Just after Christmas, as I was cleaning my room and desk, I found a sealed envelope in which I had written my prayers for the year. When I opened it, I was astounded:
Though I had all but forgotten this written prayer, it had been answered. Maybe not in exactly the way I expected, but answered nonetheless.
I was able to do the work of my soul. Though my book has not (yet) sold, in the wake of Newtown, I worked for gun reform all year. I never saw that coming, and yet it was the most important work I could do – and had to do.
My family was blessed with good health, Stitch is still with us, and we have peace and resolution.
And this, the answered prayer I didn’t think was possible : my grandson Ayumu and daughter-in-law Aya came home from Japan. They moved back in with us. Ayumu enrolled in preschool and learned to speak English and ride a bike and fly on his scooter alongside Evan. My daughter-in-law excelled in school and got her green card. This was beyond a dream come true.
At the same time, this year my career fell apart. I now had two little kids to take care of, and as they adjusted to this new living situation, there was a lot of love/hate. Lots of slammed doors and yelling and making up. My days were filled with time-outs and potty-training and driving to and from two schools. Between them and my activist work, I had no time to write, or do much of anything else, but at least I had work coming up. And then all the work I had booked for the summer began to cancel…boom, boom, boom like dominoes falling, until everything was gone. And with Aya and Ayumu returning home, we had two more mouths to feed. I started hustling, sending out hundreds of resumes, sending my new book out hoping to sell it- and nothing. I was crushed. Scared. Broke. Though Troy was working 6 to 7 days a week, our bills had doubled and soon we were upside down financially. Our ship was sinking.
There were many fearful days I thought we wouldn’t make it. I worried we would lose everything. We had to cut loose a few things just to stay afloat; mine and Troy’s super-expensive health insurance and our home phone line were a few of the casualties of summer. I feared our house would be next. But what happened was that those times drove me to my knees, which was exactly where I needed to be.
I immersed myself in prayer and meditation. I prayed for courage and wisdom. I prayed for balance. I prayed to find my way out of fear and back to faith. My prayers (or thoughts, whatever works for your belief system) were once again answered. Stepping out of fear restored me, and though we still didn’t have the money we needed to right our ship, I felt peace, and chose to believe that it would all work out.
When I focused on the lack and the problems, it only grew larger, looming over me every waking moment, keeping me up at night. But when I put my focus on gratitude, when I put my energy into faith, I slept. I felt happier. I breathed easier. And though the bills were piling up, I stayed present in the moment. I reminded myself: The lights were on. We had food in the cupboards, coffee brewing in the morning. In the present moment, we were okay.
So here we are at the end of the year. Thanks to Troy’s hard work, our bills are getting paid down. We are stable. And in a few days, our family’s new healthcare plan kicks in. Obamacare is saving us $700 a month- this is a life changer!
Winter came, miraculously, with an unexpected free trip with the kids to Vegas and Disneyworld (thanks Wilson Phillips), and then a free trip to Jamaica for my 50th birthday. Free! These were events I could not have possibly imagined six months ago. The year ended with my daughter getting her Masters degree in psychology, and a new job possibility for me.
Do I believe in the power of prayer? Hell, yeah.
I also believe deeply in the power of our thoughts, our intentions, and our words.
2013 was both my savior and my greatest adversary. But I know that every adversary is a great teacher.
Here is what 2013 taught me:
Everything eventually works out, somehow.
I am always okay.
Life regenerates after loss.
Fear and worry is a HUGE waste of time.
Asking for what I want from life, and believing I deserve it, is essential.
Daily gratitude is as important as oxygen.
Love heals everything. Period.
And the biggest lesson of all: No matter what each year may bring, there is always a gift. Always.
In that spirit, I greatly anticipate 2014, and vow to embrace every moment. I will stay rooted in gratitude and love, be clear with my intentions and my words, and keep exercising that faith muscle.
I am grateful for the beautiful circle of people (all of you) that surround my life, and the love that holds me up. I hope to do the same for you.
Here’s to a beautiful 2014. Let’s embrace it- all of it.