January 2021 Newsletter

Finding Your Community

by Guest Author Joel Ying, M.D.

What do you want to release from 2020?

In December of 1979, my parents moved from Jamaica to Florida. Only in retrospect can I look back and honor all they left behind …

The country they were born in. The close support of family and friends. A business they had built.

A group of people standing in a circle, arms up holding hands, in the sunshine

However, sacrifice is more than leaving things behind. Sacrifice is “to make sacred.”

What were they making sacred? What were they sacrificing for?

The safety of their family.

Political and economic instability had led to an increase in violent crime.

My parents experienced this firsthand. So they began the long process to leave the country.

It is not a simple process to leave your homeland behind.

Other family members chose to stay in Jamaica. For them, the balance sheet was different.

They made the sacred decision to stay, and they have led equally rich and successful lives.

We must all take stock of our own lives. No one else can do it for us.

As I look back at 2020, I think of both the good and the bad that I must step away from.

Some of the changes have been made for me by the world events of a pandemic.

I had hoped to perform as a storyteller at more festivals. I had hoped to expand the local events that I had built.

Instead, group events have been cancelled. Hiring frozen. Funding revoked.

So now I look toward creating a new vision that matches the current reality. I look toward what I am making sacred.

What do you want to make sacred in 2021?

When I think of what I want to renew in 2021, I think of community.

This time of isolation has brought the world closer in some ways, but farther in others.

As I start to vision a new future with storytelling performance, I look outward to find the community that will support me.

What is the community that will support you in your intention for 2021?

One of my communities comes together each January to set New Year intentions.

This year we’re joining together online in a Release & Renewal New Year Retreat to take stock of the past and vision the future.

There is power in doing this process together.

Join me in this sacred gathering. Or consider starting your own.

Get a community of friends together. Talk about your hopes and dreams for the coming year.

Then set your intention with a ritual. It can be as simple as lighting a candle, setting off fireworks, or building a bonfire.

Find your community of support.

Joel Ying, MD, is a Physician-Educator-Storyteller who integrates modern medicine with a wide range of holistic and integrative models of healing. He is also Co-Instructor of our annual Release & Renewal New Year Retreat.