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Many people spend the first part of the New Year sort of rethinking their life, and it doesn’t take The Force to convince us to do it. It comes fairly naturally. I’m pretty familiar with this ritual.

Each year I take a walk on New Year’s Day and write down my impressions about what I see in my journal, then I use those themes and images to help me think about the coming year. But thinking about the coming year inevitably comes with thinking about what’s gone before, and for me, 2015 was a year filled with change. A LOT of change.

My “walk” this year was actually a drive. And the images and impressions were heavy with birds, trees, and bridges. Not surprising. These have been staple themes for a life built by the desire for a mix of metaphors. Bridges for transition, birds and trees for freedom and stability, roots and wings.

Also the idea of keeping the past where it belongs. Trying to look through a dirty rear window while attempting to drive forward is bound to cause an accident at some point, so I’m going to try not to drive like I’m traveling backwards. Sometimes this isn’t easy for me, and I realize I have a lot of work to do, both inside and out. That’s ok. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. Or my heart, for that matter.

It’s not easy figuring out who gets to make the journey with you, and it’s especially hard to accept the last line of the above quote (which is by Rebecca Campbell, by the way, from her book Light Is The New Black).

“Sharing your path with someone is a sacred gift; don’t cheapen this gift by rolling yours in the wrong direction.”

Not everyone you meet is going to like you. Sometimes even the people you love don’t like you. Being willing to move on and find your tribe takes guts, but it makes all the difference between a life that moves forward vs. one that stays mired in the past. Find those people that make you stronger, not weaker. Who fill your tank. Who make you want to be a better person. Then cherish them.

Find joy.

Find simple pleasures.

Find peace.