Celebration: A Look Back at 2014
I think celebration is under-valued at this time of year. The energy of making “resolutions” takes hold and as a result I’ve observed that people can focus on what didn’t happen last year – what we didn’t do enough of, what we didn’t accomplish, how we didn’t stick to the resolutions we made at the beginning of the year and fell back into old habits. Yuck! How uninspiring.
I’ve been finding that when I take the time to fully and lusciously celebrate what has passed and what I’ve accomplished and learned I feel a lot of energy that sustains well beyond the shelf life of a resolution. We need that kind of juice to do the big work we want to do.
This doesn’t mean simply celebrating the positive stuff and ignoring the difficulties, though. It’s important that we take a real, cogent look at things that didn’t go the way we wanted and the patterns that no longer serve. However, still looking at them with an intention to celebrate can enable you to find the gems that were in that experience and help you release any victim feelings about what happened.
I am offering a model for this and sharing some of my celebrations from this last year here and I invite you to join me by writing your own, if you haven’t already. Give yourself the opportunity to do this now and fully harvest what just passed before rushing into the next things for this year. It takes time but anything worth doing takes time. 😉
What’s next in 2015 is just another delectable dish that will contain many varied flavors and colors of the human experience and no matter what it is going to be remarkable. We have the power to let those flavors taste amazing to us – that power is our willingness to ravish our life with our celebration.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below – what are you celebrating?
I GOT ENGAGED!
This is the biggest and the most recent event. My Beloved Shane and I got engaged on the night of my 40th birthday party in December. We were witnessed by a bunch of our beautiful friends and I was extremely surprised and delighted.
I wrote this on Facebook to share the news:
“From the early days of our connection Shane Metcalf has captured my heart. We have traveled through both inner and outer landscapes, gone diving headlong into adventure, and deepened and refined our gifts to the world, together. Our love has been a refiner’s fire. We have gone deep into the depths, turning over every stone and taking down every barrier so that we may love and serve more deeply. This has taken courage and resilience at times. We have become better people through the crucible of our relationship and we have discovered what it truly takes to live inside of the commitment to the well-being of another human being while honoring our own needs and desires.
This dance has helped me emerge as a woman vs. a girl playing at being a woman. Shane has called out my greatness, always in service to my highest. He has been a strong stand in the face of my own resistance and has stepped up again and again to demonstrate his commitment to who I can be. So it is with great honor that I share that over the weekend Shane asked me to marry him and I happily said YES!! Shane is a heart-wise lover, a wizard, a brilliant mind, and a manifesting genius – I could not imagine a better man to create a future with.”
I also shared the whole engagement story on my Facebook personal page here if you’re curious: https://www.facebook.com/melissakmhall/posts/10153029026708628
We just had tons of downtime together during the holidays and new year so we could luxuriate in our renewed honeymoon feelings. It’s been amazing to enter 2015 feeling our strength of commitment and thinking about how we want to create a beautiful ceremony and celebration of love this year.
I TURNED 40 AND FEEL BETTER THAN EVER
40 is a significant passage and it’s awesome! Something happened for me when I passed through this threshold that allowed the part of me that had been in the habit of fighting with myself to lay its weapons down.
On my birthday I conducted a self-ceremony: I let myself totally go into all of my feelings. I cried. I released. I sang. I prayed. I forgave. I laughed.
As a result, I have experienced a huge surge of refining clarity and I am now more willing than ever to get on with living my beautiful life. One word: relief!
Plus people say I look better than ever too, which is probably helped by this…
I UPGRADED MY FITNESS & WELL-BEING
Various health concerns have demanded that my well-being become a major focus over the last 10 years. Each year I learn more and more. This year was about massively upgrading my knowledge and protocols for my feminine hormonal system, getting strong, and healing my body from acute physical tensions and imbalances from past injuries that had flared up again.
I integrated in a whole suite of new supplements and herbs, began seeing excellent specialists for my structural issues (which had revealed themselves through some painful, scary bouts of numbness in my upper and lower body), super-charged my morning shakes, began drinking bone broths. Pain has been one of my greatest teachers in this life because it shows me how I can become a total pro at taking care of this precious vessel I live in.
After years of not being able to run without having a pain party in my shins and hips (despite, or maybe because of, decades as an athlete growing up), I started trail running in the canyon behind my house again, ran the steps next to my house way more often, and engaged in more playful “endurance training for the apocalypse” with my sweetheart (a fun game we play is imagining being chased by super zombies which really gets my ass up that hill!). As well as a huge amount of dancing at festivals and Ecstatic Dance!!
In addition, after years of an extreme approach of taking out most sugars due to yeast overgrowth, I wanted to re-integrate back in some sugars and my ability to enjoy tasty pleasures. To do that, I went through some moments of big imbalance in the other direction sometimes going a little too crazy with the sugars. Through a patient (and sometimes totally frustrated) journey of being real with myself about my emotional eating patterns, I re-calibrated my system back into a better balance so now I can include some fruits, honey, and coconut sugar again.
My hormones are balancing back out and my body feels supple and luscious and feminine – yum! (An amazing book to explore on this topic: “The WomanCode” by Alissa Vitti). Personal possibly TMI confession: as a result of this, my breasts have naturally grown at least a breast size. Yep, no surgery 🙂
Well-being is always a huge area of focus for me and it’s one of the first places I look when I am mentoring other people because our well-being is our wealth – it is what enables us to step out and do our work in the world with our fullest capacity. Without this, we are severely limited in what we can create.
I WENT PRO AS AN ARTIST
I have been approaching my music career with the intention of really building it professionally for more than a couple years now, but this was the year I took it to another level.
I started by owning that I am an Artist – this was a HUGE step for me. Embracing this identity was not just a word, it was a way of being that had me take what I was doing in the world and the impact I was having on people way more seriously.
I really think this simple shift had a significant impact on every action I was taking to grow myself and resulted in a major leap. I was booked to perform at 10 festivals including the gorgeous Envision Festival in Costa Rica, Lucidity Festival, and Enchanted Forest. I played all along the West Coast and found myself traveling and touring consistently for about 9 months of the year.
I also dialed in my branding launching my new logo and website. I grew my list and following significantly through a multi-pronged, multi-media approach to marketing which created results that surprised some people.
I promoted a new song I produced with my friends Amadora that created ripples with the women in my community especially – it feels like an anthem for our liberation: https://soundcloud.com/alia_sounds/beyond-the-veil
After putting my vocals on this song along with Eden of Amadora, I kept exploring my voice, and wrote a couple new ceremony songs with my drum. Plus I started working on new original collaborations with other artists and was invited to produce a remix for a friend’s release (more coming soon!)
And I celebrated the inclusion of the song I did with Chris James called “Ceremony” on the soundtrack to the Bloom Series, the gorgeous video series about transformational festival culture.
As an up-and-coming woman in a very male-dominated music scene, I was often one of a small handful of women playing on the main electronic stages. There was a lot of conversation about the need for more women to be showcased in the festival community so I got inspired to create sets and performances that featured music created by women and women performers.
The first expression of this happened at Burning Man. I called it “Feminine Medicine” and it was magical. I had 9 dancers, priestesses creating ritual invocations, and 4 vocalists joining me live. It sparked an idea that is expanding – see below. Here’s a beautiful clip from that performance: https://vimeo.com/105921604
I shared my heart onstage and offstage and combined that with a lot of hustle to become more established and well-known – an Artist moving people.
Here’s a few of my favorite sets from the year – all free to download:
I INVESTED IN MY MUSIC STUDIO & LAUNCHED FEMININE MEDICINE
One of the biggest places I invested this year was setting up my home music production studio.
Even though I was performing all over the place, and I have some music out that has been really well-received that I have produced with other people, this year I made intimate friends with the part of me that was terrified to create my own music. My creative resistance really showed up.
People have been surprised that I would experience terror about creating music, this beautiful thing that I am obviously talented with and the world really loves, but these things don’t make sense. Do not under-estimate our system’s need for safety – it will conjure whatever it needs to in order to stay safe. Mine sure did.
My studio is now pretty dialed and ready – the outer is ready to receive me after all the inner work I did to move through my blocks.
This Fall I have been putting together the vision for a new original album project and stage show which is the evolution of the Feminine Medicine vision. I have invited 16 other women to work with me and each song on the album will be a collaboration with them.
The women are in, the container is created, I am about to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production. I am having my first music session with another woman this weekend in my new studio. 🙂
We are on our way!
I MENTORED AMAZING WOMEN ARTISTS & SHARED MY MESSAGE WITH WOMEN EVERYWHERE
This year I got the opportunity to speak and share my message on a variety of women’s platforms – inspiring video summits, podcasts, and interview series.
I also created new Artist-focused 1-1 mentoring programs for entrepreneurs launching my “Awakening Your Artistry” 2-day intensives and my “Unveiling Your Artistry” 6-month immersion customized programs.
I launched these without “launching”. The evolution of my music career meant I needed to evolve the way I was approaching both creating and enrolling programs. I had to shift away from the big launch paradigm and instead focus on attracting a smaller number of the right clients.
They came through a natural confluence of them seeing who I was being in the world and knowing I was the one to support them with where they wanted to go, and me seeing them, reflecting their biggest visions of themselves in the proposals I created for them, which felt like the most precious opportunity to get inside their hearts and dreams. This was a beautiful, easeful process.
I wanted to share this piece for those of you out there who are struggling with how to find the right people for you. I encourage you to focus on the people and less on the marketing process. As my amazing friend Renee Airya says: “My heart is my sales letter”.
By doing this I had such a fulfilling experience supporting these established women entrepreneurs to find the voice of their Artist in their work and life so they can give all of themselves. Extraordinary!
Here’s me and my client KC Baker after wrapping up a beautiful in-person immersion for her Unveiling Your Artistry program in Sedona.
I BEGAN CREATING A HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH MONEY
Historically I have had a tortured relationship with money and have made some decisions out of my desire to avoid the subject altogether that I am still paying for. Finding my harmonious relationship with money is an on-going exploration.
This year I started to track every dollar that came in and every dollar that went out and this simple habit was so revealing and empowering. I became really excited about the peace of mind this gave me knowing exactly what I was dealing with so I could make considered choices about where to best use and invest my money.
I don’t think words can properly convey how immense this was for me. I am clear now that harmony with money is one of the key things that had me feel more clear and confident this year. I also engaged with programs like Ali Shanti’s “Money Map” and started listening to Tony Robbin’s new Money book.
We must be willing to be abundantly supported so that we can do the work we are here to do. I believe that when those of us who are committed to being of service take a more abundant piece of the wealth pie, we can create a lot more change. So I have been committed to clearing out old programs around money and wealth and healing my shame through forgiveness.
I BECAME A nü Icon DEVOTED TO FEMININE LIBERATION
Earlier this year I was invited to be featured in artist and entrepreneur, Laura Hollick’s nü Icon Movie. I took a potent journey in an immersive weekend with her and the other nü Icons over the Summer in Canada.
It was a mystical, shamanic process that helped me to become more congruent in my self-expression. Going deep into the inquiry of my unique Iconic Essence uncovered this phrase: “Feminine Liberation”.
For me Feminine Liberation means I am fully embracing my feminine nature and I am liberated in my expression of that. Feminine Liberation was not something I was taught. I had to learn this.
In my experience most women do not feel completely free to be everything that they are – there are many places where they feel held back. This was true for me too. Especially around the more public expression of my sensuality.
I think many of us women who are public figures, especially those of us in the “new wave” of feminine leaders are exploring this deeply in ourselves.
This year I was meeting regularly with a small group of other leaders in the feminine entrepreneur space and our regular topics of exploration were sexuality, spirituality and the integration of this into our self-expression and leadership.
Plus I devoured Sera Beak’s book, “Red, Hot and Holy”, twice! This book delves into the the centuries of oppression of women’s natural gifts and expression – I was feeling this lineage strongly.
The photo shoot I did with Laura which yielded this picture sent me into a tailspin around this public display of my sensuality, as it was selected as my primary promotional photo for the movie.
I wrote about my whole journey with this here if you’re curious: http://www.aliasounds.com/2014/11/06/the-journey-to-feminine-liberation/
The end result: an integration, healing, and embracing of the fullest potency of my expression.
I EMBRACED MY VAGINA
Gonna let that one sink in for you for a second. 🙂
This follows right on the heels of the revelation I had above but this is the more personal, intimate view.
After experiencing the after-effects of a lot of sexual trauma, these last few years I took on fully embracing the opening of my sexuality. This year I found new layers of numbness I thought I had thawed out already. My desire grew and waned. I found a new understanding of my rhythms, a new sense of peace, and deeper, more expanded orgasms.
I found Naomi Wolf’s book “Vagina” which I think needs to be required reading for all women and men who love them. This book reveals the powerful relationship between our brains and our vaginas and our creative capacity, and especially why those of us that have experienced sexual trauma experience a dip in our confidence.
I have finally felt mirrored by a book on this topic and I am healing just reading it.
I EXPANDED MY TRIBE OF LOVED ONES
One of the greatest joys of this year has been how much my tribe of Beloveds has grown: all the beautiful beings I met at festivals and shows; the “online” friends I first met through Facebook or online programs becoming in-person soul friends this year; my close Bay Area tribe of inspired people fully french-kissing life; my amazing fans from all parts of the country and the world.
I am surrounded by an ever-expanding group of people who are practicing living and loving well. This year I can’t wait to expand the web further.
I TRAVELED A LOT, HAD RIDICULOUS FUN, AND DANCED MY ASS OFF
Shane and I got to go to Costa Rica twice – the second time was a working trip which inspired us to do more working vacations in beautiful places. In Costa Rica I felt nourished to the core.
We did lots of festival touring with our magical medicine van which has become our cozy, plush sanctuary on the road. We hit Santa Barbara, Oregon, and many a tree-filled festival site along the Western coast.
We danced, and danced some more to some of the best new musical artists producing today.
We laughed. A LOT.
This was some of the best healing medicine of all the medicine that came in 2014.
WHAT’S ON DECK FOR 2015?
I am about to go into full-on production of the Feminine Medicine album – Part 1 will be released in June and Part 2 in September. We are about to launch the Kickstarter at the end of January and I would absolutely love your support!
The Feminine Medicine stage show will take flight at a couple select festivals this Summer.
I am getting married to Shane!!
I am privately mentoring a few inspired women who are ready to unlock their Soul Artist this year – I have 2 spots left for the right women. Is this you? Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to explore together.
Magic and bliss that I can’t possible foresee right now. That’s part of what is so amazing about life – It loves to surprise!
Blessings on your head for reading to the end! And now, go take action and harvest your year for your own celebrations. And please share some with me below! I’d love to hear.
May 2015 be your best year yet!