2017, The Year that Was(n't)

2017, easily the worst year on record. Or was it?

As in traditional end-of-the-year reflections, let's recap shall we? 
(Commentary is at the bottom)

          • This time last year, my wife and I were at our wits end with each other living in the same house. We toughed out the holidays together, so as not to ruin the holidays for our entire family.
          • I moved out of the house at the beginning of the year and began to live entirely on my own for the first time in my life. I always had roommates, never an entire situation all by myself. 
          • Had the worst conversation with my kids, having had to break the news to them that their mom and I breaking up. That sucked...to say the least. 
  • Worked as a server after an 18 year hiatus at The Angus Barn. Met some incredible people there (also some bad ones. Such is the way of the service industry). 
  • Battled through anxiety, loneliness and overwhelming stress. 
  • Battled through ongoing legal bullshit with my former business.
  • Worked long nights, had early mornings. 12 hours of sleep/week.
  • With all the overwhelming chaos and new stresses, I made an intention at the onset of 2017 to Connect and Cultivate. 
    • I left those intentions opened-ended on purpose so as to go into every situation with an open mind and heart.
  • I maintained my mind and my health. Every piece of my world met some kind of death by the end of 2016, I was completely paralyzed with anxiety and restlessness. Knowing I couldn't even manage my own email inbox, I decided to focus on the only thing that I could-myself.  
    • Wake up each morning at 515am, so that I can get myself ready and be at the house each morning to still get the kids ready for school, make their lunches, prepare breakfast and set the tone for their day. 
    • I got my health back. Even though my body was run ragged from working a long evening shift and getting 3 hours of sleep each night, I still made a priority to make it to the gym and cultivate my body.
    • I still made it a priority to cultivate my mind and spirit by finding time to write in my journal. This year I did something different, I started to share the pages of my heart online. My journaling has always been a very private affair and this year I cultivated vulnerability and transparency.
  • I still haven't been to a church service. Going two years strong now. Only one friend, from my church, has bothered to set time aside for me every now and then. Christians are nice people, but they suck at showing love and/or empathy. 
    • Side note: I feel more spiritually alive than I have in years. Actually, the most ever. 
  • I dove head first into yoga. Yoga was the only thing that was keeping me sane. It was tangible, it was mind clearing, it was empowering, it was helping me breathe (both literally and figuratively).
  • Lifetime Fitness agreed to bring me on board.
  • My father, upon learning he has cancerous tumors, and who after 15 years of total silence, decided he wanted me to accept him back, no questions asked. When I did ask questions, he flipped his shit and he once again reared his ugly head, that I had hoped changed in the passed time and in view of his plight. No such luck.
  • I started going on dates. Dating is shitty. I did something that I swore to myself that I would never do, join an online dating site. 
    • I'm not looking to jump into a serious relationship right away especially after a 17 year one that destroyed my heart and trust in women, but I felt like meeting people is a part of the cultivating and connecting experiment of this year, so why not. A drink and a conversation...shouldn't be too hard, right? Holy shit, there are some crazy chicks out there, but there are some nice ones out there too. Mostly whack though. 
    • On the topic of dating, my wife, very soon to officially be "ex," informed me she met another guy. Seems like they're in love and moving in the directions that people in love go. She might try to move away...with our kids. That's a different kind of feeling to understand. I'm not going to touch on that here. 
  • I quit working at the Angus Barn, because it didn't make much sense for me to sustain that. It was draining every other compartment of my life, especially time with my children, which is the only thing I have to give to them right now. 
  • I sucked up my pride and took a chance by doing a GoFundMe page to ask for help getting funds for Yoga Teacher Training.
    • I have never been more humbled and overwhelmed by emotion from people, some of which I haven't spoken to in years, who supported me. Wow! I'm choked up thinking about it now. THANK YOU THANK YOU so much. I love you too.  
  • I completed my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with a group of people that I could not imagine forming a closer bound with. YTT was powerful ISH yo and I absolutely love my new crew. Some very special bounds were made and are still being made. 
I let Cultivate and Connect be my two guides for the year. These two guides have led me down paths called Transparency and Vulnerability. Instead of holding in all my pain and chalking it up to, "No one cares" or letting my hard heart remain too hard to feel. I said, "Fuck it! What else can happen? Maybe someone won't like me anymore?"  Like I care! All my world had fallen apart and crumbled, my great big empire of dirt.  I've been through worse, so losing a friend or two wasn't something I was going to lose any sleep over. That was the least of my concerns. So I decided to put it out there, and not even for any response really, doing so has been my way of cultivating transparency and allowing myself to connect with myself. But what happened this year was amazing, people started to reply and connect with my journey and I started to make connections with them too. People were connecting with me and I with them, I heard so many stories and my heart started to find some of the connection that I had been longing for. Instead of repressing all the feels, I started to feel all the feels. Noticing all the sensations of life, catching every breath that passed by, completely living in my own story, in the present, as it happened, live streaming everything as it surfaced, capturing all the sweet and not wishing away any of the sour, inhaling all of the life. 

All in all, so much came to ruin this year, but someone tell me why I feel the most alive I've felt in years, maybe than ever before. Why am I filled with so much hope, so much love, so much feeling, so much vitality, so much breath, so much compassion, so much empathy, so much energy, so much willingness, so much life. I'm at an edge in my life, a cliff and I have no safety net. I'm in the absolute most vulnerable place I have ever been. I'm in the darkest period of my life, but there's the brightest light shining from within me. WTH!?!?! So much doesn't make sense, but it feels so right! 
Feels exactly like I am where I am supposed to be. 

As I have been writing I have been listening to Coldplay while writing this, I don't know why, but it just feel like it was the right thing to do. Must've been the Basic-Bruh in me coming up for air. I heard a song, "Christmas Lights"(by Coldplay). These lyrics stood out to me:

"Oh Christmas lights light up the street
Light up the fireworks in me
May all your troubles soon be gone
Those Christmas lights keep shining on."

I think that's a good note to leave on, especially this time the year. Whether or not you believe in the whole baby Jesus thing, we can all stack hands that this is a magically time of the year. Hope is here and is coming, all the darkness in the world cannot put out the flickering light of a tiny flame.  Those Christman lights keep shining on...HELL YES THEY DO!

Sweet old friends warm my soul. I love you gang. #huglikejeff

Happy New Year!
Please connect with me on Instagram @Metromonk, I like Instagram or maybe Facebook is your jam. Link with me there too. Or, omg, Twitter is okay too, but I'm not as frequent there as I used to be.

I love you friends. Peace be with you.


P.S I could've have asked a friend to edit this before posting, but I didn't. Don't judge too harshly, thank you.

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