I know it sounds cheesy, but I really think 2018 was the best year of my life (so far).
This year taught me so much: how to wander, how to let go, how to take care of myself, how to trust my inner strength. Captured in a single word, 2018 felt like expansion. It felt like commanding the space around me with confidence, and it felt like chasing after joy.
Sure, there were hard times and sad times and scary times, but between and through it all I found the element of flow. Perhaps that was one of the greatest lessons of the year: times don’t get easier, you get stronger and more able to handle difficulty with grace.
I’m eager to see the year ahead, but for now, I’m excited to pause and reflect on the magic of the past year.
January kicked off the new year with excitement and the fruition of a project I’d been working on for quite awhile. On January 1st, I released my first ebook in an effort to help new yogis find confidence in their practice. It was accepted by the community with so much support and love, that I can still hardly express my gratitude for. This month also included my second Women’s March and wintery beach days with friends.
February was an adventure filled with seaside photoshoots, frolicking in mustard fields, and more time with friends. This month I was also featured in Seventeen Magazine and attended a private screening of the I Am Maris movie to see the final cut! I also got my wisdom teeth out. So that was fun.
March was a month of work and play. I headed over to ro*co’s headquarters and made some plans for the future of the I Am Maris movie, directed a photoshoot for Just Be Yoga, threw a surprise party for my friend Syd, and took a quick trip to Chico for some hiking and kombucha.
March included more beach days, hiking through the forest with Isa, and some festival screenings of the I Am Maris movie. By this point, spring quarter was in full swing and I could see the end of my sophomore year on the horizon.
May was busy in the best of ways. I flew to UC Irvine as a KeyNote speaker for their mental health conference, attended a screening of the film at UC Santa Cruz, flew to Las Vegas to celebrate mother’s day with my family, saw an A’s game in a fancy suite with Malia Hill and Adesina Cash in preparation for our event later in the year, saw Angela Davis speak about prison reform, and shot with my friend Roberto for a MantraBand promotional campaign. I’m tired just typing all of that out.
June wrapped up my sophomore year sweetly. My family came down to Santa Cruz to see me receive an award from my school for my writing, I volunteered with Food Not Bombs, I displayed some of my body positivity art in a gallery for one of my classes, and in a twist of fate became the first yoga teacher in Walnut Creek to teach a silent disco yoga class on top of a building. Pretty weird title, huh?
July was a tropical adventure. In Kauai, I rode in a helicopter over the coast, hiked to the bottom of a canyon with my brother and Ryan, saw some sea turtles, ate dinner with a cat and my dad, and enjoyed my new favorite fruit (the sugarloaf pineapple, grown only on the island).
August was, in one word, magical. It started off in London, where Ryan and I saw all the sights by foot and by underground train. From there I parted ways with Ryan and headed up to Vancouver for a business trip and to attend a training with Eat Breathe Thrive. Then I headed back to America to teach 400 yogis at the first-ever Oakland A’s yoga day!
In September, I started a new chapter by turning 20 and saying goodbye to my teenage years. My sweet, sweet friends traveled to the Bay Area to surprise me with a weekend of fun and food, and my mom and I spent a super fun and memorable day together in the City. After the celebrations were over, I headed up to the Luminary Farm for the first weekend of the teacher training I’d be assisting, and then at the end of the month headed to school to start my junior year of college.
October was another abundant month. It started off with a screening of the film at the Santa Cruz film festival, then I headed back to Vancouver to screen the film at lululemon HQ and make some other magic happen while I was up there. Then I came back to the Bay for two more screenings of the film at the Mill Valley Film Festival with friends and family surrounding me. Once the film circuit was done for awhile, I focused in on teacher training (now in full swing) and spent some time exploring Santa Cruz.
In November I focused my time and energy on teacher training and school, with a pause to enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving with family. During the devastating wildfires that touched California, Just Be did its part to spread a little love by hosting some donation classes with all proceeds going to those affected.
And finally, December. In this month we wrapped up teacher training, I helped Just Be redesign their assisting manual, celebrated the holidays with friends and family, and took a trip down to Santa Cruz for a quick getaway.
Just like that, another year has flown past. It’s been a year filled with amazing opportunity and incredible connections to new and old friends. I got to travel, try new things, share my story, speak out about things I’m most passionate about, and step into fearless authenticity in a whole new way.
I’m so grateful for 2018. It was hard as fuck sometimes, but it cracked me open and reminded me of the importance of using my voice for what’s important. I grew as both a teacher and a student, and learned a whole lot about living in truth.
I’m excited to see what’s in the year ahead. In 2019 I’ll start my senior year of college, turn 21...and that’s all I know for certain.