My word for 2020 was "courage". When I chose this word, I had no idea it would become the pillar on which I founded a community.
In my mind, I needed to exhibit courage in really small ways in my life. After all, 2019 had been the year of "more": I'd launched a new blog, fully embraced a yogic lifestyle, and explored every city I visited. I got a little nervous that this life of adventure and this emboldened attitude might be serving as a big distraction.
Yes, I was sober, which came with ready-made logic that all of those hours spent living life the fullest were once spent drinking. But at times it felt hollow. As though I were giving myself credit for all of the giant leaps out of my comfort zone but neglecting small healthy habits I desperately wanted to implement. I thought sobriety would magically make me feel better in my body and it hadn't. I needed the courage to tend to things I'd been ignoring.
When the year began, I expected the call to courage to mean that I would actually do physical therapy exercises at home while suspending disbelief as to whether or not they actually worked. It would mean saying "no" to the dessert buffet at tradeshows and ordering more salads on the road. It would mean actually using the sneakers I packed for trips.
Then COVID-19 happened.
Like most, I was baffled about what that would mean for the weeks or months ahead. Work travel came to a screeching halt and yet I couldn't bring myself to use those evening hours differently. I was overwhelmed and mentally fatigued all the time. I felt the collective fear of the planet and few could find bravery in the face of a pandemic.
Then a little bit of magic happened.
The year-long chakra manifestation journey I was on with my yoga group was humming along nicely. I'd brainstormed some ideas about a future retreat space. I listed out all of the things that the "Holistic Homestead" was going to offer (including goat yoga, naturally). I began to think about workshops and a curriculum I could offer guests. What did I know a lot about? Kindness. What did I need to launch an endeavor like this? Courage.
I decided to try out the retreat curriculum I'd crafted with an online course. I never pegged myself a public speaker, but Alexia Vernon had helped me "step into my moxie" last year. I found that the half hour videos flowed naturally and seamlessly. I guided four women through the course in early fall and look forward to offering it again in 2021.
Ideas sparked my imagination and the boutique was born. Twenty years in corporate buying taught me a thing or two about merchandising. It was fun to tap friends for items that could bring "courage and compassion" to life through their unique mediums. The energy they've each put into their projects is as inspiring as their creations.
Then came podcasts. I had no idea what I was doing when I reached out to a few about interviews. My sobriety podcast aired early in the year and because it recorded last November, it felt like a lifetime ago. I fumbled my way through several in the interest of the website and made some amazing new friends in the process.
The presence of courage was needed far more than I ever would have expected this year. Fortunately, time at home allows for extra walks on the trails and healthy cooking in my own kitchen. It seemed, however, that discipline was the more appropriate mindset for a healthier lifestyle.
Courage, on the other hand, allowed me to turn a dream into a reality. To bring my hope for the future into the chaos of the present. Courage wasn't content to only be used for tiny habits. It stirred last year when I called in the lion. It solidified its place in my heart when I got my tattoo.
A year ago, I would have been content to just keep writing a blog about kindness each week. Now I have found a winning combination with which to build confidence in others by discovering my own.
"What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!" -The Cowardly Lion