(published January 3rd through my newsletter)

New Year’s Eve is a weird holiday. There’s a lot of pressure to do something EPIC but the way people generally celebrate is LAME.

Loud parties with disposable plastic gimmicky accessories, over-drinking, smooching randos, wearing too-tight clothing that makes you gassy and high heels with bare legs when it’s freezing outside…

This year I opted out of the whole darn thing by going to sleep by 6pm on the eve, and awoke at 4:45am to hike into Joshua Tree National Park and watch the sun peek over the skyline on the first.

REWIND!

You might be wondering how in tarnation I was even able to fall asleep by 6pm (unless you’re a new mom).

Well, I’m taking a sabbatical from caffeine and had my last cup of coffee two days earlier.

Have you done this? I’m a one strong cup in the AM kinda gal (MAYBE another midday if I’m feeling frisky). So people usually think my coffee intake is NBD. But I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that it’s taking a toll.

I recently meditated for just eight minutes and kept swallowing and started feeling panicky as my heart seemed to be beating extra fast… I was like, WTF is this?

And as I’ve been learning more about adrenal fatigue little bells are going off.

So I quit cold turkey last Sunday.

This big pounding headache hit me the next day and a deep down exhaustion rose up to my awareness.

Then on Monday I took a five-hour nap.

Tuesday, after the sun set and my head was one big dull ache I thought, “maybe I can do this… maybe I can go to sleep at 6pm.” I blew out the candle and faded off.

There were distant music sounds and dogs barking that night. I’m in a fairly remote place, but the noise of New Year’s Eve somehow still pressed in… but it didn’t pull me all the way out of sleep.

At 4:45 when I awoke I was thrilled to realize:
A) My headache was gone.
B) I had plenty of time to get into the park before sunrise.

So I packed up blankets and a water bottle filled with warm lemon water and set out.

As I drove into the park it was just starting to get light and the giant boulders loomed like sleeping beasts.

I zipped around some curves and slid down a dirt side road to the end. There I parked and trekked out across the crunchy snow… along a path I had been down on warmer days, before the big snowstorm.

I picked a spot in the center of a snowy flat, surrounded by Joshua trees, with a rim of cathedral-like rock formations surrounding me.

Upon laying out the blanket on the snow, I lit a lantern and poured some warm water, then waited.

It wasn’t overly spiritual or cathartic to be there. I had forgotten my right mitten and that hand was getting numb.

There was quite the display of pink clouds in the west, while a swath of low clouds shrouded the sunrise. I kept wondering, has that damn thing risen yet? My right hand is about to fall off!

But it was good to be there.

I guess the fact that my life circumstances have conspired to put me in that place, in that time, is where the meaning really lies.

Not drinking alcohol. So close to this epic nature. Able, willing and wanting to step out into the wilderness.

I finished the water and ate a handful of nuts and kept watching.

Eventually the sun cracked clearly over the horizon… lighting up the boulders behind me and turning the snow gold.

I trudged back to the car, opened the door, and my missing mitten toppled to the ground. My right hand was white and totally numb. I started the engine and blasted the heat. It tingled and hurt while thawing out.

While driving out of the park the sun shone bright in my rear view mirror and a woman in a shiny black Dodge revved past me.

I went back to the Scamp, made vegetables and lentils for breakfast, and took a surprisingly good yoga class.

2020, huh? I’m down. Let’s do this.

Best wishes for joy, revelation and truth this new year.
AK

Sunrise-JTree

 

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