Pausing to Celebrate

A few weeks ago I was interviewing an incredible life coach. Someone I hope to work with someday (though ultimately I was honoring myself in knowing now isn’t the time to add stuff on to my ever increasing schedule). During our discussion she was asking me about my life and I briefly mentioned I had sole, legal custody of my son. She asked me when I obtained that and I mentioned it was May of 2019. Her gut reaction was, “did you pause to celebrate? you have so much on your plate, did you really take the time to honor this incredible accomplishment? did you pause to reflect on how challenging that was and everything you overcame? did you truly, really, celebrate?”

Ummmm. No. No I did not.

I kept going, put one foot in front of the other and dealt with yet another fire here or there. I did not pause to celebrate. Who the fuck has time to do that anyway?

My only celebration included a {delicious} cheeseburger with my mother in Harvard Square. I then picked my son up from school and snuggled the night away. Celebration done. Work and other things up next.

But the life coach had me thinking: what would happen if I were to slow down enough to acknowledge all the incredible things I have accomplished in the last few years?

I have sole, legal custody of my child.
I built a 501c3 non-profit that is growing in so many beautiful ways.
I have built a BEAUTIFUL community of yogis and been open as a studio for close to six years.
I live on my own in the ‘perfect for us home’ by the ocean.
I am working on a book with the Yoga Service Council on Yoga + Addiction.
I met Nikki Myers, one of my personal heroes.
I hosted TWO annual Galas.
I trained close to 50 people to become yoga teachers.
I trained 13 people to become volunteer teachers for Yoga for Families of Addiction.
I obtained my Trauma Restorative Teacher Training Certification.

Those are just the highlights. I’ve written articles, poems, blog posts, been on podcasts and connected to more people than I can remember. In the past few years there have been countless weddings, births and more joy than I care to imagine. There has also been heartache, devastation and loss. The last few years flipped my entire world upside down and I needed to navigate who I was going to become in order to show up as the best possible mother, boss and person I could be. I accomplished a hell of a lot from that moment and I’m only just now realizing I forgot to take a moment to pause and celebrate.

As I took my time feeling into what celebration would look like, I began to ask myself: what feels like home? what feels like joy? what feels as though it would help you emerge?

A few things came up. Dinner with friends, family and cousin time. Time spent alone. Yoga. And I’ve always wanted to attend a cacao ceremony. This is a space where you are fully open in your heart and able to open, connect and just allow for whatever happens to come into the space. I have been fascinated with them and wanted to try one. In the spring, I hired someone to create a ceremony at the Shala and thought that was going to be my opportunity.

But life changes. And I found myself on a Saturday evening, sick as a dog, after having slept 4 hours and saw there was a ceremony down the street. I called the studio owner who is a friend of mine and she slid me in from the waitlist, imploring me to go and just breathe, celebrate and BE in the space.

So tonight I attended a cacao ceremony. The description said it would be 2 hours: 6-8pm. I showed up 15 minutes early and we didn’t begin until 6:22pm, nor did we end until 9:22pm! When the ceremony began, I started to weep immediately. Tears of sadness for the grief and loss in my heart, tears of joy for all I’ve accomplished and all that’s yet to come and tears of pure light for the world at large. Then we danced. And danced and danced. We had trust falls and reiki, crying, hugs and so damn much support.

As I was held in space by my beautiful colleague in the field Ali, and hugged by two virtual strangers as I wept, I knew it was time to feel into celebration. To be grateful for all I have had, even the heartaches and the ones who left a giant whole in my heart. To be grateful that my baby boy is mine, forever and ever amen, sharing my last name, my heart, my home and all that legally binds us. I found gratitude; even for the tears.

Tonight I will celebrate. No matter how much my heart may ache or I may shift and grow at various times in my life, I will celebrate the goodness I have found, the lessons I have learned and the love I have shared.

In gratitude, as I try to find joy in this new year.



P.s. The image above is my mama and I the day I left the courthouse with sole custody!

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