The end of 2021 finds me in a soft, delicate, reflective state. It is a time of year that is difficult for many of us, and in these extraordinary, polarised and uncertain times – when many of us have suffered loss and illness – it is particularly challenging. I have found myself swinging between moments of anger and rage, moments of quiet and calm, of sorrow and grief, and glimmers of hope beneath all of that.
What has supported you in 2021?
Because it is so easy to sink into despair over this endless stuckness and stickiness we find ourselves in, I invite you to reflect upon a word or words that capture your year in terms of learning and growth.
For me it is community.
I have realised this year just how long I have spent plugging away at work projects on my own, in solitude – including, of course, writing my book. Whilst writing perhaps requires a lot of alone time, I see also how there can be far too much solitude and introversion in these difficult times.
The pandemic has led us to rely more and more on social media as our way of human connection. But whilst this technology may have helped us hugely in our isolation, I also see its damaging effects: how it pushes us further into our silos, further into judgement of others who disagree with us, further into separation and an unwillingness to open up to different perspectives or possibilities.
Our appearances on social media are only ever a small part of who we really are anyway – our Facebook or Instagram profiles only tell a limited story about our hopes and dreams, or insecurities and fears.
So what has supported me hugely this year is community. Like so many of us, for much of the time during lockdown I have had to find this online – through intentional gatherings where space is held for us all to express, and to listen, from our hearts. I am part of a regular women’s circle that meets on Zoom once a month, and connects separately in smaller groups via Whats App and check-in calls every week. It is a wonderful collection of mothers, sisters, daughters and lovers – most of whom I have never seen in the flesh but together we have laughed, cried, expressed our hopes, doubts, sorrows and desires.
But I have also found community outside, in those cherished moments where we weren’t restricted by lockdowns. I have found it at festivals where I have danced with others joyously, or sat in circle with humility. I have found it in singing – coming together and expressing our complicated, delicate emotions through voice and harmony.
And I have found it through my work. It has been a long hard slog this last year getting my book finished and published, but there have been some incredible people who have had my back along the way; encouraging me, cheering me on, reaching out to collaborate with me, telling me with honesty and courage how the book has touched them.
Many of them have been complete strangers who have found me via social media (so there are some good things about it!) And others have been more local to where I live in Sussex. I have been truly touched by how these relationships have formed, by people’s generosity in supporting me and sharing their ideas with me, and by the solidarity that emerges from these connections. It gives me hope and inspiration that community can form around common ideas, values and commitments to making the world more caring, compassionate and inclusive. And that we can have fun together along the way.
What magical qualities can carry you into 2022?
As we turn to a new year, I encourage you to consider what you are grateful for, and what you wish to celebrate from 2021.
What or who has supported you? Do you need to thank them?
What have you overcome, what have you achieved against the odds?
When and how have you shown up honestly, truthfully, courageously, for yourself and for your loved ones?
How may you take all these magical elements and qualities into 2022, so that you may continue to grow and learn, and thrive?
Thank you all so much for your support this last year. Each one of you who reads this blog, or buys my book, plays a huge role in reminding me of the importance of this work – and of the potential of building a community committed to ending oppression, separation, burnout and all the negative behaviours and belief systems that prevent us from living life more fully.
Wishing you love, happiness and hope for the new year.