I’ve spent hours over the years counting the white speckled square ceiling tiles located in stale rooms at hospitals and doctor’s offices. The squares form other squares and it eventually becomes inception within itself. Go figure, the ceiling is just one giant square, made up of smaller squares, or groups of squares within a square. Perhaps this was a method of self-soothing, for doctor’s offices and hospitals haven’t been a favorite environment of mine over the years. Counting the ceiling tiles offered a sort of reprieve from the testing, heart checking, and masked the sounds of the mysterious machines in my room monitoring my health and wellbeing. I still count ceiling square, ceiling planks, even lights frequently when I am on my yoga mat, or even counting the ceiling fan rounds from the comfort of my bed.

My childhood can be best described as anxious. I was an anxious child. Anxiety was spurred by raised voices, disappointments, unexpressed and often unmet expectations, images of perfectionism, failures of not living up to my own standards, my own beliefs often getting in the way of my own successes, limiting myself and validating my story of self-worth (or lack of it). I would seek validation externally, from the praise of my parents and peers, showing up for friends who were never quite there for me, proving to others that I was, in fact, worthy and deserving. That, I too, was a secure person with an anxious inner child often at the helm of the ship.

The past three years have marked a journey filled with unexpected visits from my friend’s: grief, loneliness, loss, healing, spirituality, and allowing myself to trust. Its been a hike filled with unmarked switchbacks, paths divulging into multiple roads, snow-covered markers and frequently getting lost only to be redirected. This journey has not been easy, it has been fraught with anxiety and uncertainty, met with shame and vulnerability, marked by the scars, wounds, and heartbreak I’ve encountered. But it has also brought some good, it has very much provided a path and guided me on my way home. To myself.

Gone are the days of searching externally for validity. Here to stay are the days of searching, trusting, and allowing my inner guidance to route me forward. I’ve been working on rewriting my inner monologue, retelling and reframing my belief patterns to heal my inner wounds and allow myself to feel whole, complete, and welcome. And while some of you, dear ones, may have gotten this figured out long ago, I trust that there will be times where you have felt lost, uncertain, and panicked by the uncharted territory that laid ahead of you.

As I sit here between the transitional space of the ending of a year and a decade, I am welcoming the idea of fully holding space to simply allow. Allowing myself to refrain from self-expectations ultimately ending in disappointments. Allowing myself to trust the divine timing of the universe. Allowing myself to experience grace in the most unexpected and ways. And simply allowing myself to accept, receive, and of course allow love — in all its forms, to show up in my life.

Too often we are the harsh inner critic. Demanding unrealistic expectations of ourselves, often getting in our own way. Preventing ourselves from allowing things, and forcing and resisting to where we become spiteful, angry, and frustrated. I choose, instead, to allow myself to come home to myself. To search internally for the answers, the validation, and the love I often seek externally. I allow myself to get caught in the present moments of the day, to get lost in the pages of a good book, to experience more whimsical moments, and to feel the warmth of the sun on my skin.

As we embark on a new decade, my wish for you, dear ones, is that you start to explore your path home, the one that guides you to yourself. That you become ok with opening the wounds around vulnerability and shame. That you honor every aspect of your life lessons as such. And, that you recognize that everyone you meet on your journey is there to teach you something. May you continue to count the squares on ceilings, and find healthy ways to self-sooth and bring comfort. And may you craft and write your story. Today is day one.