The Small But Life Changing Gifts of 2021

I know this last year felt like a rollercoaster that kept dropping you

With no bottom. An indefinite drop. 

Your head couldn’t catch up. 

Your mind couldn’t process it. 

And your heart kept trying to mend itself, inside a thousand breaks. 

No mending possible. No chance at a breather. 

Today the calendar says it's a New Year. 

But you are still experiencing that same rollercoaster drop. 

You struggle to be hopeful. I know. 

You find it hard to believe that your heart will stop breaking.

But this, whatever this last year was about, will end. 

I believe it. Wholeheartedly. 

Not because I am an optimist. 

Definitely not because of that. 

But because it is the truth. 

2021 is going to bring you gifts. 

And because of the catastrophic drop you experienced in 2020, these small gifts will bring a smile to your face. 

Everything small, will. 

You will laugh at the silliest joke. 

When you get to hug others again, it will feel like your very first time. 

When you go to the coffee shop and sit down with your coffee you will just marvel at it. 

Just pure gratitude for all the physical human things we lost in 2020. 

And as I am writing this very first letter for 2021 I want to personally wish you strength for the leftovers of 2020. 

Belief in life’s undeniable come back. 

And last but not least, a reminder that love is always present in physical and non physical ways. Nothing can ever take love away. 

I wish you the most meaningful, and spectacularly heart mending year. 

2021 is here to remind us that the sun will always rise even after the darkest of nights. (Click to tweet!)

 

With childlike wonder for 2021,

Christina

P.S. May this week’s episode helps bring in 2021 with a bang. Listen here.


My Own Story of 2020

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live” my favorite author Joan Didion often reminds me. As I am putting words on paper for the final letter of 2020 I am thinking about the story I want to tell. 

And what a better day to tell it, on December 25th. 

It matches the non-traditional clothes of grief. 

The rebellious acts of life after it. 

We often think about religion as traditional. 

But I don’t think it is. 

Religion has always been a beautiful rebellious act. 

When we didn’t have science to explore the world, religion told us unprecedented stories. 

It told us stories in order to live, in order to understand ourselves and the world around us. Bold stories. Immersed in supernatural events and unlikely heroes. 

Whatever your religion is. 

Whatever stories your beliefs about our existence tell you. 

Remind yourself to write an unconventional, supernatural story about your life in 2020.

It was kind of supernatural wasn’t it? 

If someone told you a year ago what was about to happen you wouldn’t have believed it. When the beginning of the pandemic was here, I wrote a letter about how it all felt so familiar to the stuckness tragedy brings forth in our lives. 

How we, the bereaved of the world already knew the insides of the quarantine. 

We knew what it felt like to be stuck between the two worlds. 

The before and the after. Where the Waiting Room lives. 

And just like that, the whole world got a taste of the room we have spent such long periods of time in. 

For a moment, we felt that others would know what it was like to be in limbo. 

Waiting indefinitely. 

It didn’t mean we were less lonely and unseen, it just meant that this hidden world we have been in since our loss, could be seen by others now too. 

And that to me has always been a gift from this year. 

To have a kind of knowing of each other’s hidden worlds of loneliness, is the first step towards healing which can only take place when someone else understands our pain because of their own. 

The story I tell about this Holiday Season and this last year is one of unity. 

One of unprecedented understanding of loneliness, where for the very first time we could glimpse inside each other’s hidden worlds.

Inside the unseen.  

Here’s to a Holiday season full of empathy for each other’s pain. (Click to tweet!)

May we witness what was impossible to witness before and help each other heal. 

This is indeed a special December 25th where a supernatural and unconventional future can be born as we walk out of an unnatural year. 

 

With many future stories to be told,

Christina

P.S. This whole week on my Dear Life Podcast we have special episodes to get you through these days. I hope you listen HERE.


Dating The Holiday Season Once Again

It is ok if some things that are meant to be easy, feel hard to do. 

Don’t compare yourself to others.  

If something feels hard, it is hard. 

Someone else’s experience with it, can’t change yours. 

This goes for everything. 

Including grief. 

Including Christmas. 

The Holiday Season makes some people happy and others sad. 

Hearing Christmas Carols can make one man weep and another cheer. 

It all has to do with the kind of losses you have had. 

The kind of loves you have experienced. 

And the childhood you remember having.

It has to do with the history of your life.

The stories you were told and the stories you remember being told. 

I have a strange relationship with the holiday season.   

I broke up with it completely for a few years then I decided to date the Holidays again and I found its season bitter sweet. 

It never felt as wonderfully dreamy as before. I could never just let go in it. 

Be a part of the festivities with my full heart. 

Indulge in the lights and the songs. 

It feels like going back to an old relationship trying my best to feel its glory days. 

It never delivers. 

So now, well now I arrive each year here doing my best. 

I laugh. I cry. I dress up. I put up the trees. I sing the songs. 

I buy the gifts. I surrender to it. Just like a ride on an old roller coaster. 

It is good enough but not the highlight. 

And certainly not the big hit that it used to be in the good old days. 

As this next week is approaching remember to make it whatever it needs to be for you and for your life. 

Your version is the only version that matters. 

 

With holiday musings,

Christina

PS. And I hope my books Second Firsts and Where Did You Go? find you during these next two weeks.


It Found You Crying in Front of the TV

I don’t know how it comes back, but it does. 

It comes knocking on your door. 

Even though you can barely notice it at first. 

I am talking about the feeling of wanting to live again

I know you never thought it would come back. 

You didn’t believe it could find you. 

But it did. 

It found you crying in front of the TV. 

And it made the movie you were watching, right for what you needed. 

It found you taking your dog for a walk, in the evening. 

And it made the leaves move a little more as you passed along. 

It secretly followed you around for a while, trying hard not to make you notice as you have been a little afraid of feeling things again. 

You have been saying NO to things that remind you of what it was like to be happy. 

Afraid of breaking that heart of yours again. 

But do you know what the feeling of life is made of? 

It is made of the thing that made the earth, and all the planets. It is that strong. 

And if you let it, it will try to walk by your side instead of behind you. 

It will sit on the couch with you and watch a comedy. 

It will take you on a bike ride on a Saturday morning. 

It will find a way in. 

The feeling of life will not rest. 

As long as you are here, it is here too. 

You just have to notice it. 

Can we try?

Just pause for a second right here, right in the middle of the sentence. 

Feel. Feel the brokenheartedness. Feel the grief. 

Now just move your attention a little bit on the side, right next to grief.

That is where it is. 

The feeling of wanting to live again. Laugh again. 

It is there like it always has been. 

“Knock, knock. Can you come out and play?”  Life whispers.

“I weaken and perish, I crumble and vanish without you friend.” Life says.

“Play with me today and I will keep us both strong. 

Visit with me and I will gift you a new life." (Click to tweet!)

 

With new life knocking,

Christina

P.S. Please listen to this week’s Dear Life Podcast, we put together clips from some of your favorite guests. It will lift your day. Listen HERE


The Inheritance

I have been more emotional lately. 

I know you have too. 

There is something in the air. Isn’t there? 

Something ungraspable. 

Unknowable. 

Quite unspoken. 

Even though we do speak of it. 

I see it in people’s eyes. 

Heaviness sitting inside emptiness.

How do we even begin to understand it?  

A burden like no other. 

It is as if it wasn’t part of the pain education we ever got. 

And because nobody taught us about the current burden of the world, it is impossible to carry. Why?

A burden that is unfamiliar is harder to lift. 

We don’t know how to hold it. 

We can’t see it, we just feel it. 

We sense it in others. They sense it in us. 

It is as if gravity is unwavering. 

The only way to make this any easier is to see the burden. 

To find the name for it. 

You see, it is something that has always been a part of our human history. 

Us human beings have been through unthinkable things. 

And yet every hundred years or so we forget the burden we have carried before. 

But it has always been a part of our human story. (Click to tweet!)

It has always been our INHERITANCE. 

I kind of like that word. It makes it easier to understand. 

It also reminds us of its familiarity. 

Just like our great grandparents have lived through collective sorrows, we too are going through something similar. 

And when we look at old pictures of them, during a time that resembles this one, stare at their eyes and you will see that same empty heaviness. 

But keep looking and you will also recognize resilience and a fighting spirit. Because they too remembered that this has happened before.

It is the inheritance that comes with being human. 

And now that you know, take that empty heaviness and fill it in with hope. 

You see, knowing the kind of burden that this is, makes it easier to carry and heal it. 

Hold your arms out and lift it. There. 

There you go. There we go. 

With gravity,

Christina

P.S. And if you have one hour this weekend take a listen to my conversation with Dr Jade Teta about the simplest way to eat, move and be healthy. It is a game changer.

Listen to the DEAR LIFE PODCAST HERE


Millions of Souls Are Thinking of You

I am writing to you late on Thanksgiving evening, and I can’t stop thinking of you. 

I want to know about your day. 

Were you on your own? 

Did you have to cook a meal for one? 

I tried to guess the number of people who were not able to be with their families, and I can’t decide if it is a million, two million, or ten. 

Maybe even 100 million people ate Thanksgiving dinner on their own this year. 

I know it sounds like a lot. But I do think it was a lot. 

What if someone told us the actual number, would it change anything? 

Would it make a difference? 

You may be thinking, it wouldn’t even matter. 

But it would. Numbers matter. 

We count everything. 

We need to understand the scale of things. 

It prepares us for what we need to do. 

It tells us about reality. 

The world we live in. 

If you are reading this letter and you were with your family on Thanksgiving, I know that just like me, you were thinking of those who weren’t.

If you were alone on Thanksgiving know that I thought of you, and sent you my love all day long. It may not matter practically, but energetically I hope you felt it. 

I hope your soul knew that my soul was there with you in your living room. 

Maybe even sitting next to you on your couch watching TV. 

I know this is a simple letter, with no fancy words. 

Just a letter to say I don’t want you thinking that nobody cares. 

If today you have another day on your own, then you know my soul is there with you.

There are many souls like mine, who are thinking of you. I know this deeply. 

I know we live in a kind and caring world. And when you are on your own, and a voice inside of you tells you that nobody cares, please talk back to the voice. 

With the truth. (Click to tweet!)

I am not sure as to how many souls are thinking of you. 

It may be a million, 2 million or even 10. 

Reality is a mirror. 

A mirror soul is right there with you. 

Here’s to another day together. 

May we have many days where we know we are never really alone. 

 

With millions of souls thinking of you,

Christina


A New Fork in The Road

Today, I was reminded of the joy of a new adventure. 

The unknown path ahead. 

The fork in the road. 

Oh I felt young again. 

I rejoiced. 

I was nauseous just before it. 

My brain casting a spell of darkness. 

And yet, when I leaped inside the unknown I felt elation. 

The kind I had forgotten about. 

The kind only reserved for the years before. 

But yet, there it was. My very own fork in the road. 

Oh no, I wasn’t running towards it at first. 

I was questioning it for the longest time. 

I found myself resting inside the spell. 

Lingering in there, wondering if I could find my way like I used to. 

Like I had done in my 20s, when the pain of not landing on solid ground couldn’t scar you for life. In my 30s, when the sorrow of losing my whole world gave me strength to find anew. 

In my 40s now, late 40s really. 

Questioning that fork in the road. 

Pacing that blends with crawling. 

Wanting to stand up, even inside my own nausea. 

And not bother with the thought of not landing well. 

And so I do. I choose the road without a name. 

It had been a while. 

I had forgotten the lust of it.

The longing of the blank page.

But at last.

The unknowns.

The unnamed and the untolds.

I beckoned them back to me.

One more time.

And they came, remembering my name from all the befores. 

May you too listen to the whispers, the whistlings and the songs, beckoning yours.

However old. However long it's been. 

With a new fork,

Christina 

P.S If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, 

this week’s Dear Life Podcast is with Erin Matlock 

who has survived to tell her story. 

Listen here.


My Hard Won Truths

Lately the whole world has been suffering a lot more than usual. 

So today I decided to share with you my very own hard won truths that are helping me through this difficult time. 

Of course it doesn’t mean that I am not impacted by current events, it just means that I am able to recover a little easier. 

Here they are.  

I BELIEVE IN DESTINY 

Our lives are made of experiences that are connected to future events. 

The closer we get to these future events the harder it is to alter the present. 

I am finally able to let go of the controls, and let them guide me to the future. Wherever it may be.  It is like walking into a room with a full set of furniture. The couch, the table, the chairs, the rug and they have their own place within that room. You can move them around but it won’t make a huge difference, it will still be the Living Room you are in. We are here to live through surprises, hardships, miracles and loss and do it in a way that allows for our destiny to unfold. 

I BELIEVE IN HUMAN KINDNESS 

There are many good hearted people in the world but they do have a lot of loss and trauma. Which filters their behavior, words, and actions and molds them into someone that may not come across as kind. Seeing the world as a collective group of people trying to survive their lives the best way they know how, gives me solace and comfort in knowing that fundamentally humans are good. 

I BELIEVE IN ETERNITY 

Everything exists for eternity. We live in a linear world and sometimes we forget that outside of this linearity we have it all. Physical reality is built to help us experience loss and love. Having and not having. Winning and losing. Dark and Light. Good and evil. It's an illusion. Part of the game. When we know this, we can sit inside pain easier. We can lose love and feel love at the same time. And we can certainly experience a painful battle that we can never win, but press pause and be present in its aftermath knowing that. 

I BELIEVE IN THE LESSONS 

The harder places to reach within ourselves can only be discovered from the inside of pain. Failure. Grief. Physical discomfort. Imprisonment. The person who has had all of the above is someone who knows themselves. Knowing who we are, is the biggest gift of all. And if I am ever given a choice I would always choose the lesson from pain. 

I BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF NOSTALGIA 

The feeling of nostalgia is a higher level of intelligence; it is where deep awareness begins. Where we are comfortable with remembering. Where we enjoy our own company. Where inner and outer silence connect. I crave moments of nostalgia and I indulge in them as much as I am able.  

So, during the last few days, I have reminded myself that people are kind, my destiny is unfolding as it should, the hard days are part of the lessons and indulging in my own company gets me closer to peace. (Click to tweet!)

And if for some reason I am not able to access my truths easily. I just go and sit under stars and everything becomes super clear. 

I would ask you to make a list of your own truths. The truths that nobody can ever take away from you, no matter what is going on in our world. 

Even if you only have one truth, write it out, and put it on your fridge, frame it in your living room. 

To remind yourself that nobody can ever change it. 

It belongs to you. 

With hard won truths, 

Christina


Soothe What Needs Soothing

No matter where you live, or the kind of life you have. 

This week is hard on everyone. 

People with easy or hard lives. 

Optimists and pessimists. 

Wealthy or poor.

Every race and ethnicity. 

When the ship we are all in, feels lost in the ocean we have a sinking feeling. 

The longer it takes to steer it, the harder it gets to remind ourselves that it will be ok. 

This is just human nature. 

During this time, try to take extra care of yourself. 

If you need to talk about what is happening, do so. 

If you need comfort food, have some. 

You want to stay in your pyjamas all day, do that. 

You want to have the leftover Halloween candy, go ahead. 

You want to have a repeat pizza night, don’t let anyone stop you. 

In other words, this is one of those weeks, where you need some self soothing. 

Give yourself permission to soothe what needs soothing. 

This election craze will be over soon but until then, do whatever you need to get through it. 

I know this is not a typical Friday letter, but this is not a typical week. 

Here’s to finding the humor, the candy and the comfort we need in an uncomfortable season. 

With repeat pizza nights,

Christina

P.S. And if you need a really meaningful distraction listen to my conversation about grief and life with one of my favorite humans here: http://www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes/ep78


Changing Chairs

I always write this letter from inside my own life. 

From day one I have promised myself to sit and write it no matter what is taking place, for me. There have been times (not often) when a heartbreaking moment happens on the same day as this letter has to be written and I feel obliterated. 

Something happened today that shook me. 

What happened is not important. 

What is important is that I was able to get up and come here, at my desk to write to you. 

The show must go on, however hard it is. 

Every second, every day and every chance we get after a moment of impact it is given to us by God, the Universe, whoever your higher power is. 

We are still alive. Still here. 

We have to find a way to breathe in that new air. Next to the old. (Click to tweet!)

I didn’t know how I was going to write to you after today's moment of impact. 

But I am here writing. For you. For me. 

What happens in the moments after a big blow? 

More hurting. Even though we go from one moment to another. 

It feels like a continuous moment doesn’t it? 

I wish it was more like a string of chairs. 

One next to the other. Ten or fifteen chairs. 

And we would sit, feel the heartbreak, get up, sit on the next chair, feel it, then get up again and so on. 

I don’t know where the visual of chairs is coming from, but I do know that I had to get up from the chair I was sitting in with my broken heart and come to sit on this chair to write to you. 

For some reason that felt good. 

Changing chairs. 

And even if I can’t make your pain better today because I am inside my own, I wanted to make sure I sat here with you regardless. 

We can be in our own pain, and sit with someone else’s. 

I always believed in that. 

I have studied pain, I have felt it. 

I have seen it in others. 

I have witnessed all the many versions of it, and one thing I know for sure is that pain can be lessened when there is someone else’s chair next to ours. 

Even though our chairs are possibly hundreds or thousands of miles away from one another, thank you for sitting with me today. 

And I hope you felt my chair next to yours too. 

 

With healing chairs everywhere,

Christina