and spirit is a personal choice and responsibility.

To think less, feel more, and surrender in the moment.

To accept that two clearly contrasting emotions, such as grief and gratitude, can and do exist.

To embrace vulnerability and connect fearlessly.

To celebrate moments because they’re fleeting but memories are forever.

To know that I have and will continue to handle anything thrown my way.

To live with gratitude while also expressing and owning my pain.

To say no without guilt and maintain necessary boundaries.

To consistently practice self care and know it is not selfish—it is self love.

To live each day mindfully, with intention and on purpose.

To accept that uncomfortable feelings and situations do not last forever.

What’s stirred your soul during the final days of 2018? What have you learned? What will you release? What will you embrace?

We cannot predict the path that we will travel in 2019. We do not know what may or may not happen; I know this to be true. But we can choose how we react to whatever occurs. We have free will; blaming others for how we feel is unfair. Personal fulfillment, peace, and healing is our own responsibility. Nobody can “make” you feel a certain way.

I encourage you to draw or create your vision, rather than write “resolutions,” for the upcoming year. A vision is dynamic and process-driven rather than rigid, unrealistic goals. Expect and accept that there WILL be detours, and be kind to yourself as the year unfolds. Hug yourself during the times that are tough, and celebrate each victory.

We are all works in progress! I hope you choose to carve time this year for your emotional and physical well being. EVERY moment matters. I wish you a healthy, meaningful, and intentional 2019.

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