As I welcome a new year ahead, I take a careful look at all that took place in 2018. What have I learned? How have I changed? Which goals were accomplished and which were dropped or postponed (and why)? Was I kinder and more present? How did I prioritize my time? Did I seek – and find – joy? Yes.
Joy, yes, I will start here. 2018 had its challenges but it was certainly filled with joy. Raising a young child increases joy exponentially to the degree it increases responsibility. Joy in so many ways, in such small moments. A simple caress, a picture drawn especially for me, a hug in the middle of dinner to say “I love you,” a word mispronounced, a new song, playing hide and seek, reading together, building sand castles at the beach, ice skating, napping together, making up sounds, negotiating treats. As I list these moments, as well as many others that I need not bore you with, I realize that indeed I did prioritize my time well enough. Ok, maybe I didn’t write a book (yet), didn’t start a podcast, and didn’t learn to play the piano, but I did spend joyous quality time with my son, my husband, my family. If I hadn’t, that’s what I would certainly regret. And presence, yes. This has been a big shift for me this year, being at least as much as doing. It takes vigilant work, and is the most rewarding change I have cultivated this year and will continue to explore in the coming years. I have a lot of unlearning to do regarding the value I put on doing and overdoing. How about you?
Progress not perfection, which means that doing is still a big part of what gives me joy in life. In doing, I challenged myself to step into a larger teaching role at Bauman College, guiding students through multiple modules online and in the classroom, as well as mentoring them with their nutrition businesses. I felt called to continue offering and expanding the group cleanses I offer locally, this time bringing all of Nourish Together to the experience, including the gentle mindfulness guidance from Nick, which has made the detox experience that much richer for me and all participants. From the cleanses I received nutrition consulting requests to continue supporting some of the participants, and thus my one-on-one consulting business also grew. With all of this I made the hard choice to leave Ceres Community Project in order to maintain my family priority and continue to expand my learning and my horizons. This was a big transition after 5 years, but one that was made at the right time, and with the full support of all involved. This makes me think of what my friend Alejandra would say during her workshops: “when you say no to one thing, what are you saying yes to?” When I left Ceres, many yesses became available.
One of my intentions was to actively engage in self-discovery and mindfulness, approaching it from a spiritual perspective as well as a physical one. With the guidance of many people I was able to start on that path, especially with the unwavering support of my partner and co-pilot Nick.
In the physical realm I got to know my microbiome a little bit more intimately by testing my stool through Viome, and then later participating in one of their studies and getting to know how my blood sugar responds to a variety of foods. I also tracked my sleep and activity level for most of the year, and got my DNA tested with 23andMe and then uploaded it to Geneticgenie and DNAfit. All of this to gather data to understand how to improve my health and life. If you are curious about any of these, let’s talk!
In the spiritual realm I went on a silent retreat early in the year and had a chance to really sit with me and expand my notion of what I am made of and how it can all be dissolved and reorganized, or just be. This retreat helped me reshape my path and identify what felt most important to me. Enter joy and spending more time with my family.
As for Nourish Together, Nick and I offered two talks at Sonoma County Healing Academy and two 3-week cleanse groups at Montecito Health Club. We developed our skills further by doing a number of trainings and participated in the Radiant Intimacy workshop at 1440 Multiversity (which I highly recommend to all of you – pick a workshop, any workshop, and go there!) We wrote together, developed materials together, and continue to dream together. After expanding we experienced some contraction after offering a 4-week workshop for which we had no participants. Zero. I realized all the mindfulness work was actually having an impact when I did not feel like a failure after the workshop didn’t sell. I wasn’t defeated. I began to pay more attention. And we learned a bit about marketing and publicity through that experience.
We shifted our focus quite a bit for next year. We will go on an adventure in mid-2019 and hope you will stay connected with us as we travel for 6 months. If you haven’t followed us on Instagram, please do so at nourish.together to accompany us on our trip (and get dinner ideas, inspiration and announcements before then). We will worldschool our son (and ourselves) in Europe, while seeking opportunities to be of service, and continuing to teach (both as Nourish Together and, in my case, continuing to teach Distance Learning students at Bauman College).
There was a lot I didn’t get done too. Some of my goals for this year were put on hold, like starting a podcast. I instead spent an enormous amount of time listening to other people’s podcasts. Very enriching, and I didn’t have to do any work! Yet. It is now a new goal for 2020, post travel. Not starting it made way for developing talks and dreaming of our trip (which I will be vague about for now, but will share more in coming newsletters). Another no/yes proposition.
I did not learn to play the piano, but did get better at tennis after going to multiple clinics – I went where the energy took me. My body wanted to move more outdoors. So the piano will have to wait another year. And that is okay.
Am I kinder? Well, that is to be observed, in a general sense. But I can say that I have been kinder to myself, and the tumult in my head when I feel imperfect and inconsistent sounds less like opposite South American soccer teams fighting and more like U.S. Senate hearings, which, trust me, is a step in the right direction. I am betting that this increase in self-kindness will extend to those around me. And you, my community, are invited to keep me accountable.
I look forward to connecting with you and continuing to share our Nourish Together mission with the world in 2019.
What are your hopes and intentions for 2019? What are you leaving behind in 2018? I hope you manifest your wildest dreams in this new year.
Thais Harris, NC