January 14, 2020

A New Decade…

Journal Entry #74

It has been a year since I was first bitten and infected with Leishmaniasis in Belize.  Hard to believe that it has been that long.  Although I didn’t know what exactly was happening with my body until February, and a hard diagnosis until April, this whole process has been a year in the making now.

I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on the last year.

Christmas in Belize, running a New Year’s Women’s Retreat, planning, prepping and executing a mission in Guatemala, running a Women’s Winter Retreat, an Eric Church concert, a weekend of curling in a women’s bonspiel in Minden…all before I turned 40 in April! Throw in parenting, volunteering, shuffling kids and running a business and I would have to say that  2019 started off aggressive, purposeful and in full forward motion!  In perfect resonance with my power word for the year…ONWARD!

I originally chose the word after having the word BECOME for two years in a row.  BECOME means “to begin to be” and let me tell you, I began a lot of projects in those two years!  I have so many awesome ideas and ways to be of service to others and help the world in general…and yet, so many of them were never brought to completion.  I felt like the word ONWARD! Would help me move forward to finish what I have started, bring to fruition all those seeds that I had been busy planting and keep the determination alive to complete those visions.  Little did I know, that that word would anchor me through some of the darkest days that I have ever experienced.  Just saying the word brought me drive and determination…some days I would inhale and exhale that word over and over and over to block out the pain and give me something to focus on.  Over the last year, I have grown very attached to this word.

Which makes it hard to let go of as we head into 2020.

I’ve decided that I will let ONWARD! continue to run in the background because it has been so good to me, and it still holds a charge for me to draw upon.  But I also feel like I need a new focus, a new word to draw upon, a new way of experiencing the world.

It’s a chore to find the right word, with the right resonance, with the right feeling, with the right purpose, with the right feeling…it has been a process that has taken a lot of reflection and also an openness of heart.  For with a new word, things are surely to change.

It was our turn to host New Year’s Eve this year with our friends.  Many of us have been celebrating New Years together since high school …. Let’s not count how many years since high school, okay?  Anyway, we decided to do a small-plate booze pairing, where each couple brought a drink paired with some kind of food to share with the group.  It was awesome!  From street tacos and tequila to sangria and guacamole and pico to Whisky Sours and bacon wrapped duck jalapeno poppers and Prosecco and prosciutto…it was delicious, fun and so many laughs.

A highlight for me was building a Friendship Time Capsule together.  Everyone brought something to contribute that held memories of our time together over the years.  We reminisced, shared, laughed and reflected all these wonderful times that we have had together and with our families.  We had a polaroid camera and took pictures to add in before we sealed it up tight not to be opened until the next decade.

When we are all in our 50’s.

It was in these moments with friends that I realized the word that my heart has been looking for. 

I remembered through pictures and stories what it felt like to LIVE.  To live with freedom, with spontaneity, with gusto, with excitement and with passion.  I have been so stuck in the STORY of what has transpired over the last year, that I have forgotten what it feels like to live fiercely.  I don’t want to be in survival mode and calling on the word ONWARD! to just “get by.”  I want to live…in fact, I want to THRIVE!

So while my friends were enjoying their drinks, toasting each other and ringing in the New Year and New Decade, I was having a moment of clarity.  In the most unlikely place, lessons can arise.

That’s what friends are for. To remind us of our possibility, potential and greatness.

The night ended for me in gratitude.  I was so happy that everyone had fun at the party, that we did something meaningful together and that I was able to see them all home safely at the end of the night after making great memories together.  Although it has been 310+ days (I’m losing count) without alcohol, I felt purposeful as I drove all the families home safely that night.  And even though I was exhausted, I felt at peace.

I’m writing this after a wonderful day spent with 7 other women creating vision boards, reflecting and setting intentions for the new year and new decade.  It is a workshop that I have been running for years, but this one was different…more focused, more personal, more vulnerable…and if I had to wager a guess, I think the other women would say that their visions evoked powerful feelings for them when they were done too.

Some may say that vision boards are so deeply personal that they prefer to keep them to themselves.  I feel that vision boards help hold me accountable, and because, if you haven’t already noticed, my life is an open book…I intend to share.  My board this year evolved and turned out not at all like I had pictured in my head and not at all like other boards I have completed in the past.  In fact, I didn’t even use half of the stuff that I had cut out and printed out.  It’s almost like it revealed itself to me, and it just felt “right.”


The center picture represents ascension, climbing to new heights and rising above all the obstacles that I have faced and will face in this life.

The Lion represents fierceness and pride.

The flower represents all that I am blooming into…I have planted so many seeds…it is time to watch, water and grow!

The eye represents outward focus and internal retrospection, always aware of my presence.

The beautiful waterfall represents my ability to let go, to be in the flow and recognizing the power that letting go gifts me.

The deer represents gentleness with myself and others and the birds in flight make me feel free as they remind me to rise above.

The happy couple represents living and loving with all abandonment.  To feel free to live outside the box that others try to put me in, to live outside the box that my story tries to keep me in, to not only live but THRIVE!

It’s funny because I wasn’t consciously aware of what each of these meant to me until they found their way to the board.  But it feels perfect for me and every time I look at it, I feel alive!  I am reminded to THRIVE!

That being said, I am sure much like ONWARD!, that this word too shall evolve.  And I am excited to see where it leads.

Thrive On!

Xo Juli

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