COVID Christmas 2020. The year came in as a lion and we are all hoping that it quietly slips out like a lamb. But wishing away this year of isolation, sadness and loss would also mean washing away all of the lessons, contemplation and reflections of ourselves that accompanied it.

This past year was a never-before, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to slow down the pace of life and catch up with ourselves. It was a time to look back, heal hurts, and balance our karmic books. We allowed our eyes to well up, our sorrow to cry out, and our hearts to pour openly.

But it also made us reflect on things that made us wince, cringe, and regret; tackling shame, guilt, and ancestral wounding that lingered on too long and tainted far too many generations. Forgiveness and apologies were in order as a heightened sense of impatience, rage, and desperation fueled more anger and resentment with many words and actions that can never be taken back. It was a circular roller coaster ride with thrilling highs and chilling lows and no smooth-coasting lulls. The year 2020, as will be told by future historians, was when the earth stood still and the heavens wept.

As we enter the new Age of Aquarius, New-Age followers would suggest that the collective consciousness will rise and humanity will begin to think more about one another than the self. However, I believe that the collective cannot begin to elevate as one until we each take back control of our own selves: body, mind, and spirit. By addressing those things that control, own, and haunt us, we take back our individual power. We look our demons in the face once and for all to proclaim, “Not today, not tomorrow, and never again do you win. I am in charge of me.” In order to fully embrace the power of togetherness, we must be able to embrace, heal, and love our individual selves.

Earlier this week, a seemingly hopeful symbol appeared in the sky. As Saturn and Jupiter danced closely together to appear as one, we were given a glimpse of awe and inspiration. People all over the globe viewed this miracle through telescopes, phone cameras, and the naked eye in hopes of seeing a rare and beautiful miracle. Perhaps one of the worst years in recent history is the awakening of a new way of doing things — a new approach to health, mindfulness, money, work, spirituality and prayer, and each other.

Sometimes in life, we need a wake-up call, one event that rattles us so much that we are forced to change, take that leap, and even evolve. Maybe the universe delivered that message this year and it’s time we decide if and how we want to respond to it.