Getting Personal About 2016

Getting personal today…

It turns out that the year 2016 was a hard one for me – a real stinker.

I’ve heard of many that experience a phase like that while working to bring a creation to life.

Though, on top of that, we had many big and unfortunate situations and losses come our way last year. Have you ever felt like when it rains it pours? We were kinda in a South American rainy season there for a bit.

Family, health, real estate, religion, politics…you name it. There were setbacks in so many different areas of life, all at once. And the feeling of loss knocked the wind out of me.

And then there’s the guilt you feel when you realize there are so many people in the world who are suffering in the worst ways imaginable…and it makes the circumstances you face seem almost silly.

But  – pain is still pain. No matter what is causing it, it still needs attention. And my hope is that we can all learn how to uncover it, care for it, and heal from it – no matter what we are facing.

4 things gave me glimmers of light through that difficult time:

-Reminding myself (again and again) that I actually didn’t NEED any of my circumstances to unfold in a different way…that I could recover and heal and become anew again, regardless.

-I had the hope that the phase would pass. I had the trust that spring would come – because I had, indeed, tasted spring before (such a gift!).

-I had the hope that this experience could teach me how to surrender on an even deeper level. I do know that process well – and it was comforting to at least have access to it, even if, at times, I wasn’t ready to engage it.

-Danny would say the most comforting words in the world:

“It’s okay. This is LIFE! All is well. I love you, and I accept you just the way you are.”

I am now on the other side of that difficult experience and have been for a few months.

But I just gotta say how much I’m rooting for you in your own challenging times. I can say with all my heart that doing the work when you are able is the greatest gift you could give yourself. Because life truly is nuts. Take advantage of learning, push yourself to learn how to heal, actually put into practice new tools – because we all know that undoubtedly, we will face something difficult. And the more prepared you are, the better. Though – even then, our shadows will come. And we will learn what it means to be human, again – and again. Thank God we’re all in this thing called life together.

Love Always!

Mara

(photo taken a few days after the U.S. election, while thinking about how much patriarchy blows. :/ )

P.S. One of our Body+Soul Camp guests got a tattoo of something I said (perhaps the raddest thing that ever happened to me. haha). It says: “My pain is sacred.” Yes, indeed, it is – it’s our greatest teacher, and our greatest unifier.

P.P.S. Have you signed up for our About Love Experience yet? It’s a FREE 10-day email experience chock-full of inspiration, and so many people are loving it! I’m so glad. XO

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4 Comments

  1. Cindy May 18, 2017 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    I’m still not over 2016. One of the parts of my life that seemed relatively stable (and so didn’t get mentioned, lol) when you were in Hillsboro last summer was that my oldest child has a terminal genetic illness. I never expected the election would go the way it did, putting her access to healthcare in jeopardy. That in and of itself is traumatic, but what’s been worse has been the almost absolute silence from our (conservative) family members. I feel like I don’t even know how to process it, and I’ll work and work on it and get to a place of calm (not necessarily peace, but at least neutrality) and then it will come up again in Washington and start all over again in my heart. I normally chat with my sisters in a group chat at least several times a week–after the election I didn’t feel able for almost 2 months. I have felt so betrayed on so many levels. And while I’m succeeding at surrendering to some of the difficult situations in my life, surrendering to the idea of my precious child not having access to the life saving medical treatments she needs…I just don’t know how to do that.

    Wow. Did not expect all of that to come pouring out when I started typing. But thanks for listening.

    • Mara Kofoed May 18, 2017 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Oh, Cindy. Thank you for sharing this. This is so, so important to read. I am heartsick over the healthcare of your child, and so many in her position. And I really, really think that we as a society – and as just fellow human beings – can do better than this.

      I understand deeply the feeling of betrayal. Though to have a child being affected so gravely must be a whole other level of excruciating. I think so many are just experiencing collective pain over this and so many things. May those that can have the power within to lift the burdens of you and your family.

      Sending tons of love and support your way. How I’m rooting for a positive outcome.

  2. Amanda May 19, 2017 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Mara. It helps to hear about other people’s journeys through challenging times. I’ve also had a difficult experience coming out of 2016. My boyfriend and I were on very different ends of the political spectrum – I was pretty devastated by the outcome of the election last year and he was fairly overjoyed by it. Even though I’ve always been politically engaged, I learned to keep my mouth shut around him in order to avoid arguments. We were able to maintain that dynamic as our status quo for awhile, but I slowly felt my soul being crushed as I had to choose between supporting causes that were important to me and keeping our relationship on an even keel. He disapproved of my wanting to volunteer with refugees in our city and I’m ashamed to say that my response was to put it off in order to avoid conflict with him. When he expressed open disdain for my participation in the women’s march I finally said ‘enough’s enough’ and we went our separate ways. So here I am now, 36 and single, knowing in my heart that a relationship between two people with such fundamentally different values would be exceedingly difficult to sustain, but also feeling somewhat sad and guilty and ashamed over it. I feel like I’ve utterly failed at this part of life that our culture tells us is “the most important thing”. I sometimes wonder if I loved hard enough, if I could have been more open-minded, or more accepting? I read the post about things you’ve done to recover from your rough time, and I’ve been doing some similar things – yoga, weight training, volunteering. It helps, but sometimes just feels like a temporary distraction from the sadness. I’ve been through breakups before, and I know time heals, but the ‘weight’ of my age makes this feel different. Hoping that pain is a patient teacher this time around.

    • Mara Kofoed May 19, 2017 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Oh, my heart goes out to you. This is so rough. Thank you for sharing. I can imagine that being so drastically distant in values would be extremely challenging in a relationship. So I can totally see that ending this could have been the right thing for you. Certainly, it’s completely normal and expected for two people in a relationship to have differences of opinion. But I think it’s best if there’s at least an overlap with some of the things that are important to you. Also, if it’s difficult for one to support a partner in things that are very important to them (like volunteering for refugees or being in support of bettering conditions for women), I don’t think that would lead to a positive outcome. Anyway, sending a hug – because none of this is easy.

      Also: I’m so sorry culture tells us marriage is the most important thing. Ugh. That is so hard to face when it feels like you haven’t met that ideal. But if it helps, I can say that I think our culture’s habit of putting marriage on a pedestal is actually what leads to it’s demise – or at least leads to people feeling insecure and unfulfilled/unhappy in their relationships. Certainly it’s hard to live out this mindset of taking marriage off the pedestal. But I do think it’s a game changer. And I wish we as a culture were better at that (I’m trying to do my part to change that. haha.)

      And, I feel you on reaching your limit with breakups or things not working out, etc. In my own life, at times I have thought: “can I not catch a break – I mean how many things in my life are not going to work out how I planned?” But then, if I think for 1 split second about how extraordinary my life still is at this moment – and how many things HAVE still worked in my favor, it does help. Anyway, sending my best – and solidarity for getting good at a life that is different than you expected.

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