Was 2017 the best year of my life, or the worst?

As I reflect on 2017, I can’t figure out if it was one of the best years of my life, or the worst pile of shit I have ever encountered. I experienced profound love, secured my first Actor’s Equity Association contract, performed with Anne Bogart, the SITI Company, the Los Angeles Opera, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, signed a contract with ABC, became a certified Yoga instructor, started a scholarship for yoga teachers of color, continued a scholarship for HBCU graduates to pursue their MFA training at UCLA, auditioned for amazing television projects, and taught yoga in Seattle, Mexico, Los Angeles, and New York. At the same time, I was $40,000 in debt and short on my rent each month, developed a terrifying allergic reaction, had the lowest-of-the-low health insurance, was constantly running out of money on my food stamps, ABC "went in a different direction," my partner left me to embark upon a new adventure, my father was in and out of the hospital, my grandfather passed away, and a friend of mine died in a horrible accident. By the time the year ended, I felt emotional whiplash and had no idea how to categorize my experience.

In 2017’s rough political climate, more people were awakened to injustices that many have faced for decades, and are now collectively working toward peace and equal rights for all beings. In my personal realm, faith has become my lifeline, and I now have the strength and strategy to sustain and nurture all that I am working toward. Everything that unfolded in 2017 was a result of me pursuing my best and most inspired life. Similar to hiking a mountain, I found myself deep in the hard parts, too far in turn back around, and not close enough to the top to see the promise or make sense of my journey.

I don’t need to know if 2017 was the best or worst year of my life. I simply need to acknowledge that it was a beautifully strengthening and humbling season that allowed me to understand how supported, loved, worthy, talented, badass, and human I truly am.

In Ghana, the word “Sankofa” teaches us to reflect on our past so that we can thrive in our forward movement.  Now that we have entered 2018, what will you shed and what will you nourish? What rituals do you need to practice consistently so that you can offer the best version of you to yourself and others? Where can you be more selfish, and where can you be more kind? What are you afraid to let go of, and where do you need to work through the hard parts? In what circumstances and environments are you able to trust the past and surrender your attachments to the future? Who brings you joy? Who fills your faith tank? Who leaves you drained? What people or thoughts make your shoulders rise up with tension? What people, thoughts, or circumstances bring those shoulders back and down and allow you to feel your feet in the ground? What physical activities challenge you to stay present and allow you to realize your strength?

We are all so uniquely designed that these answers will differ for each of us. Additionally, these answers will change for us as we evolve over time. What brings us perfect peace and exponential evolution in one chapter may do the opposite in the next. What brings you to your highest state of presence right now? In 2018, I wish you strength, patience, endurance, authenticity, joy, balance, support, community, purpose, freedom, peace, and laughter. In the words of Winston Churchill, "If you're going through hell, keep going." Keep celebrating. Keep beginning. Keep growing. Keep checking in.

Love, Light, and Namasté,

Z