This year has taken its toll on even the most positive minds. Whether or not we’ve been directly touched by COVID or politics or natural disasters or global warming, we are each impacted by the waves of loss, the tides of sorrow, the ripples of change.

So what can I say to bring a bit of comfort & joy to the world this season, in the final month of a year that has seemed like five rolled into one?

Let yourself grieve.

I wasn’t expecting to write about grief, but…

We are a nation and world with much to grieve this year, and we must give space to that grieving.

The loss of people, jobs, dreams, optimism, bucket list trips, graduations, savings accounts, weddings, worry-free retirements, exercise classes, hugs, spontaneous plans, security, book celebrations, favorite restaurants, working in coffee shops, childhood innocence, tea with friends, funerals, birthdays, live music, dinner parties.

It’s not that different from clearing out physical clutter. Get rid of the old to make room for the new. Or end up with layer upon layer of clutter covering what’s most essential.

So while you might be looking forward to a change of calendar and jumping into the new, first consider what we are leaving behind.  Even if you found significant treasure in the changes & challenges of this year, which many indeed have, what do you miss from your pre-2020 life?

Write it down, whether it seems significant or trivial, permanent or temporary. Let your heart tenderly hold the memories. Mourn those that won’t be coming back, by circumstance or choice. Cherish what remains.

Whatever 2021 brings, you will have so much more energy to embrace the new if you’re not piling it onto layers of unspoken loss and grief.

As I touch my own grief, and the larger grief of the world around me, I feel both tender and hopeful. I feel the spaciousness of possibility beginning to simmer as I connect with compassion for all that has changed this year.

For now, this is enough.

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