We can probably all agree that politically, 2017 was a kind of shit carnival. There were a few major wins for people interested in taking care of one another (see: movements orchestrated largely by minorities; things accomplished by valuing essential humanity & Earth’s long-term survival over money), but overall, I really struggled through the daily thwacking away at our nation’s integrity and kindness. Like most people I know, I felt my body and spirit keep the score. Thank goodness we are entering an election year and may we grow the parts of our collective consciousness that want the best for our environment, our communities, and our mental/physical/spiritual health. 

Throughout the darkness of this year, however, were wide swaths of light. One morning in early fall I felt the veil of a depression lift as the sun came up in East Nashville. “Slowly old joy returns to me.” Scattered amongst these past 365 days were cannonballs into the freezing lake, quality time with friends, lots of yoga, and countless moments where I looked at my dog and thought, “You’re as good as it gets.” There was new love, deepened love, and true love, especially, celebrated at my brother’s wedding. I’m pleased to report there were incredible surf conditions in Mexico, Kauai, and up and down the coast of California with people I adore. I also tumbled alone in the waves often, a daily ritual of remembering how much water makes me feel like myself. The ocean is metaphor enough for all time.

This year more than ever before, I identified that money can make me more comfortable, but it will never make me happy. I understood that my truest sense of happiness will always come from feeling the pursuit of my potential. It’s taking the good and the bad and getting on with it because there is work to do: music to write, things to make, shadow to illumine or adjust. It doesn’t always feel good, but my growth has been about learning to make room for all of it. It is having something to dig into and excavate. 

I am deeply grateful for my teachers and partners in these endeavors, especially those who helped me while on tour, in the studio, on the treadmill, and around the kitchen table. This is the crux of it. A Harvard study recently revealed that your feeling of social support is just as much an indicator of longevity as other lifestyle markers, such as BMI and the health of your heart. In this way, I won the lottery.

My friends, I appreciate and love you. I am here for you and feel most buoyed by your presence in my life. I wish for you wonderful adventures in the year ahead, personal and professional fulfillment, and the activation of your brain's gray matter so long as you don't forget to breathe.
Here is a photo from last week when I camped in Joshua Tree for one night with my oldest friends. Darkness can reveal beautiful things too if you can learn to adjust your aperture. I awoke in the freezing night and the sky was dripping with diamond. It was as clear as I've ever seen stars.

I am grateful for this life of connecting the dots, of awaiting the vision of constellations. I am grateful for you, made of the same exploding light.