There is a Christmas tree outside one of my favorite stores in Manhattan, ABC Carpet & Home. Filled with a quirky assortment of high-end furniture and accessories, the store is a dream-like, fantasy-worthy respite from the city.  I like to say that it is my place to dream. Though I can hardly afford a thing in the store, it is a place that makes me happy.

This year’s Christmas tree has white ribbons tied to its branches. A sign next to it asked shoppers to share a wish and to “dream it, write it, and tie it on.”

I took a picture of it earlier in December, as people began to share their heartfelt wishes.

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It was moving to read the wishes for world peace, happiness, shelter and food for all. There were many wishes of love.

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One person, unafraid to dream big, wished for a movie star.

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The wish tree got me thinking of the wishes my heart would make.  Nothing like taking inventory of your life among the chandeliers and Buddhas and holiday ornaments.

2013 was a big bear of a year for many reasons. I look back on it as the year that I grew up. I’ve spent most of my adulthood saying I didn’t feel like a grown up, but this year I think I finally know what it feels like to be one.  There was no big epiphany that ushered in a new period of my life.  A series of realizations added up to a year where I emerged a changed person.

I came face to face with disappointments—from small slights to big corners I unknowingly turned only to realize the new road just leads forward, with no turning back. These were the kind that can make it hard to get out of bed. Still, I did.

I wish for the strength to keep showing up for myself, even when life gets hard.

I put myself on the to-do list.  I finally figured out that when you are no longer living in your mother’s house, you need to learn how to mother yourself.  So, I began to take care of myself, body, brain, heart and soul. I am no good to anyone if I’m not good to myself.

I wish for the fortitude to put self care at the top of my list, because I matter.  And I wish for more manicures and massages, simply because they make me happy.

I learned that to not make a decision is a decision itself. I came to know that life is what you make it, and that clarity in what you want is so very important. Being clear on the life you want to live gives you aim and purpose. I realized that I’d been living life by default. And that doesn’t feel very good.

I wish for clarity in my deepest desires so I can set about bringing them to fruition. Ultimately, the magic is in our bold willingness to create a satisfying life.

I found grace in gratitude.  A month of gratitude cracked me wide open and continued long past, and I will never be the same.  Gratitude offered me the keys to living a richer, fuller life. Gratitude showed me the way back to myself.

I wish to live a space of thankfulness, always, grateful for the goodness that is everywhere.

I made a decision to be vulnerable, to move through the world with an open heart. This is often challenging, because sometimes you invite people into your life…and they say no.  People aren’t always accepting when you walk into a room with your heart as an offering, but I try to keep it open so I can know the joy of being welcomed.  I also discovered that you are never too old to make a new friend, and that is grace.

I wish to live a life of love, rooted in rich open-hearted relationships.

Though this was a year full of challenges and left turns, through it all I remain optimistic for what lies ahead.

I wish for a new year full of love, joy, and magic—all rooted in goodness and grace.

And so we begin again. I begin comforted with the knowledge that a clean slate is an impetus to dream, and that wishes are vehicles for life-changing intentions.

A new year is about to begin. Make a wish.

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