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Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

For the past several years, I’ve written an end of year post that talked specifically about my experience and adventures in being a business owner. You can read Year One here and Year Two here.

This year, however, has felt so different from years past.

When I sat down to write (which was several weeks ago now…this one has taken me a while) I couldn’t easily compartmentalize out the business lessons from the deeper life lessons that this year gave me. It felt unfair to share little, bite-sized portions of a year that transformed and alchemized me in so many beautiful ways.

I’ve been spending the days since winter solstice in a cozy space of hibernation. I’ve been reflecting on all the memorable moments – the brightest and the darkest – of the last 12 months. I’ve been asking myself what lessons I have taken from those experiences and how have they served me on my path of growth.

January

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

Watercolor was my teacher in presence and trust.

After years of being drawn towards (and simultaneously terrified of) the wild and beautiful world of watercolor painting, I picked up a brush and dove in the deep end.

Watercolor has taught me much about presence, trusting myself, and allowing for magic to unfold. As I share in this post about all the lessons watercolor has taught me, I discovered a deeper sense of my flow state – a place where I could access a creative freedom I’ve been craving for years.

The photo above is smattering of colors I painted in a session that turned out to be part of the logo for The Dabblist Collective. That was a really beautiful and powerful moment for me – to be a part of creating something that came out of pure chaos and unique expression.

Nothing planned meticulously or forced. Pure art.

February

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I found an in-person community of creative, soulful women.

My word of the year for 2016 was spacious community.

(I know that’s 2 words but one word never seems to suffice with me.)

And when I wrote those 2 words down, I wasn’t really sure what they meant. I kept saying to myself, shouldn’t it be abundance or growth or something related to growing my business?

But nope, it was spacious community and that was that.

When I first moved to my little town, I spent the first year telling myself the story that I was alone. No one young, conscious, or soulful lived near me and I was doomed to live alone under the trees with just the internet as my companion.

…boy was I wrong.

In February, I found such a special place – a creative coworking space and inspiration lab for women just a 5 minute walk from my house.

This place is called The Hivery and it is the creative space of my dreams.

It’s a place I go to feel inspired, take myself more seriously, and connect with women (from all walks of life – ones I would never have made friends with outside of that space).

It’s a place where I can be vulnerable and as introverted or extroverted as I want to be. A place where I can celebrate my big highs with a victory bell and the lowest lows with a shoulder to cry on (literally…March was a tough month).

It’s a place where I’ve had major financial meetings and also one where we’ve all worn white and adorned ourselves with flower crowns to celebrate the summer solstice.

I truly believe that, after months of speaking my intentions to sisters and blowing my wish into the flames of candles, I was able to manifest such a beautiful community right at my doorsteps. (I talk more about what I did in this post)

March

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I found solace in monthly moon circles

In addition to my co-working space, I participate in a local sister circle that meets with the moon.

In March, it was my turn to host that month’s full moon gathering and I watched myself unravel a bit at the idea of hosting such powerful women in my home.

These women had studied yoga with the gurus of India, the art of tea ceremony in China, and had shared story after story of why there were far better at ritual and ceremony than I was (the stories we create to stay small, eh?).

What if I had the wrong sized tea cups? What if I served meat and offended the vegans?

A dear friend in the circle must have sensed all of this going on in my head because she reached out to me and asked if I’d like support in hosting at my home. Before the gathering, I went to her office and spoke all my fears (including the part about having the wrong sized tea cups) and she reassured me that my sacred was sacred enough and all would be well.

And the night ended up being so beautiful.  I re-located my inner wise woman and sacred space holder once again. My friend snapped this photo of the altar we created together before we begun.

I share more about how I created my monthly sister circle in this post.

I’ve found that, as a woman who holds space for others, it’s incredibly important that I have my own circle that can hold me. My moon circle sisterhood has been that for me, which has been a catalyst for my own growth and transformation.

April

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I returned to my masculine a very different woman.

After watching a talk my friend (and fellow moon sister) Maria Jose Molfino gave on The Heroine’s Journey (Maureen Murdock’s feminine take on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey), I had a huge aha moment.

I realized that, after several years of intense devotion to self-care, creative expression, working with goddess archetypes, and deepening my connection with mother nature (re-balancing my feminine energies), I had emerged into a more healed relationship with my masculine. I was coming back to more intense, singularly focused (masculine) activities with a balanced mindset.

I started pushing my physical edge by lifting heavy weights and tapping back with determined intensity in spin class several days a week. I created a boundary of “work hours” where I’m super on with my businesses and noticed the quality of my output increasing (thanks to a great system and amazing co-working space)…all while still maintaining my commitment to taking care of myself through creative expression, circling with women regularly, nourishing my body, and being the counterbalance of energy to my man.

After years of feeling imprisoned by the masculine (through overworking, suppressing my creativity, and being resistant to softening in my relationship), it felt so empowering to return to it with the tools to resource both energies of my being.

May

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I launched a passion project of my own.

After months of giggly skype chats and deep conversations about what it means to be a conscious leader and business owner today, my friend Maia and I decided to start recording them and made it into a podcast.

In May, The Lunar Lab was born.

What I loved about the whole process of creating a podcast is that it felt creative and fun. It wasn’t for money or for any sort of specific marketing reason. Maia and I were having fun with this passion project and I’m so proud of what we created.

We recorded 14 episodes before fall hit and we both got super busy with our businesses and then winter hibernation set in. So now we’re in the fun space and dreaming up what will happen next…with zero pressure.

That’s what I love about passion projects – creating for creation’s sake.

June

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I remembered my ancient self.

Never in my life have I experienced such a powerful depth of the feminine ancestral ways than I did during my weekend at Spiritweavers Gathering.

I felt the threads of my lineage, my passions, and my curiosity woven into the greater tapestry of women all over the world, across time, and mama Earth.

We sang in circle to the beat of the drums, we bathed in the river, we sat in ceremony with wise elders, we crafted with our hands – dyeing with plants, weaving with fibers, stitching broom corn, braiding hair with flowers, making tea for yoni baths, stitching buckskin for shoes, painting drums, making fire from the earth, distilling essential oils, weaving baskets, sharing our deepest fears and desires in circle, drinking tea in silence as the birds awoke in song. We danced wildly under the stars. We slept on the earth. We bathed each other in the love song of our hearts. We adorned ourselves and walked the land embodying the priestesses we all knew each other to be.

I returned from that weekend awake and remembering (on a more soul deep level) why it is I work with my hands and what that has the power to create and heal in this world.

July

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I made my drum.

I call her my moon drum – she’s made of buckskin and dyed with indigo.

Making my own drum is something I’ve been wanting to do for years but have been terrified of even attempting for reasons like:

  • I would make the drum incorrectly and offend the spirits of the indigenous cultures who originated drum making. (yes, really)
  • That I was culturally appropriating a sacred art that wasn’t my of own lineage (being a white girl who is descended from European colonists), therefore shouldn’t be allowed to do it at all.
  • That I wouldn’t properly honor the animal whose hide I would be working with.
  • That it was not cool to use a dead animal’s hide to make something for my enjoyment.
  • I would mess up and my drum wouldn’t work because I wasn’t working with a master teacher.

Now, you might expect me to follow that up with a statement about how all that limited thinking is BS and that I am worthy of my creative desires and that I should take a dabblist approach to this project (like any other!) and simply begin.

But I actually think a lot of these reasons I gave are important ones to ponder. I’ve seen many well-meaning people around the world dive into indigenous crafts without being thoughtful about the cultures that originated them, the teachers who share their knowledge, and sustainability and sacredness of the materials used.

The key distinction here is that, while these concerns are important ones to ponder, they aren’t necessarily reasons NOT to do something.

So, after years of yearning, a few close girlfriends and I made the decision to gather and make drums together – and we committed to doing it with intention and meaning.

It was the sacred art of making in sisterhood. It felt like a beautiful way to honor, give reverence, feel gratitude, and also make my very own drum.

{I talk more about my process of making the drum in this post.}

August

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I let myself be sad and fell deeper in love.

One day in mid-August, I woke up with a profound sadness flowing through me. What began as a conversation with Tim turned into a despair so deep I knew it couldn’t only be my own.

Grief was pulsing through my system, my ancestors were moaning with melancholy, and I knew it needed to be honored.

So I crafted Becca’s Shadow Day – a day of making my sadness sacred once more.

What came out of that release was permission to love myself even more deeply.

Soon after, I started working with an empowerment coach. We would meet every couple of weeks for 3-4 hours of deep diving into who I am and what I’m here for. Without all the stories about who I thought I was supposed to be and the tampering of the sadness (because I was actively letting it all out), I could drop more deeply into truth.

And I started literally glowing.

I snapped this photo during a podcast recording session when my co-host Maia said I looked like a radiant goddess.

I’m fairly certain this increase in my glow is directly related to my focus on taking epic care of myself.

I implemented a beautiful, spacious new morning routine. I started focusing my high leverage work tasks in the morning hours when I’m fresh and sparkling. I was taking breaks for my meals and making them lovely works of art. I was sleeping a lot. I started drinking soooooo much more water.  I was seeing my coach and healers regularly.  And I was connecting with women multiple times a day through text, voice text, sending videos, and in person.

Breakdown to breakthrough – it’s a real thing, after all.

September

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I got really overwhelmed by a beautiful gift, and deepened into the art of receiving.

One day in September, I received a surprise package in the mail – a covert gift from the women in The Dabblist Collective sisterhood.

Using the theme of #makersgonnamake, they each shared their handmade creations, stories of creative transformation, and sweet personal letters with me.

I was a bawling mess for a solid hour as I leafed through and read (and re-read) every single note and creation in that box. This was my moment to fully receive the love and expression of these beautiful souls in my community.

It took a few more weeks to fully take in all of that magic – to process the impact I’ve had on them and that they’ve had on me.

I shared this photo on instagram to anchor this moment in my heart (and on the internet) to show what’s possible when you fiercely follow a vision and open it up to the women of the world.

We can co-create an ever blossoming circle of creative wisdom, sisterhood support, and pure love.

October

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I embraced the art of adornment and body love

I learned about the sacred art of self decoration with the monarch butterflies perched atop my head, lightning bugs as my night jewelry, and emerald-green frogs as bracelets.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

I noticed myself taking a lot more mirror selfies than I used to, which felt like a huge breakthrough for me.

It’s been a long journey from the girl who would never share a photo of her body on social media to this one today. It’s taken a lot of looking at the dark, shadow-y bits of myself, sitting with seriously uncomfortable emotions, and an incredible amount of support from women who have loved me for all that I am and all that I came from.⠀

And, as a result, I find myself adorning her like a work of art and absolutely loving what I see when I look in the mirror. It hasn’t taken a dramatic weight loss, sudden and massive clearing of my skin, or miracle cleanse to get me to this point. It’s truly taken the sisterhood of incredible women.⠀

What I realized is I am a bold color, many-patterned, sometimes subtle, sometimes outrageous, vibrant being. When I close my eyes and envision my higher self standing proudly in her wisest, empowered self…she is a walking work of art. Everything she wears is thoughtfully curated, handcrafted by artisans or herself, and a full reflection of her values in the world. She is stunning.

So these days, when I think about dressing for success, I call it sacred adornment – decorating my temple body with beautiful things that make me feel amazing. Wearing colors, textures, shapes, and accessories that brighten me up and don’t have me shrinking behind them. It’s a form of self-expression that has the ability to change the way I feel about myself in a matter of minutes.

November

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I walked on fire and emerged as the warrior of truth

Two days after the election, in a fog of sadness and confusion, I found myself packing my bags and heading south with Tim to do Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within seminar.

It was 4 very long days inside a freezing ass stadium, taking a deep and honest look at myself – my values, my beliefs, and what kind of legacy I want to leave in this world. I barely had a chance to check internet land so I really got to dive deep and ask myself who I really was and what am I going to do to make a positive impact in this world.

I’m so grateful for the timing of things, because I wasn’t totally sure how I felt yet about how to proceed with the state of the world. I was pressuring myself to bounce back quickly and write something inspirational and compelling to all of you about moving forward and being the change. But the truth was I was processing a lot of grief and sadness, was feeling super sensitive to everything I was seeing on social media, and felt like I had lost my inner compass.

And then…at 1 in the morning on Friday…I walked on fire.

And I felt myself ROAR.

It only got stronger and stronger as the weekend went on.

Then, on the 3rd day of the seminar around hour 10 of a 14 hour day, fists clenched I was screaming at the top of my lungs over and over the following…

Now I am the Voice.

I will lead, not follow.

I will believe, not doubt.

I will create, not destroy.

I am a Force for Good.

I am a Leader.

Step Up!

I was pounding my chest, roaring like a lion, and snarling in total certainty that I am here for progress. I am here to fight for what is right – for humanity, animals, mother earth, and the future I envision so clearly in my dreams.

It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, and it certainly isn’t going to be a path lined with consensus. But I am here to do my part.

December

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

I embraced winter hibernation.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt completely bowled over by the end of this year. I was exhausted down to my bones and hibernation was calling my name.

In years past, I would talk about the concept of winter’s rest but could never fully allow myself to slow my pace down to a pitter patter. It was more like a quick rest period before breathlessly diving back into the ring.

But after my biggest launch of the year (which lasted 4 weeks longer than I had anticipated), I was ready to rest and dive deep into self-care.

So I cancelled plans, slept in, made a lot of bone broth, soup, and herbal teas. I paused writing, paused recording our podcast, went to yoga, on walks, sat in silence, read witchy fiction books, watched Netflix (loved The Crown!), cleaned and organized my sacred home space, and painted watercolor.

I’m actually still in this hibernation state as I write this post (under cozy blankets with tea by my side). It’s been a beautiful reminder that self-care is my fuel and has powerful ripple effects in this world.

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep

As we move into 2017, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for being part of my creative, dabbling community.

If you emailed me this year to introduce yourself, to share a story, or to ask a question… if you left a supportive comment on Instagram… if you are a part of The Dabblist Collective… if you participated in the Awaken Your Creativity Challenge…if you joined me on one of my virtual women’s gatherings…thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Even if we’ve never met in “real life” before, please know that I see you, I appreciate you, and I don’t take your presence for granted. I’m so grateful for you.

Love, Becca

Pin It For Later:

Lessons from a Year of Going Deep in 2016.

2 Comments

2 Responses to Lessons From A Year Of Going Deep

  1. Nellie says:

    I love this! The idea of documenting the lessons you’ve learned the past year, month by month…that’s fantastic, I’ll start doing it from this year on. It seems like you’ve had quite a journey there. I was so happy to hear that you found your community, I also moved to a very remote place and I’m planning on eventually manifesting a community I can take a part of as well. I just think that the time is not right yet, I have a lot of work to do and that’s what I have to focus on for now. I’m sending you my best wishes and looking forward to reading your future posts (right now I’m diving into the archive)

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