HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2023
My dear ones,
Happy New Year! I hope this finds you taking some well-deserved time this festive season to rest, recover, and reflect. Lean into the JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), I say!
It’s been years since I’ve written to you all and if you are receiving this, it is because I am thinking of you and feeling gratitude for your presence in my life.
After being locked out of Australia during the pandemic in 2021 and getting my permanent residency cancelled through no fault of my own, I made the reluctant decision to relocate back to California to be closer to my mother recovering from breast cancer. 2022 saw me grieving the loss of my Cott beachfront home and community in Perth and overcoming the failure of our venture fund to launch, as I fell in love for the first time in a decade—with my now 7-year old niece Diana and a beautiful spiritual man, both of whom taught me how to live fully embodied in the present moment.
2023 as my first full year back living in San Francisco was a challenging one where I’ve learned to surrender to the seasons of life. Following a spring of upheavals with heartbreak and changes in work, I spent summer rediscovering the beauty of Northern California and the fall journeying within on a spiritual awakening that was anything but Zen. I went to Burning Man for the first time after waiting 15 years to go and got to work in loving community on the Temple of the Heart—words cannot describe what it felt to see it burn, and with it, all of our collective grief and sorrows we'd been holding onto. This year has been a year of great loss, uncertainty and fear for many who lost loved ones and are impacted by global conflicts. It felt good to build something tactile with my hands other than spreadsheets that lent itself to serving humanity.
I confronted and gave love to my shadows—the part of me that does not handle disappointment well; the part of me that put others’ needs before my own; the part of me that is a die-hard pessimist who doesn't trust easily that things will work out. 2023 was the year that saw me finally healthy, a decade from uterine cancer and a realization that my block to create stemmed from a story I had been telling myself: If I couldn’t do the very basic thing of creating life like a woman was supposed to, how then could I create anything at all? The deep understanding that we are not our stories has given me a powerful incentive to create from a blank canvas. Stay tuned for what’s in store in 2024!
For those of you who know me well, you know that I pick words for intentions each year in lieu of New Year’s Resolutions. After ringing in the new year with my besties overlooking the fireworks at Sydney Harbor, I was sitting under palm trees in balmy Kings Beach when I came up with my 2023 theme: Power of the Divine Feminine. It felt strange, like trying on words in a foreign language for the first time, but I could not deny that it had come to me and it has indeed been the theme for 2023. For much of my life and career, I’ve worked in male dominated industries where the left brain ruled: things must be linear, logical, and outcomes-driven. What are the endless possibilities when we can bring both left and right brains together with our heart and soul? 2024’s theme will be all about the Magic of Harmony. Forget boring words and practical intentions.
2023 was the year of integration, where all of the inner work came together—it is a lot harder than our day jobs and we don’t get paid for it, either. I sat in ceremony with my 42 community, leaned into sisterhood, aligned work with purpose, and stayed curious in my relationships. I danced. And danced my heart out until I remembered I am the embodiment of love and no trauma or situations can change that. The power of the Divine Feminine invites death in order to give way to creation, and surrenders to chaos and flow in order to give rise to something truly extraordinary. Those of you who chase wind and wave know what I am talking about.
Coming into the end of the year, I am grateful for the people who have my back and the reminder that I am not on this journey alone. There is a certain comfort knowing that many came before us and are coming up in the world. I am so proud of Alexis, 24, who just became certified as a behavioral child therapist and gifted me with being a hot young step-grandmother (Ava turns 3 in a few months). Ryan, 22, is working in semiconductors and has gone back to school in Albuquerque to study business. Since being back stateside, my mother has recovered her health and I have enjoyed getting to know my youngest brother Jeff as a devoted husband and father to two beautiful girls. This Christmas, we donned matching pajamas to celebrate Naomi Zoey’s first Christmas. Some traditions are meant to be kept. Others invite a new way of showing up in the world.
If you do not have a daily practice of grounding yourself in gratitude, peace, and joy, I’d like to offer you mine. I recently shared my 2023 Chakra Energy Healing Prayer on a girlfriend’s birthday hike at Mt Tam, a beautiful day of reminders that the best gifts come from the heart (and not Amazon.com). As you sit or lie down, imagine colorful balls of energy rotating at high frequency traveling up your Chakra centers and recite to yourself the following affirmations, the first of which has to do with embodiment and the second which has to do about owning our identity.
Root Chakra (Red): I am safe. I am home.
Sacral Chakra (Orange): I am creative. I am joy.
Solar Plexus Chakra (Yellow): I am strong. I am courage.
Heart Chakra (Green): I belong. I am love.
Throat Chakra (Blue): I am authentic. I am truth.
Third Eye Chakra (Indigo): I am knowing. I am peace.
Crown Chakra (Violet): I am connected. I am divine.
As I have evolved in my practice of being honest with myself, I am changing up the words to level up in 2024. When we feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, or depressed, simple mindfulness practices such as breathwork, body scanning, and meditation give us agency to move out of ‘survival mode’ into ‘thriving flow’ and to remember that the highest form of presence is PLAY.
This is the first time in a long time that I am missing playing during peak summer down under. After two long years away from Perth, I am finally getting my Australian citizenship in February and understanding what it means to find home and community no matter where I am.
I am attempting to do better at long distance and hope you will hold me to account in 2024. I would love if you reached out to make time to reconnect and to share your adventures since the last time we saw each other. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, but you can also ping me on WhatsApp +61-451148227 (AU), iMessage +1-650-942-9506 or on socials: FB @bonnielin527 or Insta @rubyshoesinoz.