Two Wildly Different New Years

The contrast in how I rang in the New Year for 2018 compared to the last is stark if not startling.

On the last night of 2016 I dolled myself up, chugged a large coffee at 10pm, and plunged into an evening of dancing at a stranger’s house party with old friends and a lot of whisky. I was visiting LA after spending the entirety of the year studying meditation and living off the grid in the Redwoods, and felt myself tumble right back into that old way of being…but it didn’t feel good that time. The night ended with me in a compromising situation I’d rather not relive, and I started my first day of 2017 walking off my hangover alone on the streets of Los Feliz while my gaggle of distant companions slept until noon. I sat myself down on the stoop and told myself I wasn’t coming back. I loved that way of Life once, but I had changed.

So much has changed in me, and it continues every day. I believe that’s to be expected when we put down the fight and allow Life to move through us. She’s swift. Especially when we were a bit foot-dragged through the last few chapters. (Lord knows I know that move.)

This year was quiet. No parties. No people. No red wine or hullabaloo. I spent my night penning a goodbye letter to 2017 and the the person I had been during the year, and every year before. I lit a lot of candles. I meditated. I held ceremony for myself to release my attachments and my identity and stepped into 2018 with a clean slate. There’s something new and powerful and different ready to come through this sweet human this year, so I felt like the past deserved to be honored for all she’s done to carry and support me thus far. I thanked her, and I let her go.

The whole evening felt bittersweet. I sat with shades of loneliness and confusion and stuckness. I sat with gratitude and peace. I sat with grief, knowing that a large part of the “me” I’ve grown so accustomed to (loved, even) will not survive through next December 31st. I can’t fully explain it, but there’s something deep and True in me that knows this year requires a massive letting go. The kind required when we say “yes” to Life as clearly as I have.

And you know what? I woke up this morning and I felt peace. Vibrance. Hope. I felt soft and open and suddenly spending New Years Eve quietly in ceremony alone wasn’t something I was just in acceptance of—I was incredibly grateful for it. Sparks of synchronicity and growth and Love have been dancing with me all day. If this is how 2018 is panning out, I welcome it. I welcome it because it’s coming whether I agree or not, but also because I actually find immense joy in this messy, beautiful unfolding.

Hit me with your best, Life. My arms and my heart are open to you.

Sending Light to all beings, this year and beyond.

In Soul, Danielle


A Prayer for Releasing 2017

We’re nearing our final hours of 2017 and it’s feeling magical AF (Full Moon, I see you!) There is so much I could and would love to say about my personal year, but there’s something more important I’d like to share.

I’ve noticed (in myself and many others) how there’s this massive wave of intention and desire for what we want to step into in the New Year, and we might make some headway into it, but ultimately we get hooked into the same patterns and dependancies that kept us from embodying those desires in the previous years. Why?

It’s because we’ve skipped a really important step. GENUINELY releasing the prior year, and the “self” that we were every movement and every day leading up to the New Year. Cheeky humans, thinking we can avoid the letting go part and just receive our wildest dreams! 😉 We’ve got some energetic clean-up to do before we have space for this new way of being to step in.

This means we have to take the time to say goodbye. Reflect on everything this year brought us, thank it for its blessings and its challenges and its lessons. And then cut the cords and let it go so we can step into a new year free from attachments, ties, and dependancies.

I wrote this prayer as an offering for anyone who’s feeling ready to release everything from this past year—ready to start fresh and clear tomorrow for 2018:

Dear 2017,
I call on you with a full heart
I call on you with Love for the Life we lived together
I thank you for all you have given me
How you supported me, protected me, played with me, and loved me
I forgive you for how you have hurt me
How you held me back, kept me small, broke my heart, and made me afraid
I return to you everything I’m mean to leave behind
I take back everything I’m meant to carry forward
May I be free from all the ties that bind us
May I be free from all attachments to what I wanted from you
May I be free from all hopes for what you could have been
May I be free from all regrets for what happened, and what didn’t
May all cords between us be cut, transmuted, and dissolved
At this time, and every moment forward
As above, so below, so within, aho

I recommend, as a simple meditative practice, to light a candle and gaze into the flame focusing on everything that happened this year, everything you want to let go on, and then everything you wish to step into in 2018. Recite this prayer, meditate, and then offer your gratitude to 2017 before snuffing out the flame.

Sending so much Love to all in the New Year
💜 Danielle


Father’s Day Cards for Complicated Relationships


What kind of card do you give the father you don’t speak to?

This is the question that hung in the front of my mind while I stared blankly at my grocery store’s festive Father’s Day display.

“World’s #1 Dad!”

“Thank you for your never-ending support and love.”

“You are, and will always be, my hero.”

Tears welled in my eyes as I fought the impulse to dart away. It all felt so disingenuous—but how could I say nothing? It’s Father’s Day and I still have a dad. I still love him. I still want him to know how much I care.

But after a lifetime of struggling to “make it work,” I made the decision to take a break from our relationship, and I stand by this choice.

My eyes floated over to the sympathy section of the carousel. Somehow “I’m sorry for your loss” seemed more appropriate.

I left the store with two avocados, but no card.

Although this is the first holiday I can’t pick up the phone, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t struggled to do so for several years. “Will he be in a good place? Will he be mad? Will he use this opportunity to pressure me into things I cannot do?” Anxiety, mixed with love, mixed with god knows whatever cocktail of buried feelings unearths every time I see his name.

I know I am not the first person challenged with complicated feelings on Father’s Day. And I don’t blame them. Our parents are our original caregivers, and as much as I truly believe they raise us to the best of their ability (even if their best is hurtful, distant, or altogether absent), most often our parents are our original heartbreakers too. We were young; we trusted them with our lives and our deepest truths, and in that tenderness we learned what is lovable and what is “unacceptable” about ourselves.

That sh*t doesn’t resolve itself. It takes work. It takes dedication, patience, insight, and time to heal and rewrite the impressions our parents made on us.

I actually believe that taking time away to get right within ourselves and to understand what happened between us is the greatest Father’s Day gift we can offer. We give the relationship a real chance in the long-term. For some, even this may not be possible, and disconnecting completely becomes the only self-loving option for a healthy life.

I wish this for no one, but I understand and support those who have made (or are considering) this choice.

I know my father has always loved me and he didn’t mean for his words and actions to be received as hurtfully as they were. I know he’s had a hard life. I know he’s sensitive on the inside. I know he ultimately wants me to be safe, stable, healthy, and happy. But historically, I haven’t felt that way with him. And the thing is, I want those things for myself too.

It’s not as easy as “good dad/bad dad.” Every dad is just human—trying to learn and live and figure it all out, and sometimes we kids get caught in the web of that. Because we’re human too.

It’s all just so very…complicated.

Which brings me back to the cards. Standing in the grocery store aisle, where all the prior thoughts came to mind, I found myself wishing for more emotionally-inclusive options to better reflect the melting pot of father-daughter relationships.

So I decided to write my own.

Here are nine alternate card inscriptions to reflect the mixed-feels of Father’s Day:

“I don’t know what to say, but I’m thinking of you anyway.”

“I wish we were closer.”

“I am working on forgiving our past.”

“I know you never meant to hurt me.”

“I miss you, even if I can’t see you right now.”

“I know you tried.”

“Thank you for all you did, and didn’t do. I’m grateful for it all.”

“I wish you nothing but healing and peace.”

“I love you, and I always will.”

For the children with complicated father relationships out there, my heart goes out to you. And your dads. And perhaps most of all, to my own father. There is nothing we want more than to be loved by our closest relations, and it hurts on both sides if that experience of one another is not intact. I believe where there is love, forgiveness, and understanding, there is hope.

Know you are not alone, you are lovable, and you are under no obligation to reach out to a father-figure just because one out of 365 calendar squares told you so.

May we have a peaceful Father’s Day, and may we all become the fathers we needed most.

In Soul, Danielle

(This post was originally published on Elephant Journal)