Personal · Writing · Yoga

2015: Personal Reflections

Here’s another post I’m anniversarying, and Christmas Eve seems like a perfect time to do it. 2015 has disappeared the fastest of them all. Now to look back on the best moments! This year I…

Rewrote USLS from scratch. I wasn’t sure this would ever actually happen. In 2010 I began working on this novel based on my grandmother’s life story. I got pretty far in the drafting process, but wasn’t happy with it. I shoved it in the metaphorical drawer, switched to other projects — short stories, a novel in a totally different genre. But there was one particularly amazing teacher, Chuck Wachtel, who would not let me forget about USLS. He believed in the project in a way that I didn’t know how to. Every time I met with him for a lunch date he handed me another book that he hoped would inspire me. A few years went by, and Chuck’s belief was still an ember in my brain. I began playing around with the novel. Changing the characters, the voice, the premise. Marathon-drafting it during Camp NaNoWriMos. And I needed to do all that work in order to figure out where it was trying to go. January 2nd, 2015, I sat down in front of a blank document and began to pour out the story that had been simmering all this time. It came out different from anything I’d ever thought I was trying to write. And through all this I’ve learned so much about patience, about myself.

Reached my 2-year anniversary of practicing ashtanga. And am now coming up on three years of this practice. I’m so grateful for Ashtanga, and grateful for my amazing teachers, who challenge and inspire me every day. This practice has changed my body, and helped me to sharpen my discipline. It’s taught me how to let things go, how to wait, how to do the work and let the results come when they will. This practice is how I reset my mind and body when things go out of whack. This year Michael also started teaching me the Yoga Sutras in their original Sanskrit. Every day when I finish my asana practice I sit there and chant: the Ashtanga closing prayer, the Invocation to Patanjali, and then the Yoga Sutras as far as I’ve memorized. It’s become my favorite part of every morning.

Made my fifth trip to China. This was the trip of a lifetime — we hit up Xi’An and Beijing and Shanghai. We got to see the Terracotta Warriors. We traversed the country on bumpy overnight trains. We climbed the Great Wall (my second time, L’s first). We had a whirlwind week in Shanghai with some of our absolute best friends in the world — a reunion we’d been looking forward to for years. We gorged ourselves on the best food; we bargained hard; we were nostalgic; we fell in love with each other all over again.

Found a new mentor. It was such an incredible privilege to work with Nova Ren Suma this year. She understood my book so perfectly, gave me such sharp and important feedback, and was such an inspiration. She cheered me on and lent me the confidence I needed to polish my novel up and send out queries to agents. I’m so, so thankful to her.

Celebrated my 1st wedding anniversary. And hit our 7-year anniversary of knowing each other and being together. I don’t how I won the life partner lottery but I seriously, truly did. There’s no way I would have this amazing life right now if not for his encouragement and support over the years. What a beautiful, kind, and generous human being I have for a husband. Every morning I wake up and look at him and feel my heart swell with gratitude.

Hit Bodega Magazine’s third anniversary. What a phenomenal group of people I get to work with, and what a good year it’s been. We received this awesome grant and we’ve been using it to work towards the launch of a redesigned website. I’m so super excited to share our new site with the world.

Started my yoga teacher training. This has been so much more fun than I ever anticipated! I mean, I knew I wanted to do a TT, but I wanted to do it specifically to deepen my own practice and studies — not necessarily to have fun. But it has been the greatest time. We have a fantastic group of teachers, and our cohort of trainees is made up of the most inspiring, badass women. I love that we all have such different backgrounds and such different goals, but we are united by our love and practice of yoga. I love teaching so much more than I ever thought I would, love sharing the important things that have been passed down to me from my own teachers. We’re halfway through the program now, and it’s been amazing to watch my fellow TTs grow and improve, and to know with confidence that I’ve grown as well.

Signed with my dream literary agent. This was a secret goal in my brain at the top of the year, and I was afraid to write it down anywhere, to give voice to it, for fear that it wouldn’t come true. I have worked for so, so long toward this that even now it doesn’t feel totally real. How many manuscripts have I written and edited in pursuit of this? How many days and nights spent obsessing over whether it would ever happen for me? I decided when I was 7 years old that I wanted to be a published novelist — this is a dream that’s been twisting and turning inside me for a long time. And sure, I haven’t sold a book yet, but I’ll celebrate every milestone, damnit. I’m so, so thrilled.

Left my job at Penguin after 3.33 years there. And what a wild and difficult decision that was. But I decided I owed it to myself to see what I could do if I focused more of my time on my writing. I’ve made some amazing friends at Penguin, and I cried as I cleaned out my cube, trashing things like the decorations and flowers (which I’d dried) that they surprised me with when I came back from Ireland engaged, unpinning from the walls all the little trinkets and photographs that reminded me how lucky I’ve been to work there. Life will be so scarily different when we turn the corner into the new year. I’m bracing myself for a meltdown in January. But, also, I know that this something I had to do. Something I have to try. I’m excited to see what’s next.

I am so grateful. I am so lucky.

Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.

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