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2020. Out With the Old, In With the New.

2020. Out With the Old, In With the New.

2020. Out With the Old, In With the New.

 2020. Out with the Old, In with the New!

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(January of 2020, Vagina Monologues Rehearsal in the Home studio)

2020, a year like no other. Beginning the year with directing The Vagina Monologues and spending an extraordinary amount of life changing time with amazing women, moving through the pandemic, cancer scare with the hubby, losing most of my work, my mother breaking her back, becoming a caregiver, spending lots of time outside, growing our own food, continued organizing around racial justice and a heck of a polarizing political environment and landing here tonight, the last evening of the year.

As a musician, I have typically gigged on NYE, whether it was facilitating drum circles. dancing and drumming with Kulani, our West African dance and drum group or performing acoustically in local venues. These are often gigs met with much fanfare and celebration, noisemakers, clowns (ugh!), popcorn machines (yay!) and fireworks.

Even so, this has not ever been one of my favorite holidays. For me,  I always feel at the end of the year there are so many unresolved situations/feelings/projects. Aren’t we supposed to end this past year neatly, with all things tied up in bows and cheer to the New Year with fresh and lovely plans to finally get this thing we call life right this year?

We are conditioned to believe that we get this clean slate, this ability to do something newer/bigger/better and that behold, at last! Here will be laid out before me, this shiny, happy life that I certainly deserve!

This year, twenty one years into the twenty first century, in the midst of a pandemic, extreme political polarization, racial discord, growing inequity and economic distress, I know I simply cannot afford to think that doing things the same way, dragging the same tired propped up beliefs of scarcity and consumption  wrapped in  golden boxes will be of use to my life or anyone else’s life.

This year, confronted with the reality of more uncertainty, it can be clear to me that the best way forward is through the messiness and unresolved situations/feelings/projects, unwrapping the gold and silver packages to face what lies underneath and not only to not look away, but desire to move towards claiming the fullness of humanity even here, even now.

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My daughter Riley, our family participated in Marches for Black Lives and remain committed to building equity and equality in our community. 

Perhaps now is the time to recognize our way of living is unsustainable, our systems are broken and we have to repair the breaches of historical harm to engage in authentic healing that has the potential to transform our society.

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Perhaps now is not the time to make plans to make one’s life shiny and happy but to examine values/beliefs and  what it means to embody these values.

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What does it mean to live in a way that doesn’t harm?

What opportunity are we given in times of turmoil and challenge to actually change a mindset and belief?

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We don’t need to put shiny bows on everything.

 This is the blessed work of this life. We  have been given the extraordinary privilege of being here now.

I invite you to reflect on ways you can enter into life.

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

Rainer Maria Rilke

ABOUT AUTHOR

Rachel Allen

Rachel Allen, B.A. Political Science/Sociology, is a Certified Music Practitioner, Sound Healer, Reiki Master, and Registered Yoga Teacher with a trauma informed/social justice framework. She has 20 years experience of working with some of the most amazing people on the planet; hospice patients and their families, patients in a variety of health conditions, survivors of sexual abuse, adults with mental illness and most recently, incarcerated women. Rachel is also passionate about supporting and working with caregivers to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. Locally, Rachel teaches Creative Movement at Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. Regionally and nationally, she teaches and presents at conferences and retreats, weaving live music, yoga, and creative movement into themes of compassion, self acceptance, and transformation. Rachel is committed to engaging people from all walks of life in the healing arts to create healthy, diverse, and joyful communities.