It feels a bit surreal to write a new year. I recognize that a new year doesn’t mean much more than a shifting page on the calendar except with it also comes a collective consciousness of hope, prayers of peace and intentions for growth. And that, I believe, is where the shift happens.

There is great power in hope. In a deep belief that better days are ahead of us. There is massive strength in intention. With it brings a listening ear, seeing eyes and an open heart for where to live out of that intention.

We also know that after a year like 2020 whatever we think we can control and aspire to is ultimately outside of us and yet, here we are. We not only survived but I’m sure in many areas, ways that most likely surprised us, we thrived.

2020 was a year of great discomfort. Because we felt the lack of control so fundamentally and daily, I’m sure many of you, like myself, felt the body tightening anxiety and apathetic ache of depression at times. Every day revealed death, suffering and an end to normalcy. The privileged and comfortable lenses that hid my eyes from injustice fell away and the world will never look the same. And still beauty exists. We may have had to look harder or see it in simplicity; like a perfectly made cup of coffee, a profound sentence that shifts us to the core, or a sweet cherry tomato grown in your own garden. But it’s there.

In that great discomfort and dis-ease I found a truer version of me. And I’m certain many of you could say the same.

As the calendar has steadily, albeit slowly, marched towards a new year, a new beginning, I’ve thought often of myself standing at the cusp of 2020. I imagine myself like Ebenezer Scrooge, getting visited by a ghost from the future. This ghosts paints a dire picture of the coming year. The death, loss, heartbreak, isolation, financial stress, division… okay, I’ll stop.

I would have punched that ghost in the face and ran for cover.

I can’t help but think that had I known all that were to happen in 2020 I’m not sure I would believe it to be survivable and yet here we are.

We survived and I truly believe that in many ways were stronger than ever. I’m taking that truth with me into the new year and all the years to come. Whatever comes we can survive it. Even when it feels un-survive-able. Hour by hour. Day by day. And in a few moments of grace you’ll forget you’re simply surviving and you’ll notice goodness, beauty, love and these are the things that keep pushing us forward.

So I am leaving 2021 plans without resolutions. Without specific goals. Instead I want to focus on the values and intentions I want to bring to each and every day. How I see the world and what I can bring to it; these are the things I can control.

One of my resounding values that I hold dear is to find the beauty in each and every day. I hope that perhaps together we can find and bring beauty to a world that so desperately needs it.

Happy New Year.



3 Responses to “New Year”

  1. Jana

    I love hearing from you. You said what many are feeling and haven’t put into words.

  2. Kate

    Thank you for this Ashley. Your point about focusing on your intention to see the beauty in each day and bring good intention and values to each day is a focus that I love and see as useful and simply, good; it encapsulates so much of what we can do with our time and also delineates where our power ends. I appreciate the reminder.