This is my Christmas letter to you! I have never written one before, but I always loved receiving them from friends and family. I wanted to share what is in my heart this season as I move into the new year.  I have so many deep and wonderful connections with you all and feel called to share myself with you, since I can’t speak to each person.

My father passed away in June, and our family is having our first Christmas without his physical presence. The process of grieving has opened something unexpected in me this season. I expected to feel dread at the thought of him not being here, and although he is deeply missed, what I am finding is a deepening of my connection with God. I am perceiving Christmas with a deeper love and gratitude than I have ever felt before. I feel myself connected to the preciousness of life in a new way. I feel moved to tears by things that I might not have noticed before.

May father was ill for some time. It was hard to see him losing his ability to love us as he had for so many years. He was tired, he was in pain. Now that he has passed, I feel his presence all the time. It is a new presence full of light and power. I am relieved to feel him as he truly always was underneath his illness. His strength is with me. He walks with me. He protects me. I know this.

There have been many other changes in my life this year, and they have served to open my heart more fully to my truest priorities in my life, starting with caring for myself. For many months, I have felt a need to take some more time for myself – to nurture myself more fully, in the ways that I love to nurture my family & clients. A new phase of my work is asking to emerge, and I need the space of fewer obligations to allow myself to explore.  I will continue to do my counseling/coaching work, as well as my Birthing From Within classes. I have opened a few more slots  for clients who wish to work with me one on one. This individual work allows me to work more deeply with clients to help them transform their relationships with themselves and their families and align with their authentic priorities.

I have decided, to take a short sabbatical from Emerging Mothers and teaching Yoga. My amazing colleague Marianne will be taking care of my mamas while I take a break, and the talented Amanda will take over my yoga classes.

This year my daughter, Rachel , turned 16. I am moved to tears when I look at the person she is becoming. I thought I knew so much about being a perfect mother, and she has taught me that the best mother is one who is authentic, and lets go of trying to be perfect. Her superpower is empathy. She brings healing and love to our family with her ability to understand where each person is coming from, and she sees what we are really trying to express underneath our human imperfections.

My little one, Hailey, turned 9. We have watched her gain tremendous independence this year. I have learned that I need to step back and allow her to take charge of herself more. She has surprised me over and over again. Hailey is teaching me about unconditional love. She helps me know that I don’t need to be a perfect mother to be loveable.

Lastly, I fell in love with my husband even more this year. He too spent the year soul-searching and re-aligning his life with his heart’s longings. I am so blessed to have a partner who walks this path with me.

I look forward to a year with lots of adventure & deep connections. Please stay in touch. I am always available for a tea or a chat.

If anyone is interested in some excellent reading, some of the books listed below have been part of our journey this year and have helped us clarify our vision for the lives we wanted.

Lots of love,

Nelia

“Soul Food” reading list

The Surrender Experiment, Michael Singer

The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer

The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown

Anything by Pema Chodron!