.... In with the new

One of my favorite 'eves' is upon us. It's almost the New Year! Yes, it is a night for merry-making and debauchery, but also an opportunity for reflection. I used to get giddy making resolutions, however the disappointment when I failed to make good on promises to myself was acute. Now I skip the resolutions and set a few gentle intentions instead. "To resolve" implies failure should you not achieve whatever it is you have set out to accomplish. Setting an intention, however, leaves room to adjust to whatever variables may be thrown your way.

This year, I had a tough time narrowing down what intentions to set for the coming months. I found inspiration in four amazing women in my life who have been my greatest friends and teachers.

My mother was and is the consummate homemaker. It always makes me laugh to hear people negate the importance of a stay-at-home mom. My mom worked tirelessly as a teacher to support our family while my dad finished school and built his dental practice. She then 'retired' to an even more challenging job: raising three spirited children! She volunteered for all of our after-school activities, kept a pristine house, checked our homework every day (woe to the child who didn't do their best job; he or she had to redo that assignment!),  and supported with gusto our individual passions and hobbies. She was a theatre mom, a soccer mom, a swimming mom, a rugby mom, a ballet mom, and whatever mom we needed her to be in the moment. Of all the wonderful qualities my Marmee has, the one I most want to emulate is her pride. She takes pride in her home, her family and herself. If cleanliness is next to godliness, my mother's a damn saint! This is no small thing: a clean and peaceful environment makes for happier, healthier children. She crafted a beautiful, cozy home for us, and I seek to do the same for my own little family this year.

Lauren and I met freshman year of college. We were friends, then roommates, then soulmates as we pounded the pavement, sometimes successfully, often not so, as actors in New York. While jobs and life decisions took us to opposite sides of the country, we held on to our friendship that began over 12 years ago. Lauren quit 'the biz' to move back to Colorado and become a teacher. She worked very hard to attain her degree and get credentialed, and landed an amazing job teaching drama at a high school. It was stable, steady work, with benefits. This summer, after much reflection, Lauren made the brave decision to return to acting. She quit her practical job, and has staged quite a comeback as an actress in Denver. I'm so proud of her, and inspired by her willingness to embrace the unknown. This year, I will take more risks and respect my intuition.

Two years ago, I began a 300-hour training program to bolster my yoga studies. It was in this program that I met Lindsay, a beautiful and sweet Canadian (aren't they all?!). We bonded over our mutual love of yoga, theatre and family, which we cemented taking walks on the beach in Santa Monica and long drives to our evening study sessions. Lindsay broke my heart when she and her partner Noah moved back to Canada last year. She was one of the first calls I made when I found out I was pregnant, as I knew how happy she would be for me. She cried tears of joy and I felt her love and excitement through the phone. Lindsay lives a heart-centered life, and approaches everything from this perspective. She makes deliberate decisions based on the yogic principle of ahimsa (non-violence), and treats everyone with respect and love. I miss her terribly, so in honor of her, I am going to set an intention this year to let my heart, and not my head, be my guide.

My Grama and I have always been close, and it was she who taught me how to smile (open mouth, with teeth!). As her "little butterfly", she encouraged me to fly east for college, even though I was scared and unsure. We took a long trip to Ireland together with my grandfather, where we were both challenged by the passing of my Grampa. I saw her strength first-hand as she dealt with the loss of her husband, with whom she had loved for over fifty years. My Grama has always been a dedicated church-goer, and not just on Sundays. Faith is incredibly important to her, but she has never used those convictions to exclude or demonize others. She parlays her faith in her God to her faith in people, and she has always lifted me up and made me believe in myself. This year, I am going to let go of my skepticism and embrace faith.

Yes, these are lofty aspirations I have, but not impossible, as I am bolstered every day by the presence of my little angel Juna. She makes me want to emulate all the beautiful, talented, hard-working, brilliant women I know. Beyond their individual achievements, these gals have shown me unconditional love when I needed it most, and that is the root of it all.

Pema Chodron says it best...

"Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting - whatever we're doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us."

I wish you a safe, happy and healthy New Year!

My Juna, 5 months old.


  1. Ok Kiera now that you have made me cry...You have the most beautiful intentions for the New Year and I know you will be successful in all you try to do. Stay at home Mom is a very hard but rewarding job and you are off to a great start. Thanks for your thoughts, they are inspiring. Happy and Healthy New Year to you, Bradford and Juna...
    Carolyn W.xo

  2. Thank you Kiera. The classes I took with you helped me immensely. You really helped me come to terms with being more present and more gentle with myself. It turned out to be a break through year for me and I look forward to 2012. Here's to seeing a lot more of you next year!
    Don Franklin

  3. Kiera, I enjoy so much seeing the pictures of baby Juna on facebook. Reconnecting with your mom after many years has been a lot of fun. As the grandma of 7 grandchildren, I was so thrilled when your Juna was born and your mom became Marmee. I loved your New Year letter, you are an inspiring young woman. Happy New Year to you, your husband and baby Juna.
    The Stoddard Family from Sacramento

  4. Thank you SO MUCH for these gentle, inspirational words ... This post moved me to think of my own New Year's goals (not resolutions that weigh me down but a very short list of life-enhancing things to aim for) and the marvelous people who inspired them. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for those people and for the possibilities that 2012 offers. I would wish you and yours a wonderful new year, but I think I'm too late; you are already on your way to having it, LOL!

  5. Kiera, It sounds like we have a lot in common. I very much enjoyed reading this blog. I am so glad Bradford posted the link on Facebook and that I took the time to click on it. Have a wonderful New Year and enjoy your baby and husband.

  6. How lovely to set "intentions" rather than resolutions, not to mention how wonderful it is to have such inspiring women to emulate. May this year bless you with fulfilled intentions and ever increasing love.

  7. I thought your New Years resolution was very sweet. I would love to have been able to stay home with both my girls but that wasn't possible. Best advice I was ever given was "Enjoy them cause one day you'll wake up and they will be grown up" Words to live by. I try to remember that every day when I think maybe I should clean this or do that after I get home from work but when one of my girls ask me to sit and read with them or just cuddle I realize the mess will always be there.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  8. I love your blogs and the pictures you post of that adorable baby girl of yours. Bradford had it right when he called his wife very "wise". Your blogs are very thoughtful and insightful but I especially like this one and I enjoy reading them very much. :) Happy New Year...


  9. Thank you all for the lovely, supportive comments. I hope you all have a wonderful 2012 full of reflection, health and fun!

    @Don: That means so much to me; thank you. I'm not sure if I'll return to teaching public classes anytime soon, as I'm having such a great time with my baby! Will probably start subbing and hopefully teaching regularly come summer. Would love to see you! Hope you're taking care of that hip ;-)

  10. Kiera, you are wise beyond your years. May you enjoy this wonderful journey you are on. Your husband and baby girl are lucky to have you. Thank you for posting and sharing your thoughts with us.
    All the best to you and your family.
    Linda S.

  11. This is awesome. One of my "intentions" - see my wonderful friends, Kiera & Bradford (and their adorable angel, Juna), more in 2012. Love you, Kierie!

  12. Your intentions are perfect. I think a lot of people (including myself) could very easily benefit from these intentions.

    THank you.

  13. Juna is the cutest baby in the history of the world!