January. It’s the doorway into the New Year. What’s the “house” you’re inhabiting looking like so far? You get to decide, you know. There are lots of rooms: health, relationships, work, self-worth and emotional well-being, and yes — physical spaces. I know you get tired sometimes. Frustrated. And maybe it’s 27 degrees (or less) outside and you’re cold and dreary, too.
I’m not going to offer you any platitudes about new beginnings and all of that business — if I see a “New Year, New You” sign one more time, I’ll just skip yawning and pass out. I champion, embrace, embody and fiercely believe that people can grow and change; I just don’t agree with the mentality of a complete overhaul. If you want your life to be different, pay attention to who you are right now, what you think and believe, and what actions you take based upon that. You are your greatest teacher. There are tools and people who do the kind of work that I do that can help you sort all of it out if you get stuck or are dealing with a lot of emotional pain; but it would be a great disservice to this world for you to think who you are now must be cast aside because you’re not good enough.
I went on a retreat with my mentor and friend Susan Hyatt and three other women last weekend in Savannah, Georgia. If you haven’t been there, it is a beautiful city with a welcoming and magical vibe. Savannah is Susan’s hometown and she asked us to consider something that I think you can apply to a new year and making changes — it’s all about the moss.
The trees of Savannah are draped in sultry, gauzy, beautiful moss — it’s everywhere. It makes walking through certain spaces in the city feel ethereal. She told us that when she was a girl growing up there, she could spot a tourist when she saw them picking up moss by the handful and putting it in a trash bag to take home like some kind of natural souvenir. The moss is indeed beautiful, but it’s also full of chiggers. Little pesky redbugs. The beauty of the moss also holds something not-so-beautiful — some would say ugly. And it’s hidden (until you get your trash bag full of moss back to Hometown, USA and end up having to cover up those chigger bites with clear fingernail polish later).
So, I will ask you, just as I was asked: “What’s your moss?” What is it about you, your life — your essence — that is undeniably gorgeous, special, or celebrated? And then, take that very thing and ask yourself where the bugs are. Where’s the darkness in it? The tipping point that takes it from ebullient to embarrassing? And — here’s the kicker — what’s good about that? What’s fantastic about that? I, for one, do not wish for all of Savannah’s moss to be dismantled and destroyed because of the chiggers. If they have to find a home in the moss, so be it, but don’t snuff out the overall loveliness of something because of them.
Whatever the “dark side” of your moss is, don’t hide it away or destroy it; it’s probably the very thing that makes your moss glossy. And if you don’t know what your moss is, give me a call — we need to talk.
My moss is my inquisitive exuberance and plush sensitivity — I love life and I feel, feel, and feel. And feel some more. I will also tell you that I think the underbelly of that is my fear of being too much (as in “Oh hell, here comes another “you get to decide how your life unfolds” post. Can’t you just have a shitty day, lady?”). As an emotional sponge, I soak up all the joy, hilarity, poignancy and marvel I can stand. That means disappointment, boredom, fear and sadness come with the territory, too. I will take them all. I cannot have the life that I live without every bit of it.
This year, that life will include realizing a goal — a dream, really. I will fill in the details in upcoming weeks (because this is surely going to affect the work I will create), but I will be doing a lot of traveling. New York City in the summer. Paris, France in October. Girl-next-door meets wanderlust.
As a friend of mine says, “nothing is too good to be true” — especially if you’re willing to embrace the light and the dark and see what there is to learn or where it will take you.