Year End Review: Everything is in Transition {Part 2}

As I write this I am sitting on the train on the way home from a quick trip I took to NYC this weekend. I absolutely didn’t have time to take this trip, but I did it anyway. I’ve got several full days of clients this week. I have barely started my holiday shopping. My boyfriend and I are moving into a new house on the 30th and neither of us have really started packing. {By the time you are reading this, the house better be all packed up!!}

This is how my house looked when I left this morning:


But I was homesick for NYC and missing my friends and traveling to NYC to see them actually is the most important thing I could have done this weekend.

Look at these beautiful people!!

Look at this gorgeous baby!!


Prioritizing the important relationships in my life is something I finally get to do now that I have simplified my life considerably. {I left NYC, I am working fewer hours each week, and traveling much less than I have in past years.} This is a really happy good thing for me.

The view out of my train window right now is a gritty and somehow endearing picture of New Jersey. I feel my throat get tight and I realize I am holding back tears of gratitude. My eyes fill like ponds and begin to spill over, one delicate tear at a time.

While 2013 was a year full of heartbreak, and 2014 was a year of getting kicked while I was down, 2015 was the year hardship transmuted into beauty.

I’m feeling so cracked open by how many layers life holds at the same time. All at once I feel touched by fear, love, boredom, stress and joy. The inner work I have done this year has opened my heart in a new way. Being so deeply loved by my partner the way I am has given me the space and strength to hold all of life’s complexities in a way I never have before.

Hardship didn’t alchemize into beauty by accident. This new life was created by a simple process of noticing what was arising, and holding that tenderly. Doing that, over and over again, day in and day out, helps me remember there is a place inside of me that has infinite patience, unending compassion and boundless love. I always forget about that place, but I am getting better at remembering, and it is the act of remembering that has given me the strength and confidence to make the hard choices that make my life feel like mine.

I feel extra awake right now, which means I get to observe my life with new eyes. My fresh view helps me reflect on the last 365 days and process the lessons from all the change that has showed up this year. I’ve been making some notes in my journal about all the good, hard lessons I have learned and collected them here as a present to myself.  Even though my house is a mess, and so much of my day to day life feels new and a little unstable, this collection of lessons feel like firm earth on which to ground myself.

December 20th 2014

I have the conversation with my friend Cat that shows me something I have known all along. I can’t keep living in two cities and I have to leave NYC.

Lesson #1:

Once you let yourself see the truth, you can’t unsee it.

In the end, there are often very few hard decisions that must be made. The only thing one can do is get quiet enough so the deepest truths can reveal themselves.

Later that day!

I am out for drinks {in DC} with old friends from childhood and I meet the man that turns out to be the love of my life.

Lesson #2:

That person really does show up when you are ready for them. {I know how annoying and cliche that might sound, but there is no other way to explain the synchronicity of this moment.}

February 24th 2015

I have my last teaching day in NYC, and move to Washington DC to live there full time.

Lesson #3:

Having a daily practice of checking in with my body, mind, emotions, and inner wisdom guides me through my day-to-day transitions in a skillful and happy way. Paying attention to myself, my habits, and my needs consistently lead to to this big, life-size transition. Leaving NYC was one of the hardest things I have ever done, and yet this choice has given me a life that has never been happier.


My private teaching practice grows really quickly! I am getting new recommendations all the time from students who come to my group class, and my schedule is almost full. Two more clients and I will have to start turning people down!

Lesson #4:

Woohoo! I can totally do this! Planting seeds over these last few years made all the difference. I created a full schedule of private clients in less than three months! Teaching fun and meaningful group classes is the fastest way to grow a private practice.

June, July, August:

My body starts breaking down. I have some health problems and an old injury flares up badly.

Lesson #5:

Stress will take its toll. Even if you think you sneak out unscathed, your body will not withstand years of abuse without telling you about it. There is work to be done to find peace with the rhythm of life that includes health and activity, and sickness and injury. This rhythm is part of the natural aging process, and this rhythm is also part of all life, even that of a young person. The human body is an amazing and sometimes delicate organism that needs to be paid close attention to and cared for deeply, regardless of age.


My private practices takes a few major hits. A couple that I taught a combined four times a week unexpectedly moves out of DC. A student who runs her own business has some financial troubles and has to stop taking lessons. Another student reassesses her budget and decides she can only afford to take private lessons every other week, not every week.

Lesson #6:

This is a cyclical, inconsistent business. I already knew that, but going from an almost full schedule, to an “I can barely pay my rent” schedule is totally scary. I also learned that my old NYC rates are too high for the neighborhood I am teaching in. I knew that too, but this month put that knowing into stark relief.


My boyfriend and I decide to move in together and start looking for a little house to rent in Takoma Park. We decide the best way for me to grow my private practice is to lower my rates, and the best way to lower my rates is to teach out of my home. We adjust our housing search to include studio space.

Lesson #7:

I am the luckiest women in the world to be loved by this man. Also, moving in together AND planning to run a business out of our new home was a lot to ask of our new relationship. We fight every night for three weeks. {Growing pains. Good, but hard. 🙂 }


We find a new house to move into! After three weeks of fighting about how much rent we can afford and freaking out because we aren’t sure we will ever find a house we can afford in the neighborhood we want to be in, the most perfect little house ever appears on craigslist. My private practice stays a little too small, and I am excited about the opportunity to lower my prices, limit my commute time, and grow my practice!

Lesson #8:

Trying too hard to be in control only makes me feel more out of control. The most important thing I can do is take really good care of myself and the people around me. I can look at Craigslist every day, but worrying that the right house will never show up is wasted energy.


We travel to visit family. We have old friends stay with us. I go to NYC. I don’t buy holiday presents or pack up to move until the very last minute and am now acting like a total crazy person. I have no fresh food in the house and eating only gluten free pasta and tortilla chips is disgusting. I am tired and barely doing any practice, and that combination is turning me into a very scattered version of myself!

Lesson #9:

I am extremely imperfect. I can do my inner work and take precious care of myself. I can work really hard to be a present, grounded and focused for all my most important roles: partner, friend, daughter, teacher. And sometimes I still act like a total crazy person.

All this adds up to the biggest lesson of the year::

All I can do is watch what is arising in my life, and in my heart, and hold it tenderly. When I show up for myself this way, I get to choose a life that has space to support, love, care for, and enjoy. I am deeply blessed and incredibly grateful for the practices that help me create and sustain exactly the life I want to live.

“We can handle anything when we exchange our worries and fears for alertness and spontaneity, when we focus solely on what is in front of us, and when we leap into the sheer wonder of the unplanned life.”

~Karen Maezen Miller

Happy New Year, dear ones. I’m off to leap into a whole, new unplanned life. Wish me luck!
What reflections do you have about your 2015? What questions have you been asking yourself this year? What are you excited about for this new year?

16 Responses to “Year End Review: Everything is in Transition {Part 2}”

  1. Jeanine

    Once again, your vulnerability is refreshing and something we can all appreciate. Happy New Year friend and best wishes for the next chapter in this adventure we call life!

    • Francesca Cervero

      I appreciate you saying that Jeanine. Being vulnerable like this is SO uncomfortable for me, so it really helps to know it is of service. <3

  2. Gail

    Thank you for sharing such an honest post Francesca. Thinking now for 2016 I’ll stop worrying about how my yoga business needs to be a certain perfect way…keep taking small steps that feel right…let it evolve – & be very grateful for all that I already have in every area of my life. Wishing you a really great New Year! Hope your move goes well & looking forward to hearing more from you in 2016 🙂 !

    • Francesca Cervero

      You are so welcome Gail! I think that is the perfect attitude. My life and teaching and business are so far from perfect! Who cares?! One baby step at a time…that is probably all any of us can really manage. Sending love…

  3. Gina

    Even before I got to your summation, I thought “the part that stands out the most for me is this, and I have to ask her to say more about what this looks like…”
    And this is it:
    “This new life was created by a simple process of noticing what was arising, and holding that tenderly.”
    I look forward to all you have to share.
    With great respect & love,

    • Francesca Cervero

      Thank you Gina. It is so simple, and so challenging. It is the inner work of noticing what is arising in my mind and heart, and having compassionate acceptance for all of it. The next step is having the skillful means to work with it in a useful and loving way. There is a lifetime’s worth of practice there, for sure. <3

  4. Tiffany

    Thank you, Francesca! (Deep bow…) So many of your life’s lessons parallel my own, especially in the second half of 2015. These lessons taught me (with the intensity of a speed train!) what yoga looks like when we take it ‘off the mat’ and truly integrate it into our lives, when we need it most. I’ve been feeling a renewed energy and clarity moving into 2016 – more growth and expansion teaching private yoga. I’m grateful! Love and hugs from the west coast…and all the best to you in your new adventures!

    • Francesca Cervero

      Right back at you, dear Tiffany. You had such a huge year of growth and change last year. I’m sending you love on the new path you’re on this year…XO

  5. Irene

    As always a joy to read your post Francesca. There is great strength (and inspiration) in openness and ‘vulnerability’. Happy new year!

  6. Louise

    I read this powerful post in December, quickly, in a rush. Taking time with it again today has helped the teaching land fully. I remember: coming back to what is real, re-examining, taking in, breathing out, helps wisdom stay around longer. Blessings on the new, unplanned life–is there any other kind, really? Thank you, Francesca.

    • Francesca Cervero

      So much love to you, sweet Louise. It is so fun to connect with you both here, and in real life!! <3


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