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Taken on the Pacific Coast Highway in November 2014.

Taken on the Pacific Coast Highway in November 2014.

I am, at this exact moment, wishing I had a perfectly strung garland of poetic, inspiring words hanging around my neck in celebration of the new year. One of those "I'm fired up and ready to take on the world" kind of pieces that make anyone reading it decide it's high time to sign up for that Ukranian cooking class or Turkish dance workshop or heli-skiing lessons. It's not that I don't feel excited and energized about the new year, it's more that I'm still adjusting to life outside the self-imposed bubble my husband and I put ourselves in for most of December. I got used to having one afternoon after another after another to write; I became accustomed to all that quiet.

While I can't say I reached my goal of completing the first draft of my book by the end of 2014, I am really, really close. In a moment of spontaneous courage, I read a chapter aloud to two family members over the holidays and my hands shook the whole time. My reading didn't just lead to a conversation about the story I read or the book itself, but also other family stories. The three of us talked for so long and so earnestly we forgot about dinner, not eating until around 10:00pm. The next day the intensity kept going and didn't settle down until well after I let tears spill in the middle of our lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant (it was a blast, let me tell you.) After moving through the surfeit of emotions being stirred up for all three of us, I started imagining what other conversations within our family might look like after the book is read. Which made me immediately think burning my manuscript was a really good idea. 

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of my work and business, and oh, how it has evolved. What began as a colorful expression of my desire to inspire others has, over the course of two decades, taken me into deeper, quieter explorations of what it really means to live and love and honor my soul's callings. Writing this book has forced me to go to places that are uncomfortable, unfamiliar and without any real certainty as to outcome. I might write the kind of book I want to write or I might falter. It might get published or it might not. My family may or may not even read it. Or like it. All I know is what I've known all along, which is that I have to write it, and I have to be willing to give as much as I can give in service to the book.

It is a new year, and I am wrapping up the first draft of the book. Maybe after I make the official announcement that it is complete and I've sent it off for the first round of edits, I'll feel invincible, and I'll decide it's time to learn how to heli-ski. Or maybe I'll just sit still, and linger in that moment of "I did it." We shall see.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide