December 28, 2019

At the end of every year I reflect on the MOST important things I learned that year. Bird’s eye view macros. Big lessons that stay with me forever -- and forever impact how I operate, perceive, lead, and live life. 

Here’s my list for 2019, in hopes that it inspires you to unearth your greatest treasures from 2019:

1. Death is utterly transformative. 

Hard to believe that less than a year ago, my sweet Joy dog departed. She was an old lady at 17 years old and had the most graceful departure I could imagine. I spent the last week of her life on the living room floor with her and it was wholly moving in every way. I realized the importance of the breath - that it’s the only thing separating us from the formless realm. 

In the moments of her last breaths, I wondered to myself, how I ever take any one breath of my own or my loved ones for granted? I learned that death awakens us to new levels of wisdom and freedom if we let it arrive on its own time. I learned that grief is a weird animal and that rituals with fresh flowers, essences and essential oils help a lot. 

death ritual for pets lotuswei

I learned about impermanence and how precious life is -- when there is an end to something you hold precious, you appreciate it millionfold more, and there will be an end to everything as we know it.  If you don’t know the story, you can read more about it here.

2. Wait six months and see what happens. 

Most things don’t last longer than six months. If something lasts beyond a six-month cycle, it might be a keeper (as a long-term project, partner, collaboration, etc.). Sometimes people who you think are in the greatest alignment, come in and out of your life like the wind, and that’s okay. 

Rust tends to come out in month seven. This is a good thing to remember with any type of relationship - especially if you are dating and considering romantic relationships! Wait seven months and see what happens … if you can handle their glitch and vice versa. The same applies to long-term business or collaboration partners. 

Things need staying power to make a great impact and be the most authentically transformative. Relationships need to be like bamboo - strong as steel, yet flexible. They should grow finer and more beautiful over time, like wine or sake. The keepers are the ones that stick with you and stay in the game long-term. Those are your partners for life -- cherish those people and hold them dear, for they are rare. 

Also, cherish the ones who come and go like the wind. They also have beautiful lessons and wisdom for you. It can happen in short periods of time too - you can imprint and ripple something profound into each other and then let go when the time is right. We can learn from everyone. 

lotuswei in singapore smoke offering ceremony

3. Opening to greater levels of receiving is a challenge.

Being in Singapore this summer and having family and friends provide us with so much support was mind-blowing. Singaporean culture is steeped in the value of being of service and they will go out of their way to help you. 

They are just. so. solid. If they say they’ll be there, they will. If they offer to go across town to get your favorite lunch, they will. They’ll pick you up late at night to fill your late-night belly. Flowers didn’t arrive at the event? They’ll go across town to figure out what happened. They go out of their way -- out of pure kindness. Even the taxi drivers - if you asked them for help, they would give you the shirt off their back. 

This level of rallying we received rearranged everything in the core of my being. Why can it be so hard to receive? Why can it be so hard to ask for help? In Western culture we believe we must do. it. all. Receiving help -- or asking for help -- is some sign of weakness. It’s a habit/belief system I’m working to dissolve. The more I’m able to receive, the more I can give.

san center in phoenix lotuswei headquarters

4. If you take a big risk -- out of pure intention -- everything can change for the better.

Last fall we applied to four banks to purchase the massive building that we now own and occupy. Three banks said, No. One forward-thinking bank said, Yes. And with your help, we made it work. And we sustained through the first year of ownership!

I learned a lot through the up’s and down’s. New responsibilities as landlord and commercial property owner, and yet -- it’s totally worth it and wonderful. The space we have feels like a sacred vault. Whenever we have public or private events here, it lends itself so profoundly to transformation. People experience themselves on a whole other level within these walls. Including us. It has inspired us to think bigger and expand wider and grow into our fuller capacity. That is exciting.

5. Commitment is a beautiful thing. 

I’m repeatedly inspired by observing the fruits of continual effort over time. I am convinced that it is the nature of life that it gets better and better over time if we are committed to evolution and growth. If we strive to be better at anything, we are evolving our character through that process. 

A simple example. I am SO grateful for the woman that cleans our offices. We have a business relationship, but it’s one that has endured over time and we’ve seen each other grow. We’ve known each other through challenging times and the fact that she keeps showing up means so much to me. I am so grateful for her, and she swears that working with us and taking flower essences has radically changed her life and family dynamic. 

Our landscaper also shows up every week, which also sort of blows me away. Despite the fact that the first day we met, we got into a huge heated argument. I speak Spanish and that’s his first language. And we had a huge fight. And then I hired him. Kinda weird, we’re like oil and water, but it’s been almost a year of working together and it seems to make sense now -- we’ve each gained a greater level of respect for each other. 

phoenix salsa dancing

In my free time, when I’m dancing, I’ve watched my salsa dance instructor and all the students in the dance community strive to get better over time. I am in love with the desire to improve, because if it lasts over time,it is pure.I watch people from all walks of life strive to perfect their form, their listening, their musicality, their technique, their artistry.

And even if it’s just a sideline hobby, it’s SO inspiring to watch how people evolve internally, when they commit to something.Ultimately, it’s commitment to oneself. 

earthaura costa rica retreat blue spirit katie hess

I observed the same in Costa Rica this fall. Working with the same practitioners again in our retreat -- with a group of participants that had doubled in size -- helped me see how entirely perfect we are for each other. As each one of us evolves our craft while we’re away during the year, when we reconnect at the retreat, our collective work evolves and becomes more powerful. And seeing returning participants after a year of growth was mind-blowing: One wrote a book. Another won half a million $ grant. And they all showed up 500% more powerful. 

singapore flower essence circle

Watching the effect of commitment to growth on people like Clare, who is on our team in Singapore and now doing her own workshops.

lotuswei team

Seeing how the women on our team: Taylor, Kate, Becca, Anabel, Janel, and Evelyn have evolved with each new experience and challenge is so beautiful.

In summary, 2019 was a year of learning about: 

  • Death, impermanence, lifespan, timing and cycles
  • Softening and opening to a deeper level of support
  • Experiencing the fruits of long-term commitment to personal growth  

What treasures are you unearthing? Leave a comment - and I’ll share (anonymously) a list on social media - what our community learned in 2019. 

What were your major lessons? What insights did you gain from life? 

Love & flower petals, 

katie hess flower alchemist lotuswei