Happy New Year.  I’m hoping that 2012 is going to kick 2011 in its skinny ass.  It seems that we are far from the only people we know who were glad to see the year come to an end; it’s been hard for a lot of our friends, family, and people in our community.  The job search has been on hold though the holidays.  No one seems to check their email and that’s just fine.  We needed a little break to just not think about things for a week.  Starting tomorrow, everything is back to business as usual, so J will be cracking down, following up with a bunch of contacts he made before Christmas.  I’m working on a few new products for Great Marsh Artisan Skincare, and filling orders left and right.  I’m really looking forward to my daughter being back in school so we can get back to our routine around here.

This is a strange time of year for me.  I have always felt New Years Eve is a very bittersweet holiday, moving ever further into history, propelling towards the end of things, leaving behind family and friends who have died, entombed in the past.  I think about them.  This year, one of my best friends is staying back in 2011 without me.  As the first anniversary of his death approaches, on his birthday in early February, I’m finding the inevitable turning inwards.  I think about him, his family, clutch on to those memories I have of us together that fade more and more each day.  I know that soon they will all be vapor, and I’ll only have his name etched into my brain.

I’m not a religious person.  I’m a mediocre atheist who came by it honestly via a childhood of questioning in the Unitarian Universalist church and a degree in religious studies.  I have flirted with other faith traditions outside of Judeo-Christianity, and found something of value in them all but could not ever make that final leap of faith in believing in a theistic god.  I sometimes wish that I could, but despite 36 years of trying, I’ve settled into  the place where I am, still attending a UU church near my home, and trying to answer my daughters increasingly metaphysical questions in a comforting, affirming, but nonspecific way so that she can find her own path of faith.  My heart is full of love, and I know yours is, too.  That’s really all I need at this point in my life.

Nevertheless, after the holidays are over, in the time of the longest nights, the deadest of nature laying in wait, having faith if not in a divine presence then at least a faith that there is a light in the darkness, I use the time to look deep within.  I use the time to cleanse and detox and renew.  I read, I try to eat very clean, simple foods, I move slower and feel myself firmly rooted to home, family, place.  I roast things.  I braise.  I sleep.

Don’t think that the tone of this post means that I’ve gone all woo on you.  I still swear like a truck driver and scream at the kids that I’ll sell them to the Gypsies if I have to break up one more damn fist fight.  Today I started a Whole30 to get back into the swing of things.  I’ve eaten a lot of sugar and even some grains over the holiday season and am up 11 pounds from my lowest weight.  (I felt badly until J told me that he is up 18.)  One of the things I love most about ancestral eating is how simple and streamlined it is.  I never, ever feel that I’m deprived, but rather feel like I’m giving my body exactly what it needs.  I have fallen out of that a bit, so I’m starting the year with a month of clean eating.  After my first Whole30 breakfast of two sunny side up eggs, three strips of (sugar-free, nitrite/nitrate-free, antibiotic-free, uncured blah blah blah) bacon and two sweet potato pecan puffs, I felt amazing.  I never know why I get tempted by non-paleo food; it makes me feel like shit.  It tastes like medium density fiberboard.  It is never, ever worth it.  So, I’m detoxing, resetting, tightening up, cleaning out, thinking about health, nourishment, relationships, life, and nutrition.

Oddly enough, I’m also doing the same with my “beauty” (used loosely) routine.  I was wearing more makeup than usual over the holidays, out of my normal habits, even using shampoo with dimethecone, SLH, fragrance, PARFUM!!  Shame spiral.  I’m now back to using only Dr. Bronners when I have to, Aubrey Organics on the head and cleansing my face with straight olive oil, lavender and tea tree essential oils.  I’m using coconut oil in my hair and to moisturize my skin, as well as my Lavender Honey Hard Lotion and Rosehip Hydrating Serum.  That is it.  I feel softer and cleaner already.

So, meditating on life, health, cleanliness, simplicity, and quiet.  That is 2012 so far.  I hope that I can manifest some goodness our way on the job front.  God (or, as my UU minister calls it, “a universal force of love that always bends towards Justice,”) knows that we need some good news so I’m working on willing it for us all.