The front of my handmade love notes that I sent out to my neighborhood tribe today. 

Four years ago on Chinese New Year, Juan left me

The leaving was inevitable.  We had talked about it.  After nine long months of trying to make it work, a rest was needed.  Some space.  A break.  An open space so we both could breathe. 

He came home from work and told me that he had found a place, a room to share in a friend’s apartment.  He thought he would take some stuff over there that night, after Max had gone to bed.   He thought he would stay and watch a game.  He might be home, but maybe he would try it out–see how it felt.  He gathered his things together and after the bedtime routine was over he was gone.  He didn’t come home that night.  He would never sleep at my side again.

The year that followed was turbulent, scary, sometimes exhilerating.  After the heaviness of trying and failing for so long, after the sadness that weighed on us and pulled on our shoulders, there were whole weeks when the freedom felt like the first warm spring day.  After hoping and praying for so long, there were weeks when the grief chilled me like a November rainstorm.  I honestly can’t remember much about that year, other than the fact that I breathed alot.  Just breathed into whatever I was feeling–lightness, crushing saddness, giddiness, panic.  I suppose really, that was all that was important, the breath.

The short break turned into a long one.  The long break became official separation.   The official separation morphed into a divorce.  It would happen over three years. 

But a turning point came as we approached the magical year mark.  I realized he wasn’t coming back, that I had, really, despite my best efforts lost my marriage. 

But I also discovered that I found myself.

That year, three years ago, I decided I would reclaim Chinese New Year.  It will forever be for me the official start of my new year.  It is a celebration of things that die and are reborn.  It is my phoenix day.   It is the day that I look forward at the sinewy river that is my life stretching out before me.  It is the day that I look back at the good, the bad and especially the ugly…and thank them for teaching me, protecting me, bringing me here.  I thank the traveling companions who have shared my journey and I send big open-hearted dripping love notes to my community.  I light candles and dance around the kitchen.  I write my Mondo Beyondo list. 

Today is Chinese New Year.  It is the start of the Year of the Ox.    Last year at this time I would never have imagined all that would have happened this past year.    I am thankful for what I have learned. 

I feel my heart breaking open in new ways.  I am terrified and thrilled all at the same time.  I am standing on the edge of something new but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

And I find myself here on this page, this place where I practice.  I thank you, the few who stop by here and sit with me, who breathe life into what I write here by reading it, who give my words meaning but speaking them in your mind.  I wish you a year full of joy and countless new beginnings with every breath you take.   

Happy New Year.

I am so happy you are.

2 Responses to “Chinese New Year”

  1. Trish Says:


    Happy New Year, Happy Rebirth. T.R.U.S.T. that this year will glide you gently into your new adventures while surrounding you with the zeal of positive energy that you radiate to myself and others. So glad for you, proud of you. You inspire me to be a better version of who I am. So G-R-A-T-E-F-U-L for your friendship.

    Love, Trish

  2. tami Says:

    your posts are always so moving and thought provoking. Happy New Year and may your heart be open to what the year brings –