Welcome to Praise Seitan! Food, Drink & Travel From the Heart of Seattle. It's a food, beverage and travel blog that combines recipes and globetrotting tales with personal stories about my journey of healing and self-discovery.

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What a year 2018 was.

Since my birthday is in December, 2018 was the year that I was 33, from beginning all the way until about two weeks ago. The 33rd year is the Jesus year. The year Frodo went on his grand quest. Three is my angel number, and I too spent the year of threes on a quest: one of the heart, the spirit, the soul and the mind; of the energetic body and the aura; of the side of myself that exists partially in the other realm. It is a quest that transcends space and time. One that goes all the way back to the beginning and leads into the future. One that connects and illuminates it all; that shows the path behind me and laid out before me.

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In 2018, I changed. I molted. I shed the old skin that no longer serves me and welcomed in the new growth, tender though it yet may be, that will adapt to my new environment, fit me like a glove and steel me for the journeys to come.

Everything about me changed. And yet, I came home to who I had been all along, since my very first day of my very first year, when life was new and everything was amazing.

I realized that I was looking to be invited to everyone’s soirees; to be the cool kid, the object of desire, the most needed and the most pitied; to be cared for and to be invaluable, and sometimes to just wipe myself off the map altogether. But all this time, I was already at the party. I already was and had everything I so desperately craved from others, and so badly wanted them to see in me.

I came home to myself.

I look at my apartment; the nest I so lovingly feathered, that a year ago wasn’t even built yet, and that I just renewed my claim on. I built this. I look at the landscape of my home; the cloud-capped mountains; the water rippling behind the boats’ wakes; the pink-purple of the setting sun. I look at the shore, this morning, as I sat on a glassy driftwood log, polished by the water’s ebb and flow; watching the waves gently lap upon the sandy shore, pooling around stones and seaweed and fragments of shells, in and out, give and take, life and death; the rhythm of the universe. I look at all of this, and I am filled to the brim with love and gratitude.

As a new year begins, a new me is born. Healthy and whole and ever-healing. I am resurrected.

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As I reflected on it all yesterday, I wept with gratitude. Overcome by emotion of how the Universe, my gods and guides and gurus and soul family and spirit animals and ancestors have walked by my side and led me through; how the Universal Source energy has called me home; led me by the light of the Pole Star and the Moon along the path, even when I couldn’t see it, when my feet faltered and my soul felt crushed.

I made it.

From the darkest depths of the hell I lived not so long ago to the divine and wonderful and ever-evolving nature of the life I have now — there were so many times I thought I would never make it out alive. The journey is ongoing, but I passed the trials. This is the part of the hero’s journey where she makes her way home to fulfill her soul mission, in the arms of her loved ones.

This year, I moved out on my own, for real, back to the city. I built, and rebuilt, and rebuilt my soul family, and found various new communities that all had their seasons. I started running again, then came so much farther ahead than ever before, completing my first half marathon and setting goals for future runs. I took the time to heal and restore without any romantic relationships.

I had a spiritual awakening. I reconnected with my earth family and forged new and deeper bonds with my family members, most notably with my sister. I developed even further and remained daily devoted to my own meditation practice. I took two trips abroad in one summer: an eye-opening, independence-claiming, creativity-inspiring jaunt to London and a life-changing, bond-sealing, Divine-Feminine-embracing trip to Paris with my mom. I quit my job and started my own business, and it is successful, and now I am preparing to start yet another with a dear friend.

I learned to say no and draw boundaries. I learned better self-care. And I had a life-changing experience that has led me to reconsider everything I knew about sex and dating, about what I want and what I need, and what relationships I want to pursue, regardless of how society may view them; I came home to my true self in love and sexuality, and there is no going back.

I am so grateful. And so I wept at the beauty of it all, of the gifts that I realized on my 33rd trip around the sun.

Life is beautiful and I am grateful.

With the Universe, I made this.

I reclaimed life. I got a “do-over.”

I broke free and broke through.

I am touching the divine and the divine is within me.

I am in the Universe and the Universe is in me.

I am in love with life and love is within me.

It is beautiful. It is good. It is all going to be okay. And so it is.

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