Hope for the holidays

Here we are, at the end of the year, of this year, which has challenged us all in ways that we could never have imagined. And it’s definitely time for a year-end reflection.

At the beginning of 2020, I was preparing to tour and teach like I have every year since I was 14 years old. My team and I were putting the finishing touches on the Bal Anat show scheduled to perform in Prague in the Czech Republic, and I was just finishing up teaching two weeks of workshops at Mills College for my advanced students. 

Then everything changed.

We postponed Bal Anat to October. Then cancelled it.

Then Isabella came home from New York in March for what I thought was going to be one week for Spring Break. And she never went back. She never got to say goodbye to her friends, her apartment, her school.

I  don’t want to say we were in denial, but we were holding out hope. Like, maybe it will get better before it gets worse.

But then there was that bizarre realization that everything we had planned for 2020 wasn’t going to happen the way we thought.

Times like this present opportunities for us to figure out what’s really important. What’s working? What isn’t? How can we make changes so that when things return to a more familiar pace that we’re healthier, stronger, and more focused than before?

We need to focus on the necessities of life, of family, and survival… whatever survival means for us. Like, what does mental, financial, emotional, and artistic wellbeing look like in times like this? How can we thrive in the face of all of these challenges?

And we have opportunities to change gears, experiment, and do something new that maybe we wouldn’t have done earlier.

Times like this really reveal what people are made of, what they value, and what kind of world they want to create. I’ve found that some relationships have become stronger, and others have changed into a new phase.  

Of course, over the past few months, I’ve been so focused on launching my new online institute, coaching my students, and making sure that the first semester was as successful as it could be. Even in “normal” times, I always feel so responsible for my community, making sure that you all feel held, supported, energized, and fed. But this year, of course, made all of that even more important. 

And the first semester of the Institute was more amazing than I could have ever planned or expected. I have this incredible group of people—dancers, women, humans!—around me that supported this institute and that was an integral part of the process. You all rallied to make it happen!

Even with all the new challenges, life carries on: births, weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays. And the whole time, you’re trying to figure out what the right thing to do is at the right time. When should you see someone? When don’t you? And of course, it’s so much harder during the holidays when we’re supposed to be gathering and surrounded by loved ones.

My cousin had a baby. We weren’t able to be there, but we did sneak in a few months after. 

Isabella released two songs, and one on my birthday just this month. So many of us had quarantine birthdays. 

Of course, I miss my family so much. I miss my chosen family and my friends. But I feel you all. We’re huddling together spiritually, even if we’re not able to be together physically.  

And I’ve already decided that I won’t be traveling in 2021. Maybe I’ll do a workshop at the end of the summer here at home. Maybe. 

What I do know is that we’re doing our best. And hope is there. A vaccine is out there. Some of you might have already received your first dose!

What I really hope is that you’re healing and recovering in the ways that you need. Make sure to reach inside yourself, and be kind and good to yourself during this time. 

And I want to wish you all an incredible peaceful, grounded, loving holiday season, no matter what you celebrate.

I feel so blessed and grateful to have all of your love and support. And I’m so looking forward to when we can all be together again

Wishing you all healing and love,

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