It is snowing outside. Light, like confectionery sugar. It is beautiful but very cold! Brrr. I have spent the day connecting with friends and family through Skype which has been nice, and finally got a chance to write this post about my wishes/dreams/thoughts for 2014. On my way to Ecuador, I had a lot of waiting-time in the airport and I spent most of it reading blogs on my feedly, and then following links in those blogs to other blogs and so on. Almost a year ago, within the lesbian mothers blogging community that I read, a little boy, Caemon, lost his life to leukemia. I hadn’t read his moms’ blog previously, but learned of the loss as the blogs that I read reacted and mourned his passing.
In the airport this New Year’s Eve, I was once more directed to C is For Crocodile and this time read through almost all of it. Such a tribute to his life, his love for his mamas and their love for him, his tenacity, his ability to face his fears, as well as what happens after loss. Their writing tears at the heart, and reminds us all about the wonder and heartbreak that is life. One idea in particular stuck with me: “lead with love” and is one that I will carry with me into 2014, along with Caemon’s memory. “Caemon has taught me, someone who has often led with anxiety and fear, how to instead lead with love. We’re all afraid; it’s what we do with that fear, how we channel it, how we frame it that lets us escape its grips and really, truly live.” –Timaree’s words about her son at his memorial. As someone who often deals with anxiety, and who struggled with it in 2013 in particular, and as someone who has also lost people close to me, these words really struck me.
The other blog that interested me (which I can’t recover from the rabbit hole of links and blogs I found it in) discussed the idea of choosing a word to define the upcoming new year, one that you will return to over and over, and which will guide you in how you want your life to be. It made me think about the word that I would like to define 2014. “Lead with love” is one concept that I will carry with me, and on my flight to Quito, I also made a list of single words on the American Airways napkin I was given, starting with the word “love.” love. learn. travel. hope. experience. calm. peace. breathe. break. thrive. love. believe. light. transformation. live. care. caress. create. circle. sacred. earth. ground. faith. me. connection. relationships. beauty. moment. silence. words. free. laughter. enjoy. possibility. potential. texture. adventure. spontaneous. simple. satisfy. active. simple. relax. restore. center. appreciate. understand. wick. limitless. bounce. power. elemental. While many of these words resonate with me, the one that stuck out the most, and which felt the most comfortable and appropriate over the next few days and weeks, was breathe. It is a reminder to center myself and be mindful of the present. When grad school is overwhelming, I often remind myself to just breathe, and take it one step at a time.
When I arrived in Quito and the taxi driver couldn’t find my cousin’s house and I didn’t have a phone number to call and it was almost 1 am in the morning, I took a deep breath and avoided panicking. (We found it finally!) Breathing is a way to calm anxiety. It also reminds me to be grateful for my life and to the breath that I have, and for those around me. Appropriately, while I was writing this, Anna Nalick’s song: “2 AM” played on my pandora station. “Just breathe.” I have specific ideas/resolutions about I would like to accomplish in 2014 in regards to my dissertation, relationships, physical health, but I am not going to write them out like I did last year. Instead, I am going to hold onto these two concepts, “lead with love” and “breathe” and see what the year brings for me. May your 2014 be filled with wonder, happiness, and love.