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April 17, 2019

The Earth Day Party we all Need to be Having.

 

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“There are no mistakes. Only new paths to explore.” ~ Gregory David Roberts

I’ve never really felt the need to celebrate my birthday.

I don’t make plans to go to special places, and I never ask for a party, cake, or gifts. But I’ve celebrated every Earth Day since college.

Every year, I celebrate Earth Day by hosting a dinner and asking my guests about the pit and peak of their year. I encourage each person to share what has been the best memory of their year so far, and what has been the worst. Invariably, as listeners respond with envy or empathy, everyone around the table engages, the conversation grows, and the tone becomes more intimate.

Earth Day reminds me we’re all in this together, that this planet is our shared home, and it’s the only home we have.

As I plan this year’s dinner, I’m thinking about this past year of pits and peaks, and the mountains are more apparent than the valleys. This year’s pit was fierce and still yells at me loudly. The peaks of this past year are softer, they are also more abundant.

In the first part of the year, I invested time, energy, and my most vulnerable self into an attachment that weakened my self-esteem, decimated my immune system, and nearly killed me in Nashville.

But in the process of digging myself into and out of that hole, I built skills and confidence, and moved past limiting beliefs that have plagued me for years. And as I look back at the past 12 months, there are so many peaks, I don’t know how to choose just one.

I met a spiritual advisor who has helped me see my resilience, performed in my first burlesque show, hiked Baldy Peak to catch the sunrise, coached a two-year college journalism team, and taught in a yoga teacher training program where I helped students (and myself) release constrictions in our bodies and make space for growth. But perhaps most significantly, I learned to be more compassionate with myself, and find the gifts in dark spaces.

Is there more I need to let go of? Of course. But it’s a process, and Earth Day offers me a codified day to share in the trials and triumphs of my friends, to recognize how far I’ve come, and to celebrate the earth that has supported us all on this journey.

I feel overwhelmingly grateful for the earth that supports us, and for the decades I’ve had to share in the beauty of our home. Earth Day reminds me to celebrate the ups and downs, to cherish my community, to recognize the gifts in dark spaces, and to find ways to work together for a better future.
~

author: Michelle Dowd

Image: @ecofolks/instagram

Image: Didriks/Flickr

Editor: Naomi Boshari

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rcora Apr 17, 2019 2:38pm

Michelle your words are refreshing and thought provoking. During the course of Any mundane day…..I look forward to what is on your mind. The fact that you are able to openly communicate pain as much as pleasure Inspires me to some day have that same courage. THank you

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Michelle Dowd

Michelle Dowd is a registered yoga instructor and lead teacher for Yoga Alliance Teacher Training and believes in the healing power of community.