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  • Alisha Emerald

2020 in review


I've just heated up my third cup of coffee (I'm a little bit of a coffee addict, if you're new around here). Our holiday cards have just been mailed, after Christmas but before New Years so I'm counting it a win. My diffuser is softly flickering with the smells of Stress Away and Citrus Fresh, and from where I sit in my office in front of the frosty windowpane I can hear my husband in the living room working on his theological studies.

As these final days of 2020 wind down, I want to take a page from the book of my mentor, Morgan Day Cecil, and ask myself some questions. 2020 seems like a year everybody is eager to put behind them, but I think something can be learned from reflecting back, going slowly and not moving on too quickly. If you're looking for a simple 2020 reflection, maybe give these questions a try. Maybe create a little year in closing ritual, with coffee and oils. Find something that makes the moment feel sacred for you, settle in, and get ready to get honest.


  1. CELEBRATION: What deserves celebrating? What were your wins? What are you proud of? Where did you experience magic and miracles?

- It feels rather obvious to say my survival was a big win in 2020, but it's true. Considering the odds that were stacked against me, being here, coherent enough to write this, at home with my loved ones feels like a really huge deal. During my liver transplant process, I experienced so many miracles, both in major moments of healing when I pulled through despite everything saying otherwise, and in the quieter moments of people rallying alongside us. Cody and I were truly blessed this year with family and friends who made us meals, took care of our pup, prayed for us, financially blessed us, and who provided a listening ear when the road got really narrow at points. Which leads into another win, and that's the fact our marriage survived this year. There were moments I didn't think it would. There were moments when we each, consumed by our separate grief, forgot how to love one another well. There were moments when we wanted to feel normal, which meant pulling away from each other and the collective trauma we shared. There were many, many moments where I was completely dependent, and we easily slipped into the roles of caregiver and patient. It was hard, and the fact that we're still together and in love (most days) after all of this is no small miracle.


2. COMPASSION: What was the hardest part of 2020? What part of you needs unconditional love and acceptance?

- 2020 was hard, and picking a hardest part feels nearly impossible. Job loss, major surgery, the death of loved ones and the ending of relationships, the isolation and lifestyle changes that came with spending so much time in the hospital and in a new city, I'm not going to say anything about this year was especially easy, and I know that as I continue to heal in all aspects of my life, I'm going to need to provide myself with unconditional love. For the girl with the new liver, the girl that fell back into old coping mechanisms of codependency, addiction and trauma bonds when things got hard. I need extra love in the areas of mental health, in managing my PTSD and anxiety, in allowing myself to sit in hard spaces and not need to have everything figured out or fixed. I need compassion for myself in knowing it's ok to grieve, and it's ok when things are hard and I fall back into unhealthy patterns and make mistakes. I need compassion for just being human.


3. CLEAR: What are you ready to release and let go of?

- Last night, on the last full moon of 2020, I did a releasing ceremony. I wrote everything I wanted to let go of on a piece of paper, and then I burnt it. Things listed on that paper were the names of people I have trauma bonds with, the diagnosis of different mental and physical health issues I am currently dealing with that I've clung to like they were absolute truth, self limiting beliefs that have kept me stuck, losses I endured in 2020 that I am still clinging to. I wrote them all down, and I watched them go up in smoke.


4. CLAIM: What strengths, desires, dreams and goals are you claiming? What are you going to lean into more fully in this next year?

- On another paper I wrote the things I'm claiming, before also releasing that paper to the fire. Claiming, and then releasing myself from the outcome or the how it's going to happen is a new practice for me, and something I still struggle with. The word I wrote in big letters across the page was Wild Priestess. The title, embracing my wild self, leaning into both the sexuality and sacredness of the Divine Feminine, is something I really want to draw in this next year. I really want to lean into alchemy, and transformation. I want to claim for myself healing, physical stability and health. I want to claim abundance, in finances and material things but also in love, relationships, projects. I want to boss babe the shit out of 2021, with my business partnerships with Young Living and BeautyCounter, with speaking engagements and the awareness work I'm doing surrounding organ transplants, with creative collaborations, with teaching yoga and grief mentorship and writing and my work as an embodiment doula.


5. CURIOSITY: What do you want to explore in 2021?

- I'm really excited that 2021 is providing me with the opportunity to take more trainings. I'm taking a course on medical narratives with one of my favourite authors and teachers, Emily Rapp Black. I'm also diving into more training surrounding Feminine Wholeness and becoming a certified practitioner of the work I've loved for so long with Morgan Day Cecil. Once my body recovers from surgery, I really want to teach more yoga and use movement and body work as a way to heal trauma and empower others. And I'm thrilled to be continuing my growth in grief coaching, pregnancy loss doulaship and reclaiming the body after loss with a few of my fellow pregnancy loss and TFMR coaches. Of course I'm open for 2021 to lead me in new directions as well.


6. COURAGE: If you woke up on January 1 with 10X's the courage, what would you do?

- I would worry less about paying my bills and more about doing work that fills my soul. I would introduce myself in more spaces as someone who is fully qualified to be doing the work she's doing (I know I have the qualifications but hello self limiting beliefs), and I wouldn't hesitate in sharing what I know, because I know it has the power to help people. From sharing my resources on non-toxic living to educating people about trauma, health and healing, I'd fully show up in my life as the girl who knows she knows whats up. I would use my voice more, with less concern about rocking the boat. And I would move into spaces and relationships fully embodied, standing in my power and knowing my worth.


7. CREATE: What do you want to create in 2021?

- This kind of is connected to what I'm curious about. I want to create more offerings for people experiencing various kinds of losses within the body. I have bold dreams of finishing my book in 2021. And I'd love to create new relationships in this next year as well.


8. SEX: How fulfilling is your sexuality? Do you feel freedom and confidence in your desires? Do you feel energized and delighted in your body?

- Let's talk about sex baby! I spent a lot of 2020 doing this deep healing feminine work surrounding sexuality and spirituality. After my transplant, I realized I had to begin creating an entirely new relationship with my body. Aside from the scars which I now had, I also experienced other side effects like hair loss, and at times I was completely dependent on others to do everything for me. It really was a blow to feeling like a sexy, empowered woman. Luckily i had already given myself a solid foundation and the tools to begin healing, and I really leaned into it. Playing with things like hair extensions, wigs and makeup really helped me lean into my sexy wholeness, especially when I didn't exactly feel sexy. I challenged myself to do things like photograph my scars, and show up in front of other women who provided me a safe place to be raw and naked, like with a body positive boudoir photo shoot I was able to be a part of. Other women mirroring back to me my wholeness and sacred sexiness was huge in claiming it for myself. I will never say I've arrived, but I am really confident in the growth and freedom I'm experiencing in this area. The key is connecting to your own sacred sexuality first, and really embodying it for yourself, before sharing it with anyone else.


9. SPIRIT: How fulfilling is your spirituality? Are you on a path that feels authentic to you?

- My spiritual journey has been a wild ride. From growing up Christian, attending Bible College, completely deconstructing, experimenting with other faith traditions, finding myself in mysticism to now, nothing has been straight forward. How would I identify myself now? Probably closer to a Christian Mystic, but I'm not about those labels. What feels authentic to me is all over the place, and it looks different every day. Some days its worship playlists and reading ancient scriptures (I created a worship playlist on Apple Music that I had on repeat and that really ministered to me during my transplant journey. I'll share it on my instagram if you're interested). Some days it's crystals, cards and yoga. I lean into things like astrology, meditation and intuition. I honour the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine, and mostly I try to align myself with Divine Love. One thing that really impacted my spiritual journey this year was this idea of living life to the full, like Jesus promised in the Gospels, and prophesying that promise even when I couldn't see it. There was a lot of belief in things still unseen, trusting in the miracle that I had no proof was coming. It's a path that feels really authentic to me right now, and mostly I'm just riding the waves, honouring every little yes and spark of light inside of me, asking questions and letting myself reside in the mystery. I'm a little bit Christian and a little bit witchy but a whole lot free.


10. SUCCESS: Are you honouring your potential? Are you living life on your terms or for someone else's approval? If you turn up the dial on your confidence a bit, how good could life get?

- This is something I've just started exploring, and something I want to really lean into in 2021. I want to turn that dial all the way up, baby! I've just started listening to that voice, the one that says I was made for more. The one that says write and speak and teach, the world is ready for your magic. I still have a lot of self doubt and fear, but showing up with that magic and the story I have that I know no one else has is something I really want to do. The concept of living on my own terms became really important to me in this last year, experiencing first hand just how short life is, and just how lucky I am to be alive, and my time is far too valuable to spend it doing things that don't set my soul on fire. I'm done playing small.


As you enter 2021, I challenge you to reflect on these questions. Reflect on the year we just left behind. Do not move on too quickly. Your soul, your stories, the beauty and hardships of this season deserve to be honoured. And you can honour them with your breath, your presence. Happy New Year, friends. Wishing you all the blessings and abundance in 2021.



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