As we part ways forever 2021, I reflect on this final day in your name, as I ritualistically do on the last day of each year. I offer gratitude for the lessons learned from a year of unpredictable trials and tribulations. I have hunkered deep into my intuitive wisdom to speak from my soul….
Soul Sisters, Friends & Community
The continued pandemic showed me how much I need community, and how the practicality of how that shows up in my life naturally ebbs and flows. I’ve had to get creative: Zooming and FaceTiming more than anticipated, and seeing friends through masked faces and outside in the cold. There has been loss and grief in social times, as rupture has occurred, as well, and certain relationships have grown distant and have parted ways. Love and care will always be there, though the bonds of closeness and frequent chats has changed.
To my friends, thank you for showing up, opening your hearts, and being an unconditional support and love for me. With appreciation for giving and receiving, I love our times together, and how you each fill me in new, joyous ways.
D, B & Me
On the home front, my Beloved and I found ourselves in a new house to call a home, located in a familiar yet new city. It’s been filled with surprising and challenging new adventures and experiences, albeit also offering us great local restaurants filled with friendly locals! More than good food and a new space, I am grateful and fulfilled with deep, abiding love for a relationship that feels like home in my heart.
To my Beloved, deep appreciation for 2021, another year together, even if it looked different than we had anticipated. The pandemic grew us stronger and more resilient, led us to be better communicators and supporters of each other, and gave us vision for our future together. Even in the darkness (ahem, apartment power outages!), we’re in this together. Thank you, my love, for another 365 days around the sun with you and Blakey.
Sharing My Heart’s Work in the World
In 2021, I made life-saving decisions to help others, even though it was some of the most-challenging experiences of my professional career. I helped develop policies and procedures to aid in client (and clinician) physical and emotional safety and care, and have partnered with colleagues to develop a summer academy for adolescents (coming June 2022!). Through it all this past year, I have gratitude for my work in the field of counseling and psychology, and truly gave it my all. Being a therapist showed me how dim some people’s lights have been, and how hard things are collectively since March 2020.
My clients’ inner lights, though only a small flicker at times, are brightening as they learn the skills I teach them and model for how to navigate an uncertain world. I’m human, and live in this crazy world, too. I don’t pretend I have all the answers, and by no means think I am perfect (especially as a self-proclaimed recovering perfectionist), and yet, I have done work this year with clients that I’m proud of.
To my clients, thank you for the honor of hearing your stories and for trusting me with your greatest secrets as I walk beside you on this path called Life. I hope my intentions of compassionate listening and heart-felt offerings have been supportive for you. I’m in awe of each of you, and have great respect for our journey together. Thank you for sharing your world with me.
Receiving The Teachings
2021 was full of learning, as I participated in many online seminars and workshops to support my thirst and longing for personal and professional growth. Most impactful, I’ve been guided to Elena Brower’s mentorship program. Also, enveloped by the online yoga teachings of many new-to-me teachers this past year, both locally and around the world, I leaned into my home practice and tuned into my body’s wisdom as my yoga practice looks different, softer, and more pleasant in my body. I’ve maintained over a year of a consistent morning asana practice and an evening meditation practice. My mornings and evenings feel “Nourishing” (my word-of-the-year from 2019), and I have found “Freedom” in my body (my word from 2020). Life isn’t always easy, but I have found a sense of “Ease” in my world (my word from 2021).
I became a devoted listener to many podcasts for my personal and soulful growth, as well as professional development. I found a new love for this mode of receiving information and inspiration, as my listening skills sharpened and honed into deep conversations and teachings. To the hosts and guests on the podcasts from The New Truth (Catherine Danieli and Kate Harlow), Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead (Brené Brown), Practice You (Elena Brower), We Can Do Hard Things (Glennon Doyle), Where Should We Begin (Esther Perel), Swoon (Julie Jeske and Gina Senarghi), Yoga Girl (Rachel Brathen), On Being (Krista Tippett), Radiant Rest (Tracee Stanley), Yoga Heart Mind (Stuart Watkins and Jo Tastula), Yogaland (Andrea Ferretti and Jason Crandell), Michaela Boehm, Authentic Sex (Juliet Allen), Ten Percent Happier (Dan Harris), Super Soul Sunday (Oprah Winfrey), and more. I bow to you and your offerings.
And though I’ve had moments of uncertainty and exhaustion, I learned about burnout and the stress cycle through the work of sisters Emily and Amelia Nagoski, and I leaned into my own liberated feminine expressions and pleasure through The Empowered Woman and the work of Courtney Davis. I discovered a new brand of clothing, called Happii, which supports mental health awareness, and is a local/woman-owned business. The creator has clothes that are inspirational, beautiful, durable, and fit my body and soul perfectly. She is a gem that has made a difference in my year. A beautiful win-win all around!
Deep bow to all my teachers from 2021; Dear Ones, for showing me the light through your heart’s work and inspiring me to show up as a light-worker.
Greetings to 2022!
I have gratitude and appreciation for 2021 for clearing the path to a brighter vision and clarity to stand in my truth, as I am ready to share my inner wisdom with the world in 2022 and beyond.
I answered a call from the Universe to be an advocate and support for my fellow therapists in the counseling and social work field. I am ready to step into my power and support causes that matter in my heart. I am walking a path that is unknown, where the brush has not been cleared yet, but I will wear the grass down as I embark on new work in the psychology field. This heart-based spark is a new development of my purpose and passion. I commit to following the light of my heart and make changes in the world.
I have planted the seeds and will continue to embark on growth through creative journeys — art, writing, movement, dance, and offer the fullest expression of my soul and spirit. I will continue the momentum I have for my morning yoga practice and daily connections with friends. I commit to being accountable with my words and actions in alignment with the highest truth. I will embrace the fine thread between radical acceptance and change with an open-heart, beauty, and grace.
Dear, sweet 2022, please be kinder, and may it start with me. Please don’t be mean, whether intentional or not; please guide human-kind to have greater respect and understanding for all. Though serving in my highest role, may we see with clearer eyes and help one another. May my fellow men and women, children, and elders, come to have clarity of the inter-connectedness we have at our core. May the lessons be learned that need to be, and may we move forward with love in our hearts. May I be the change I wish to see in the world as I live authentically with integrity, care for myself and others, and be fully present from my heart.
May I “Flow.” May it be so.
Deep bow with gratitude and appreciation,
Joanna J Barrett
December 31, 2021
January 1, 2022