I woke up to a wash of moonlight brushing my face at six o’clock this morning- it’s the first thing I saw in the new year and I decided I would take it not only as an omen of good things to come, but as an invitation from life for continued illumination.

Illumination is all about bringing things to light, developing a deepening awareness, and seeking clearer understanding. It will never cease to amaze me how we can think we know ourselves so well- have life and our sense of self firmly in grasp- and then receive a good jolt from the Universe that causes us to reconsider perspective and the lens with which we’ve been viewing life.

I’ve had several good jolts lately.

The first one was a byproduct of recently writing an essay to try and win a scholarship for a Resilient Women Conference. I did not win, but the act of writing an honest and vulnerable piece helped me own my truth on my divorce and journey to authenticity, in a way not previously owned. I realized that as much as I love poetry, it is easy to hide behind. I don’t have to take individual pieces and arrange them into something cohesive. I don’t have to tell the full story. Most important, poetry doesn’t cause me to stand as firmly in my truth- I’m not as challenged to examine all the cobwebs, dusty closets and unopened boxes in my mind and claim the truth of these experiences.

I will forever be writing poetry- I love the practice and art of it too much to stop, but this year I am also refocusing my writing on telling the whole story. 2016 feels like a good year to write that book on self-love and authenticity that I’ve been talking about writing for so long; so the new year is shaping up to be a very wordy year.

My next jolt was a shift in perspective that made me realize how we can become so locked into a mindset, we limit the possibilities of our own future. I have been saying for awhile now that I would eventually leave Alaska someday, in fact, I’ve been saying “in 5-7 years” for the last few years. I have given much of my life to this state, it has been so beautiful and good to me, but I have also been craving a new start someday where there are not physical reminders from the ghosts of my past, and where my wonderful husband- who moved from Oregon to Alaska to be with me and who had the challenge of integrating himself into my pre-established community- and myself will both have the experience and challenge of starting over anew. Together.

Alaska sometimes feels like auto pilot to me, everything is so dialed in, and the part of myself that craves growth has started to feel restless. Also, I’m finding the winters increasingly wearing; it’s not easy living in a black hole for 3 months out of the year, sometimes I desire to never be cold again. Ever. So I am unlocking myself from the 5-7 year mindset and making a plan for sooner rather than later. Subsequently, we have decided to move to Kauai in 3 years. (Yay!!!!!) Then I will live in a place where there truly is sunshine in winter and not have to work quite so hard to manufacture some in the arctic cold.

The last jolt was the most difficult. I spent the week between Christmas and New Years in deep introspection and contemplation of truth, when I was hit by the realization that I had become one of my own biggest obstacles of self, by not standing up for myself and expressing my truth. I have an over developed empathic streak, a well practiced tendency to emotionally care take others, and a habit of self managing in private so I don’t make waves. I am realizing this comes at my own expense and that when I don’t call a space a spade and offer my perspective, I end up disempowered, and I keep others in the dark about how I’m really feeling. None of these things do anybody any good in the end.

I wrote a line in a poem this week that said, when you don’t own your truth, your truth owns you. It comes out in somatic expressions and trauma reactions. It knocks at the doors in your mind and asks to be heard. If you try and smother it; it becomes increasingly persistent as it tries to get your attention, popping out at unlikely and terribly inconvenient times that will leave you reeling wondering why you reacted the way you did. And when not expressed, it clings, preventing you from fully moving forward into new space in life, robbing your relationships of opportunities for growth, genuineness and a deepening of intimacy.

Our stories need to be told. Our truths need to be owned. This past week has reminded me I am recommitted to owning and telling mine. I deserve the old adage of setting myself free and am more than ready to start clearing new space. Like I said, it will never cease to amaze me how we can think we know ourselves so well- have life and our sense of self firmly in grasp- and then receive a good jolt from the Universe that causes us to reconsider perspective. There is much that changed for me in the span of a week, and I feel steadier and stronger for it.

Ready to face whatever 2016 has in store.

I have gone back in forth with my intention for the new year. Each year I pick a theme to focus on in the upcoming months. After chronically overworking myself, I declared 2015 The Year of Pleasure. Less office, more play. Less stress, more laughter. Less chaos, more bubble baths. Things like that. Suffice it to say, it’s been a good year. So what will be in 2016?

I thought about making 2016 The Year of Simplicity. I have a strong desire to scale back the chaos in the upcoming year and find continued joy in the small things in life. After my recent epiphany on emotional integrity, I thought about making 2016 The Year of Truth. I want to continue to challenge myself to honest, authentic expression. But then I woke up this morning in that bath of moonlight- everything obfuscated by night save for the luminous streams of the moon in my window- and the moment felt like a gift of grace.

When we seek, Life will bring to light the things we need to know. It will help bring clarity into our darkness so we can see things for what they are. It will give us a jolt when we can’t look beyond ourselves, and it wants us to realize there is another way. It will shine into our recesses, so we can better see our truths. It will rise up to meet us where we are at and honor the courage it takes to live our Truth of Self. We were never meant to go quietly into the night, but to live out the bright light of self, each of us is gifted.

Beautiful lessons I thought I knew, but Life has recently been illuminating on a deeper, more nuanced level.

So here’s to 2016. The Year of Illumination.

I’m so very glad you’re here.