Image: Petr Kratchovil
Some of my favorite and most meaningful New Year's Eves are like this one . . . curled up and reflecting on the year past and the year ahead. I've been absent from this blog for a few weeks now. Things have been moving at warp speed here IDW. (That's In Deborah's World for any of you who need a reminder!) So I spent Christmas with my beautiful sister and her husband (best brother-in-law on the planet -- maybe in the galaxy!) and my niece and nephew who taught me to play Mousetrap and watched Finding Nemo with me for the umpteenth time. I know it doesn't sound very exciting but it was perfect.
Some extraordinary people entered my life this year -- and vice versa ;). Here are some who have encouraged and inspired me most. They're not in any particular order and it's not comprehensive but here are some of the people I'd most like to thank for helping me to take quantum leaps in 2011. A few of them I know only through their blogs, but they have defintely been part of my journey and I am SO grateful to them for their contributions.
Erin Clark -- I met Erin through Shanna Mann and The Impossible League. Erin taught me that when we are at war with our bodies, our spirit suffers. She says that your spirit ALWAYS loves your body; it's thrilled to have a physical vehicle and it chose the one you have. She made me see this truth in a new way and now I can't NOT see it. A gifted singer and an aerialist (!), Erin is also given to bawdiness when it serves the purpose of fun and I approve of this heartily! Thank you, Erin, for your magical, marvelous Self. I'm SO happy to have you [back!] in my life!
Julia Valentine -- Julia and I met when I interviewed her for an article I was writing. By the time the article went live, we were fast friends. Julia's mission is to help everyone make sure that the second half of their lives is the best part. This is especially impressive since she is still very much in the first half of her own journey. Her passion is born from the heartache of watching her vibrant grandparents get swindled and crumble in their later years. She is smart, she is kind and she is funny and has a generous spirit . . .all wonderful qualities in a friend. She also has a mega-watt smile and a marvelous laugh. I'm so proud to call her my friend!
Rosie Molinary -- I love the internet because it makes wonderful writers like Rosie available everyday. Rosie's blog and books and her work as a teacher all are devoted to making women recognize their beauty. She helps us understand that there is nothing in a bottle or a tube that can trump what's already inside of us, just waiting to shine through. Her writing is so warm and transmits such joy that I always wish I could dash to her kitchen for a cup of tea and maybe a crumpet . . . if only because women as warm and wonderful as Rosie are sure to laugh at words like crumpet! Rosie, a million thank yous for sharing your wise and witty self so generously.
Thais -- Thais blogs over at Living in the (k)Now. She shares her triumphs and tribulations with such honesty and such heart that the beauty of her spirit shines through. I only wish I lived close enough to her to take her yoga classes. (I'm trying to get her to move to NYC -- suppose that's a tad selfish! But in my defense, she DID say that moving here is a dream she has!) Thank you, Beautiful Soul.
Lin Eleoff -- I met Lin the first night of the BlogHer Conference here in New York and liked her verve and panache and her slightly wicked sense of humor! Now that I follow her blog The Worst Mother Ever -- which is a) hilarious and b) features her own original drawings, I like her even more and am SO happy to have met her!! I can't wait to see her again! I see some umbrella drinks in our future . . . !
Kim Dinan -- One of my Stars of 2011, Kim blogs over at So Many Places. Kim and her husband Brian have sold their home and will soon be leaving on a round-the-world trip. Kim is a 4H kind of writer -- honesty, heart, humor and home. Why home? Because she has such a clear understanding that home is about more than four walls and a roof. Rather, it's something we carry within us. I can't wait to follow Kim's chronicle of the adventures and discoveries she and Brian will share.
Vic Magary -- Vic is just one of the remarkable human beings I've met through Joel Runyon's Blog of Impossible Things and discovering Vic's blog was a real highlight of 2011. Vic lost his business and, in the process, a lot of other things as well. He pulled up stakes and moved with his dog, Coda, to Texas for a fresh start. Vic is an inspiration. He is direct. He is candid. He is honest. And he is balls-to-the-wall BRAVE. I admire him and am hoping that 2012 will bring him all good things.
Mara Glatzel -- Mara blogs over at Medicinal Marzipan about body image and self-love. For me, her writing is the tip of the Mara iceberg though . . . beautiful, impressive and clearly a force of nature, but just about 1/10th of her massive grandeur and strength. Mara produces a daily body-loving newspaper with highlights from the best of the web, and she also is unfailingly generous and supportive of others, including Yours Truly. Because of Mara, I set up my Twitter account AND got my first followers. I met Rosie Molinary, Karen C. L. Anderson, Thais and lots of other wonderful bloggers through Mara. Mara, you have my gratitude and devotion. Thank you so much.
Andrea Owen -- Andrea blogs over at Your Kick Ass Life. Like most of the others you see listed here, Andrea doesn't just talk the talk, she walks it. People who interest me are those who pull themselves up after life has kicked the spit out of them, and then focus on helping others up from the mud as well. Andrea took a situation that has flattened more than one of us, turned it on its ear and then used it as a platform to help others. Her positive attitude and gorgeous smile are happily infectious. She inspires me and I always enjoy checking in with her.
Jill Shapiro -- When vegan athlete and author of Thrive, Brendan Brazier, spoke at a Lululemon on the Upper West Side, Jill and I were both in the audience. We began to chat. We kept in touch. One thing led to another and now Jill -- who is a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition -- is my Wellness Coach. Because of Jill, I now avoid gluten, refined sugar, dairy and caffeine. If you had told me a year ago that would be remotely possible for me, I'd have been skeptical at best and might even have choked on my iced latte. And this is only the beginning!! In March, I'll follow in Jill's footsteps and begin my own studies at IIN. I love you, Jill!
Cyndie Suarez -- When Cyndie Suarez is an international superstar, remember that you read about her here first! Cyndie is co-founder of a holistic wellness center here in Manhattan called Love Your Transformation. As part of a new venture she's starting, Gorgeous U-niverse, she offered meditation workshops and while colonics were outside my comfort zone, meditation seemed not only do-able, but also attractive. Cyndie has great training and remarkable skills, and she is a gifted intuitive. Working with her as a member of the first Gorgeous U meditation circle-- at Jill Shapiro's insistence! -- has very literally transformed my life. Cyndie will be launching the Gorgeous U website and blog this year and I can't wait to see what new adventures will unfold!
Matt Frazier -- I found Matt through Google, when I was looking for resources for vegan athletes. Matt blogs on just this subject over at the No Meat Athlete. The blog is informative and inspiring but, for me, it was a portal to a bigger world. Like Mara, Matt has introduced me to incredible fellow bloggers and resources. In point of fact, it was Matt who led me to Mara! If I am any indication, I can only imagine what goodness is rippling outward from the work he does. Thank you so much, Matt! Maybe 2012 will be the year we meet face to face!
Joel Runyon -- Joel Runyon is a bad-ass. He's young. He's brash. He's impatient in the best possible way. And damn the boy gets things DONE! His list of the Impossible Things he accomplished in 2011 is daunting. If it stopped there, he'd be kind of insufferable. But it doesn't stop there. Joel's daring is exceeded by his kindness and his sincerity. He launched the Impossible League and penned the Impossible Manifesto to help others reach for the best in themselves. He's not really good at responding to e-mails, and I'm still a little peeved that he won't follow me on Twitter (maybe I'm too girly?) but overall, he's far too awesome for me to hold such trifles against him!
Patrick Hitches-- Patrick Hitches admits to being "a little bit crazy." I tell him in no uncertain terms that he is bat-shit crazy!! I've linked you to his 27 day training program for the Marine Corps Marathon. Yes. You read that right. In 27 days, Patrick trained for a marathon. Then, he headed off to climb Machu Picchu. Because of Patrick, my own Marine Corps Marathon dream now has a firm Go date. And Machu Picchu is looking closer, too!
Daphne Cohn -- Daphne IS The Pleasure Nutritionist. I like her down-to-earth approach to nutrition and her dedication to helping other human beings awaken to the light of their own true natures. She also has a generous and giving spirit, building bridges that connect like-minded spirits in powerful and playful ways. Daphne is based in Ithaca, New York, a town I like almost as much as the beautiful Cavafy poem of the same name. Daphne, you are GLORIOUS!! Thank you so much for sharing yourself as you do!
Pamela Moss -- I signed up for an on-line workshop that Pamela offered this fall called The Clarity Course. It's not like me to do something like this . . . but 2011 -- particularly the fall of 2011 -- seemed to be the time for me to do things that were a little out of the norm for me. It was BRILLIANT! It was fun. It was practical and I felt as though I learned so much about clearing the path for what's really important. I have a one-on-one session slated with Pamela in a few weeks and I couldn't be more excited about it. She is a positive tour-de-force with a sincere dedication to helping others manifest their most heartfelt and creative dreams.
Kelly Lemons -- When two of my nearest-and-dearest wed in March, Kelly helped them to craft one of the most beautiful and poignant ceremonies I've ever witnessed. I remember thinking that I couldn't have created a more intimate and loving ceremony for my much-loved friends myself, and that impressed me. (I've since learned that creating a ceremony that seems as though it was written by a best friend is a central goal of celebrancy.) I also thought, "I could do that. And I could do that well." Kelly met with me, told me of her own journey, and encouraged me to apply to the Celebrant Foundation and Institute (CFI). I will complete the first round of my studies there in April of 2012 and my goal will be to create ceremonies that are as meaningful and loving as those that Kelly creates.
Marta Adubato and her 8:30 Circle -- Marta is my first instructor at the CFI and I feel so blessed to be one of her students. My whole body hums like a tuning fork when I read our assignments and discuss them in Marta's 8:30 Circle! Marta has a rich, honeyed voice that soothes my soul and makes me wish she could read me bedtime stories. She is a strong and nourishing presence and I appreciate her and every one of the amazing and accomplished women who comprise Marta's 8:30 circle.
Each and every one of the individuals on this list has rocked my world and helped to make 2011 exceptional. 2012 is going to be a better year because of them so I'm sending love and gratitude to them.
Finally, each and every one you who reads this blog also has helped to make this year especially meaningful. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am sending blessings to one and all for all the best in 2012. May you be healthy, happy and may you live out loud in the year ahead.