First off, even if you don’t read the rest of this post, I invite you to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. This time of year involves rushing and running around for so many of us, so wherever you are right now, BREATHE deep, feel the breath enter in and out of your body. It feels amazing, I promise.

I reflect on a regular basis, but I know many people have been doing “year end reviews” to reflect on their year. While I’m certainly looking back on 2016 and looking ahead to the upcoming new year (read: planning, plotting, dreaming, scheming my vision to do my part in serving and healing the world and having fun along the way – join me??), I decided my year-end post would be a bit different and will hopefully resonate with or inspire some of you as we approach 2017.

If you’re interested, keep on reading!  

THE WORLD NEEDS YOU TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

While I’ve always been fairly introspective and reflective, a couple of years ago, I decided that I wanted to begin exploring myself more deeply and work through some recurring painful emotions I was experiencing.

I knew I had to look at this pain if I was going to continue traveling through this crazy and amazing journey called life. Pushing through wasn’t an option for me any longer. My mind and body were refusing to go forward in the old ways.

I imagined there would certainly be some benefits to doing all of this, but I didn’t imagine the depths to which it would change my world.

After a few years of this, I had a beautiful and deeply profound realization earlier this year. (And of course, in classic NYC style, it happened while I was commuting to work one morning on a hot, crowded subway…)

I realized that through the healing that I have invested a great deal of time and energy in, I have become (and am continuing to become) exactly the woman I needed most as a young girl. (And for men, it can be about becoming the man you most needed as a young boy.)

I closed my eyes and saw myself as the mama in the present moment holding my younger self through many different painful parts of my life. Holding my exhausted body filled with so much pain, self-hate, anxiety, and fear.

I knew and trusted that I was being held and loved as I was in the present moment. The abundance of the universe was all around me, and I felt worthy of receiving it. I could give away my pain and worry and fears to the divine mother, and she knew what to do with it.

The concept is formally called *remothering*, but I say call it what you want. I call it a nice, big, freaking long-awaited EXHALE. A sigh of relief. It’s all going to be OK. Be present. I’m OK now. And now. And now. Keep checking in. Ahhhh…

It was a moment of realization so powerful, that it brought tears to my eyes.

The beauty, too, is that it didn’t stop there.

I still seek motherly energy and love, both from my own amazing mom but also from mother earth and other feminine, maternal forces.

To be clear this isn’t about moms not being *good enough* – my mom is an amazing woman who I credit so many of my good qualities to, but now I also know that I, too, am a mother and can care for myself and no longer have to act from a place of the little girl who hurt so much inside.

What I hadn’t realized when I decided to start this whole journey was that through this healing, I was also beginning to take radical RESPONSIBILITY for my emotions, my needs, and my life.

I no longer place responsibility for all of my emotional needs on everyone around me. I’ve found various ways to address and release pain and experience love and connection, in ways that make me feel supported and complete.

Many of us (whether consciously or sub-consciously) place a great deal of responsibility for our pain on others. We blame them for our current and past challenges as well as use this pain as an excuse for why we can’t move forward in the way we would like to.

I still relish in the absolute joy, connection, love, companionship, trust, laughter, support, and comfort that others bring me. However, the difference now is that I know ALL of that also exists within me. That I have incredible strength and power inside of me to weather the storm but also the wisdom to know when to reach out to others for help. (That ability to ask for help is all a part of that inner knowing, too, and it should not be discounted.)

However, I no longer require others to validate my existence and worth or to “make it all better” and heal my wounds. I’ve learned that healing is a process that YOU AND ONLY YOU can do for yourself.

There is a part of me that wishes this healing could be packaged up neatly to help everyone in this world who needs it because a world with much less unaddressed pain would do us SO much good and would make my heart so full, but I also know better.

I know that healing is a journey of growth, loaded with ups and downs, expansion and contraction, light and darkness, breaking down into a pile of mush and putting the pieces together again and again.

The magic and value come from the process itself and the courage and honesty required to be ready to open up and start getting comfortable with ALL of you, not just the fun and easy parts but also our darkest corners.

I now know that the healing, rather than being healed, is the gift I have given myself. Yes, undoubtedly it feels amazing to be in less pain, but I am by no means *there* – none of us are. We’ve all got our stuff, and every time we work through one thing, life shines a big old mirror in our faces, reminding us there is more work to be done. Living in perpetual creative response, evolution – this is life.

And part of my journey has also been owning that I can and must step up as a leader. An awareness that my imperfections, pain, and obstacles along the way weren’t what kept me from being a leader.

What kept me from being a leader was believing that leaders were those with less pain or more credentials or better looks or more money and friends.

However, I now know a truly strong leader is none of those things, but rather one who sees all of the imperfections in her/himself, accepts and owns that, but knows that they still have a gift or message to share with the world anyway and gets to work.

A lot of the magic happens when you continue to show up and work through the tough stuff while also serving others along the way.

I take my emotional responsibility to heart, ESPECIALLY as a leader, knowing that I need to continue to heal myself if I am to help others heal.

But I also know that waiting until you’re *good enough* before you reach your hand out to start helping is missing the point entirely and benefitting all of us much less.

When it comes down to it, this journey of self-care and healing is not entirely about me.

It’s about the generations that have come before me and those that will come after me. Releasing and removing any oppression or pain or crap in my life and being the last in line. Taking a stand in refusing to actively play a role in passing along this pain to others.

It’s about the people in this world around me who live in dangerous and inhumane environments, who don’t have many of the privileges I have been born into. I am here to serve by helping the people around me, those who are part of the world we live in and who play a role in changing the world every nanosecond. (Yes, that’s all of us here privileged enough to be on Facebook.) So that they are free from their pain as well and can begin to use that shifted energy to *Be* and serve in the world as they are meant to.

I want to do my part in helping us join together to heal the world so that those who face the greatest challenges of our time can have a helping hand to do the same. I truly believe if we all took more responsibility for our emotions and experience, that could contribute to some deep healing that our world needs. We could begin to see the humanity in one another again. Not us vs. them. Just ALL OF US.

So in conclusion, sweet peeps, start with you. Look at what you can do to help yourself. That may include asking someone to help you through that (I know it certainly did for me), but take responsibility for your life. I want to see you soar, and I know you are capable of nothing less. You’ve got this

Big Hugs + Happy New Year,
Ryann

[Side note: I know some people have experienced deeply traumatic, violent, and painful things that have gone unaddressed. Know that I am sending you love if that is you, but I still invite you to consider healing yourself, too, with the help of a qualified mental health professional and whatever other support you can find. To free yourself from the painful things that happened in your life and eventually move into a new story. One where the immense amount of strength you had to make it through that pain and still come out on the other side, can now be used as a force of courage and healing. No longer using that strength to fight the pain but to use it to initiate and engage in the process of healing. I see you and am witnessing you. You are so powerful and brave. Thank you.]