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Posts tagged ‘new year’


“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties,” – Helen Keller


Well, 2013, we’ve had our moments.










Everything in between.


But you have not conquered me, and for that I am forever grateful and with a reflective heart, shall share some of my favorite moments, because focusing on the shitty is just kind of faux pas and SO last year!



So with no further ado….


  • Going to India- It’s truly has been my favorite stop in my travels. It touched some part of me deep down in my being. Its people. Their smiles. Their spirituality. Their gratitude for life. It was utterly amazing. With some of my highlights being: “working” at the orphanage, the Shreya’s crew and guests and driving around the madness of Bangalore. Thank you for allowing me to visit you. We’ll meet again.
  • Yoga Practice- It’s only natural that it follows India, as it was in India that I was taught their traditional hatha yoga, that I practiced for 3-5 hours a day. Once returning home, I’ve so gratefully been able to carry on my practice nearly every day of the week. Namaste!
  • The AWP- We had our first gala. Launched WidowU. Held over 18 events! Connected with around 1,500 military widows! Created an amazing team. It’s my passion and purpose. Most importantly, all of the amazing fellow military widows I have the honor of taking the journey with! They inspire me beyond words. I’m so grateful to be a part of it.
  • My family- We had some big health scares and I’m just grateful for initiatives and steps taken to ensuring more time with those I love the most. I’m also so glad to having a talking niece! They’re a bit more fun when they can talk!
  • Friends- For those that have been in for the long-haul, those that I’ve reconnected to, and those that have recently entered. I’m grateful for meaningful conversations, drive-in theater dates, food explorations and guidance. Thank y’all!
  • Officiating my first wedding- I was honored to be asked to officiate for a dear friend and her amazing (now) husband! I could have never thought to have been asked, but so grateful to be a part of such an amazing love story.
  • Hawaii and Mexico- Any time on the beach and with those you love is amazing. Add in dolphins, snorkeling, margaritas and sunsets…pretty darn awesome!
  • New York- I’ve been there a bit this year, but all for amazing things! Surprising AWP fans at a school, meetings for AWP partnerships and awards.  It’s been great to us all!
  • Music- Whether it be in the form of ACL Festival, Karaoke, Pandora, SXSW or my LP collection. It lubricates the heart and soul. I don’t think you can ever use the word lubricate without it sounding a bit inappropriate. Forgive me.
  • Spiritual Awareness I had already started a path of awareness in the past couple of years, but in ’13 I loved taking my modern Buddhism course, teaching meditation to other widows, learning about and utilizing Reiki, crystals, essential oils, making malas and getting acupuncture! I’ll leave out the millions of books and notes I have…but they’ve been a part of the journey, too!
  • Happiness- It was somewhat of a “Bigfoot” for a while. Some mysterious and ever fleeting object that seemed more myth than reality. But it’s real and pretty awesome to be immersed in.  Even more than that…it’s a choice. I’m glad I chose to have it become a huge part of 2013.
  • Michael- Ok, he’s got to make any list of mine! I was able to connect with him in ways I never knew possible, and lets just say that we could have filmed “Ghost 2” with the interactions we’ve had 🙂 I feel more than ever that he such a guide and part of every step, decision and interaction. Love you, baby!
  • Everything Else- Conversations, Maximus and Brutus, Queen Latifah, AWP Supporters, Getting rid of cable, A new AWP Logo and SO MUCH MORE!!!


There you have it.

Pretty good roster! And I have no doubt, a primer for all that 2014 holds!

AS my motto goes:

Let’s do this shit!



“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
-Dalai Lama XIV

This quote reminds me of a new year message I shared with my friends that I’m, in true Taryn fashion, sharing with you a bit belated.

Mistakes, losses, changes…all consistent attributes in any persons life, but I guess being the eternal optimist I am, I rarely remember, fixate, or find myself debilitated because of their ever coming and going presence.

In retrospect though, they’ve all led to another path in this labyrinth of a life that I’m ever grateful for.

So as another being so eloquently put into words, I too hope for many mistakes for you and me in 2013:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
-Neil Gaiman



Michael loved Calvin and Hobbes:

A kid’s pretend friend that he asked lifes big and not-so-big questions to. An invisible tiger that always seemed to help guide him through his childhood.

Michael became that tiger to me when he died…he became the person I talked to for guidance…who I asked life’s questions to. But the response I knew would never come from him…it would have to be felt and heard by me and me alone. But still, I asked. I screamed and cried for reasoning to this tragedy before me.

As time has passed though, I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer of those questions on life, do I want, or even need an answer to. Just as a child grows up not needing a fictitious animal to guide their way.

In no way am I stating that I don’t still lean on my baby in the toughest of moments, but I’ve realized that the moments where I have been the most incapacitated by grief, are when I have been thinking about nothing but the future, the world in front of me without him by my side.

2012 is carrying a new constant that I know would make him happy, and I know brings a smile to my face. One I picked up along the in 2011.

A constant that freed me from the constraints of life that my pain and loss had me chained down with… had imprisoned me with its uncertainty.

The constant of living now…and nothing more.

I know the future will be what I make of it, but my present…my present was awaiting me to embrace it…and for more than just a second…I have done so.


Holy smokes, Batman.

2000 freakin’ 12.

I don’t quite know how to simply describe 2011 or simply describe what I hope 2012 to be.

I feel I’ve excelled.

I feel I’ve failed.

I feel I’ve laughed more.

I feel I’ve been disappointed more.

I feel I’ve grown.

I feel I’ve shrunk.

I feel I’ve exceeded my expectations.

I feel like I haven’t done enough.

I feel…as I type this…I’m a bit of a split personality 😉

Or a person who hasn’t quite still found a steady balance in the crazy scale of life.

But I think there’s a part of me that knows deep down I liked the excitement of running side to side, just long enough to keep my balance…find that center, but not long enough to ever feel that all will always be as it is…more so a time to know that one side will sometimes lean more than the other and my center will never look the same as the last time I balanced it.


Even typed out it looks so linear…so horizontal….so not me.

So….2012 will be awesome.


Not what I expect.

Not always what I will have envisioned.

And more than anything… a little off-balance.

I’m excited for it.

For life in 2012.

Once In A Lifetime

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”

– Mark Jenkins

It’s that time of year.

That time where I’m able to fulfill one of the biggest dreams Michael and I had.

To travel across the world.

I vowed after he died that I would take a once-in-a-lifetime trip once a year. The first being a 220 plus mile backpacking pilgrimage across Spain. The second was in Ireland. And this yearI will be hopping around the UK (London/Lake District).

They are 7 to 20 days where I am able to experience and see things we could have only once dreamed of. I experience them for both of us, which in return makes the time doubly amazing. The cherry on the top though, is having been able to experience these adventures with my fellow widows. Women I met due to tragedy, befriended due to commonality, and had by my side for this new chapter due to extreme luck (and hopefully a little help from Michael).

Greece, India, Africa, New Zealend…and the list goes on with future endeavors. A time to live to the fullest with my husband (invisibly) by my side, and the women who are my group of Indiana Jones….ready to explore new terrain, physically and emotionally.

As my own life has evolved, not only do I have these yearly excursions to look forward to, but I have a time of reflection to see how far I’ve gone….in miles and in healing. I look forward to it. Something I once loathed even saying…the future. And these trips are the perfect time once a year to commemorate my once in a lifetime life.

Below are photos of special ways I’ve incorporated my love into my adventures.

Note to self:

Life was grand with my love by my side.

As i come up on the reality of him not being on this earth for nearly 3 years, and face another year, another number, in which his existence is void to the outside world, I’d be lying if I said it’s gone smoothly.

I’ve struggled with an impairing grief and the pain. The nights where he felt so close that I reached out to the emptiness in front of me in hopes to feel him. Times in which the memories were so fresh, that I could paint their visions with my tears. Moments where I fell to my knees with the pain of the past, and what should have been our future. Yet through it all, I’ve learned, grown, and felt him there by my side.

Yet now, I face another war, another type a grief. Now, I face an opposite reality. One in which I beg for a dream, a sign, a feeling that I am not alone on this journey. A grief that comes not in the obvious, but in the mundane.

I feel strong and have happiness in my life, from what he has instilled in my heart, but I wish sometimes to go back to those raw moments of pain from a life that didn’t seem to far away.

I think that it’s been in my growth, my realization of the person that I am becoming and the person michael always knew was in me, that I have struggled and grieved over recently. I think I may be the one causing the disconnect and grief, over the disappointment that I could not have made and shown the strength that I never wanted to admit I had, the strength that is the sole reason for my existence right now, the strength Michael knew could take our love and relationship beyond the darkest of days.

This year I want to grab life, and make it what I know it can be, full of his presence, yet still full of those moments where my strength will be tested, just enough to remind me that it’s still there.

I’m always in love with Michael, even when life isn’t going where I thought it would.

Now though, I want to take the love I have with him always, and love the life I sometimes despise, the life that at times i fall victim to with it’s many forms of grief…I want to be in love with it for the life it blessed me with before tragedy, yet the one I have in front of me.

My life is different and the one I will lead will be different, but I can take that which isn’t different to get me through………

our love and the strength born from it.