Posts Tagged ‘new year’

I don’t believe that I’d be exaggerating when I claim that 2020 has been the most challenging year in the lives of so many of us around the world.  In the United States, tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year, one that is predicted to lead us initially into even greater peril – a “dark winter.”   This ominous warning stirs up more than a little unease inside of me, as I have never been particularly comfortable in the dark.  And so I gently remind myself that there is a significant amount of growth taking place in the darkness and that beginnings and endings are always intermingled. 

I’m meeting this new year with more than a little bit of anxiety as well as a determination to step over this annual threshold with more appreciation and intention than I have in years past.  Appreciation for so many of the gifts that have accompanied the anxiety, heartache, and restrictions of 2020, and intentions that will hopefully enable me to move through 2021 more consciously and with deeper gratitude.   

There will be no new year celebrations with friends and family tonight, and that’s not only the result of  the sane and responsible decision to socially distance, it’s also in response to my need to journey deeper into my life than ever before.  With well over 300,000 American lives lost to COVID (and climbing at a horrific rate), it feels only fitting that I hold my own more closely and live it more deliberately. 

I began my preparations for New Year’s Eve with a long and meditative walk along the Androscoggin river, a walk that Gunilla Norris might call a ‘soul- walk’ where we “bring along a good question, one that cannot be answered immediately.” 

Upon returning to my warm house, I played Windham Hill music, lit a candle and incense, and settled in with my journal, being mindful of another of Gunilla Norris’s assertions that “tucking a good question into your heart is like having a faithful friend.  It will keep asking you to grow and to discover what you somehow already know at a deeper level.  It will open you to yourself.”  And so, I asked myself the following questions: 

What was the overall theme of the past year?

What risks did I take?

What did I give to others?

What was I given?

What do I want to release?

What lessons did I learn?

What did I learn about myself?

What lessons do I most want to take into the new year?

I also created a vision board to capture my intentions for 2021, a visual map to hang on my wall to remind me of what truly matters,  and what I most want to cultivate and embrace in the coming year. 

Tonight I’ll spend some time with my journal once again, committing my intentions to paper, asking myself even more questions.

What will be my ‘word’ for the coming year?  A word that Christine Valters Paintner suggests might “nourish me, challenge me, a word that I can wrestle with and grow into.”  A word that can serve as a companion and guide during the months ahead. 

What’s something that I really want to do this coming year?

What’s one thing that I would really like to learn?

What’s one small act of self-care that I am ready to add to my daily life?

Who are the people that I truly want to spend more time with during this next year?

Who do I want to support more this coming year?

Who do I want to make sure I thank?

What is one thing that I want to add more of during the coming year?

What message does my wise self most want me to carry forward during the coming year?

Tomorrow I’ll be joining a group of incredibly special women on Zoom, women who’ve met each and every New Year’s day for thirty years.   While for the first time, we won’t be spending time in one another’s physical presence, we’ll still connect to each other in a beautiful and meaningful way and will carry significant messages for the New Year away with us when we part.

And finally, I’ll re-read one of my favorite poems written for a New Year by reverend Jan Richardson.

The Year as a House: A Blessing

Think of the year
as a house:
door flung wide
in welcome,
threshold swept
and waiting,
a graced spaciousness
opening and offering itself
to you.

Let it be blessed in every room.
Let it be hallowed
in every corner.
Let every nook
be a refuge
and every object
set to holy use.

Let it be here
that safety will rest.
Let it be here
that health will make its home.
Let it be here
that peace will show its face.
Let it be here
that love will find its way.

let the weary come
let the aching come
let the lost come
let the sorrowing come.

let them find their rest
and let them find their soothing
and let them find their place
and let them find their delight.

And may it be
in this house of a year
that the seasons will spin in beauty,
and may it be
in these turning days
that time will spiral with joy.
And may it be
that its rooms will fill
with ordinary grace
and light spill from
every window
to welcome
the stranger home.

Rev. Jan Richardson

Wishing you so very many blessings…

Tammie Fowles    

Oh, by the way, you are warmly invited to join me on January 6, 2021 from 6:30 pm eastern standard time until 8:00 pm to explore how you might best fully inhabit 2021 with gratitude, hope, and intention.  You can join us on zoom by clicking on the following link:

Meeting 2021 with Gratitude, Hope, and Intention

Or, copy and paste the following into your web browser:


Read Full Post »

Each Day is a Gift

Photographer: Kristen Fowles

The following is the first of three related blog posts.

On this, the last day of  2013, I’m reflecting on the past three years, – years that have proven to be the most painful and challenging of my adult life — my very own dark ages.  These have been years that  both tested and shattered me.  Years that I have needed every bit of wisdom and skill accumulated over a lifetime to pick up the pieces of my broken self.  Years that broke my heart and beat me down.  Years that I would never ever want to face again, years that had I been forewarned about, I would have run from screaming.

Why am I about to share such a huge part of my personal life here in this blog?  Because of an email that a young woman sent me.  An email that contained so much despair that it kept me tossing and turning last night until the wee hours of this morning.  She ended her email by writing that while she appreciated my wisdom and compassion, she knew I couldn’t possibly understand, and though I had worked hard and deserved all the wonderful gifts that my life contained, I had not had to face anything like what she was confronting now.   She concluded that some things that happen to us simply demolish us, leaving us without hope and in total darkness.

I wrote back to her explaining that I know all too well about fumbling hopelessly in the dark along an uncharted path which offered inadequate shelter and no exits.  During these past three years I’ve endured pain so heavy and dense that even now it can literally take my breath away, have suffered so intensely that my body has still not recovered, and have fought to control a rage so consuming that I sometimes fear it will burn me alive if I cannot break free of it.  Living has hurt, hurt desperately.  And much of what I have lost, I can never, ever recover.

I will share some of what these past three years have contained in my next two blog posts, as I am only now beginning to truly fathom how they have shattered, tested, taught, and transformed me.  I’m sharing this painful part of my life in order to connect with, reassure, and honor all of those who have lived through or are suffering through their own period of pain and darkness.  They are my sisters and brothers and I am holding them close in my heart as I write…

Read Full Post »

earth connected

As we approach 2014 I wanted to share our five most viewed posts in 2013.  Here they are (drum roll)


Poem for a New Beginning  (perfect for a new year)

The Secret Life of Bees and the Black Madonna (ultimately about love, hope and the transformative power of grief)

Therapy Worksheets (points to some wonderful resources for therapy clients)

David Whyte, Brother David Steindl-Rast , and the Antidote to Exhaustion (a story that helps locate the way forward)

I Love Your Story Still…. (an open letter to someone who needed desperately to know about the beauty of his story)

If you have a favorite, I’d love to hear about it.







Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: