Sitting here, fingers on the keyboard, checking in with my higher self and guides about the message that wants to come through, I’m drawn back in time.

It’s 1998 and I’m in the crowd of runners with my friend Pam, waiting to start my first (and only) marathon. I was running the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC for with the Leukemia Team in Training. I was fulfilling a dream I’d held for nearly 20 years to run a marathon and was super excited to be raising money for a good cause as I ran!

So, what made me think of this today, as I sat to write this post?

Simply put, the events of that day awakened the realization in me that so many of us are emotionally, energetically and physically limping across the finish line that marks the end of 2022.

That day, my running partner was my son’s elementary school teacher, a lovely and energetic woman named Pam. We stood jammed together with thousands of runners, excited for the starting gun to go off and to feel the surge of the runners inching forward. We were so tightly packed that we couldn’t even see our feet as we began to inch our way forward to the start line.

As we crossed the start line, the micro-chips that had been attached to our running shoes by the strapping young Marines, would begin to clock our official running time. It felt so exhilarating to begin to find our own rhythm as the surge of runners began to open up onto the streets of Arlington.

We were officially off on our 26.2 mile run from Arlington National Cemetery, through the streets of our nation’s Capital, past museums, monuments, through Georgetown and the Tidal Basin and back to the Cemetery!

It was a great day! Everyone could feel the excitement in the air!

And then, not even a mile into the race, still closely maneuvering our way behind the runners in front of us, the unexpected happened. Pam stepped into an unseen pothole and went down hard. She twisted her ankle and was bleeding from her knee and hand.

My heart broke for her as she got up and we wove our way through the runners to the sidelines. I stayed with her until medical support arrived to make sure that she wasn’t seriously injured. She was ok, nothing was broken she and insisted that I should continue the race.

So I did, thinking in that moment that Pam was out of the race for good.

As I ran my spirits rose, and I was reenergized see my kids and their dad cheering me on at different points along the marathon route! I’m proud to say that I finished the marathon strong in under 4.5 hours and to this day have my medal hanging on my bureau mirror!

But even more impressive is that a couple hours after I finished, while I was still hanging around Arlington Cemetery, I saw my friend Pam limping across the finish line. WOW! What a warrior!

Despite her swollen ankle, banged up knee and bruises, she had somehow managed to complete the entire 26.2 miles. To this day I don’t even know how she did it, but her strong will and determination got her over that finish line.

Great story, right? But what does it have to do with you, today?

Well, let’s just say that we’ve all been running a marathon for about 3 years now. Non-stop, one pothole after another, can’t predict what’s gonna happen next, kind of marathon.

We all started 2022 pretty much exhausted, frazzled, spent, running on depleted adrenaline fumes… still carrying the shock, trauma, grief, overwhelm and fear of the previous two years.

But because things began to feel a bit more “normal” i.e., schools went back into session, people began going back to work, stores and restaurants started to reopen and we felt safer to gather socially, we felt compelled to act “normal”. But things were far from normal. Under the surface we were traumatized.

2022 has had it’s own version of crazy, with continued outbreaks, more mass shootings, divisive politics, weather related tragedies and a terrible war. Not to mention any personal losses, challenges or tragedies that you may have experienced.

There is nothing normal about carrying on every day as though the past is behind us and nothing is wrong.

So many of us learned to do this as we navigated our own early life trauma. Push it down, adapt your behavior, suck up your emotions and carry on.

We are all feeling the impact of these last years, whether we even acknowledge this to ourselves or not.

Let’s just keep doing all the things, even though for many of us, our nervous systems are on high alert, our adrenals are blown out, our immune systems are shot and our mental health is teetering on a very precarious brink. Our teens and younger children are all struggling to carry on, in light of the total breakdown of the last few years and the ongoing violence they are witness to every day.

Let’s change the old patterns.

I’m inviting you, in this season of giving, to give yourself and your loved ones the gifts of compassion and grace.

Slow down, breathe, take a walk, look at the stars, drink some hot chocolate, do a puzzle, read a book, watch some silly animal videos to make you laugh, journal, tap, take a bath and a break from social media and television.

Be kind. Make space for healing. Allow yourself to feel and process whatever you’ve been pushing down. It won’t kill you and you will probably feel better when you discharge some of that pent up emotion and energy.

Despite all of the heaviness and trauma of the last few years, you can still choose to create an oasis of peace in your own life.

Sh** happens. It will continue to happen. That’s part of living on a dualistic, 3D planet.

How you respond, however, is entirely up to you. Getting present with a breath, a prayer, a meditation, a hug, a smile, some tapping, asking for or offering support, can change everything in a moment.

It’s unlikely that any of us will be racing to the finish line of 2022. Some of us may literally be crawling there on our knees.

And that’s ok.

Whether you feel like you’re finishing strong or limping to the end, let go of any judgment.

Appreciate yourself, your mind, heart and body for getting you this far.

And smile at those around you, recognizing that they’ve been running this same crazy race with you.

Many beautiful blessings to you and yours as we move through this season of light.