As we approach the winter solstice (which just so happens to be my birthday!), I’m in a contemplative mood. Last year at this time, I was planning an epic party with many of the most important women in my life to celebrate my first 60 years. I was living large in the wonder of sisterhood. Much has changed in these last 12 months, but if anything, the power of that sisterhood has grown stronger. I’ve focused in on the things that seem important to me: relationships–both with people and with the natural world; amplifying voices; putting my resources where they’re needed most. I’ve learned more about teaching, and teaching from a place of responsibility, but also of empowerment for the student. I’ve gained resilience through exercise and working on my inner life (meditation, creative journaling). I’ve had to pivot and adapt so many times, that I no longer feel quite so stuck in my old ways and beliefs, my “tried-and-true” ways of being and doing. I have witnessed some of the most exponential growth in my students that I’ve ever seen, whether in my voice studio, my opera class or in my work with folks who would never call themselves “singers” (although we all are, IMHO).

As I have so often in these past many months of increased isolation, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the simplest things, like the flaming beauty of the sky at dawn (pictured above) on my early morning walks. I know now that inside of everything that feels like the deepest darkness, there is a bud waiting to blossom, a seed waiting to germinate. Thus, as I contemplate the approach of the longest night, the darkest day of the year, I feel the return of the light.