As we move into the final days of 2020, I think it’s pretty safe to say most of us will be happy to see 2020 fade into the rear-view mirror of our lives.
The holidays bring a loaded set of emotions with them, and many of us are embracing them with gusto, trying to amplify joyful spirits in a year that has been incredibly fraught. Others are just plain done; emotionally finished with 2020 and not into the holidays this year, with so many cherished traditions altered or done away with, when we’ve already weathered so much change. Whatever camp you are in, or if you are somewhere in the middle, or if it depends on the day (that’s where I am living!), let yourself be there. Allow yourself to accept your feelings and those of your friends and families – I don’t think there has ever been a time when empathy and kindness have been so important.
And gratitude – which as a topic has certainly been in the spotlight in 2020 and with good reason. Practicing gratitude (which really just means acknowledging what you are grateful for and appreciating it) can make daily life better in so many ways. Simplified, it’s just that much more difficult to feel down or sorry for yourself when you are feeling gratitude. It’s a very powerful emotion.
I’m sharing my own, quite personal, gratitude list – and I would absolutely love to know yours. I’m generally a fairly private person, so this feels very vulnerable (and maybe not appropriate?) but I’m hoping it sparks inspiration for creating your own list and sharing it with someone you love. (or just email to it me – I’ll keep it private and would love to read yours!).
Family (close friends too!)
This is a big (and complicated) one as I’ve got two sets of incredibly supportive and encouraging parents/step-parents, plus a father-in-law, sister-in law, husband, our daughter together, and three bonus kids from his first marriage. This may not be how everyone dreams their ideal family will look when they are young, but I am grateful for them all and the totally and uniquely “us” dynamic that we’ve created. We split the holidays with our ex-wife and her partner, and have created beautiful traditions that we and our kids enjoy. This year will be much smaller, and while it will be so sad not to have all the parents/grandparents or our friends at the table on the 24th, we’ll still cook up a storm and take care packages to those close by. But most of all I’m grateful that our family is healthy, and that this is the family I got to quarantine with! My husband, in particular, has made this year not only bearable, but even magical on some days. (Love you babe!)
Since discovering yoga over 23 years ago, I’ve never been so grateful for the practice as in 2020. And after March, it has looked a lot different, and felt a lot different. Online is NOT the same as in studio obviously, but online and self-practice is what we have, and I’ve found a rhythm that is really working. My practice has changed – it’s less regimented, a bit more compassionate and aligned with my emotions each day, and I’ve also introduced some online barre, initially to help with a hamstring injury in the spring, but I’ve kept it in rotation because I find I need more variety in my practice now, when almost everything else is the same each day. I’m also incredibly grateful for the small online class I teach each week – 3-4 of us come together on zoom, flow and sweat and connect. It’s not the same as in person, but it still fills my heart and puts me in a fantastic mood for the rest of the day.
Food (including wine!)
I’m incredibly grateful that we are food secure, first and foremost. But I’m also so happy that as a family we all truly love and appreciate good food; it nourishes us nutritionally and emotionally. In 2020 food has brought us closer – more family dinners (albeit the smaller version of our family), way more cooking together, more time spent at the table. More focus, and more presence. And that also made us really appreciate our weekly local take-out meal even more!
The Niyama community
Full transparency, 2020 has not been a good year for many small businesses, Niyama included. It’s been crazy hard. Entrepreneurship is an emotional roller coaster at the best of times, but with COVID it can easily go off the rails. The support and feedback of each Niyama customer, Instagram or Facebook Follower, every Retailer that has taken a chance on a new brand in a scary year, and the hard-working team at Puresource, our new Retail Distribution partner has made it worthwhile, and given me the optimism to keep going. The future looks so much brighter, and if you are reading this, you have helped to give me the motivation to push forward, even on the scary days, and I am excited to be planning new products and initiatives for 2021! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Full disclosure this was a toss-up between Perspective and Netflix. Really, what would we have done without Netflix this year? But perspective wins, because it has been my silver lining in this whole mess of a year. It has forced me to be more present every day, to be more aware of the world in a more connected way. And to care more about how I want to live in this world, and the impact I want to have on others. And to be laser focused on what really matters. Which brings me right back to gratitude. I am grateful for my place in this world and for the opportunity to create Niyama, and to share it.
If you’ve read this whole long, rambling personal essay I thank you immensely! And I hope you will create your own personal Gratitude list, and that it will bring some joy in this strange and challenging time.
Love & Peace,