If 2020 and 2021 taught us nothing else, it is the power and importance of clarity and connection in our lives. The unpredictability of the past two years has offered constant reminders to take care of ourselves, connect with others, open up to new challenges, opportunities and experiences, take calculated risks, and simply be more present in our daily routines. As 2021came to an end, I was acutely aware that I was “feeling all of the feels” of exhilaration and boredom, love and loss, expectation and disappointment, gratitude and joy, fear, contentment and envy all in the course of a day. I needed to pause to take stock of where these feelings were coming from and how to process them instead of pushing them aside and forging ahead into this new year.

“the biggest shift in your life happens when you go inward.
you step in and observe all that you find with acceptance;
the love you bring lights up your self-awareness;
you start seeing how the past is packed into your mind and heart–
patience, honesty, and observation start the healing process.

with time, intention, and good healing practices,
the past loses its power over your life.
you continue the process- stepping in,
feeling, understanding, and letting go.
and then you start noticing the results; you are not the same anymore.
your mind feels lighter and develops a new, sharper clarity.
you start arriving into your life and relationships ready for deeper connection.”
-Yung Pueblo, Clarity and Connection

What I’m Reading: Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
To form meaningful connections with others, we must first connect with ourselves. Before we can do either, we must establish a common understanding of the language of emotion and human experience. In her newest reference book, Brene Brown does us all a favor by naming eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. Brown offers a road map for developing meaningful connection. “When fear, anxiety, and uncertainty leave us feeling adrift and untethered in our lives, our first instinct is to look out into the distance to find the nearest shore,” says Brown. “But the shore isn’t something outside of us — the solid ground we’re seeking is within us. It’s not always easy to find, but it’s there. I believe the more confident we are about being able to navigate to that place, the more daring our adventures and the more connected we are to ourselves and each other.”

What I’m Watching: Station Eleven
Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic tale about loss and connection in the aftermath of a flu pandemic (familiar in the world that we live in now) that forces survivors to rebuild the world while fighting to preserve the past. Connecting with others in a post-apocalyptic world means communicating in the most fundamental way. Since there is no longer an internet, the characters of the show rely only on intimate human connection. In the face of grief, loss, or a global pandemic, the characters build community from scratch and reignite a zest for life through collective goals and purpose.The relationships that withstood the test of time- in good times and bad- were what bound this group together and gave life meaning.

“Survival is insufficient.”
-Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

What I’m Practicing: Intentionally Creating Clarity and Connection
As we head into 2022, I recognize that taking the time to look inward allows for the creation of meaningful and enduring connections. If you would like to experiment with one way to process and reflect on this past year and set intentions for new year, consider using this worksheet.