I have spent the majority of my life traveling throughout the world. As I meet and interact with people from different cultures and climates around the globe, I am always eager to hear their stories and perspectives. These are opportunities for me to better understand not just others, but myself and where I come from. In all my years of traveling, this year stands out from the rest. The sentiment of 2016 was felt well beyond the borders of my local community.  It has been a challenging yet powerful year.

On a more personal level, this year was exceptionally emotional for me. I have spent the last 18 years investing my life into raising a strong, honest, and kind human being equipped with the tools necessary to survive in the dynamic world we live in today. My daughter Isabella left everything familiar to her and moved to the east coast to begin her undergraduate studies in Musical Theater.  While I miss her dearly, I could not be more proud of the young woman she has become. As I am transitioning full force into a different phase of my career, my daughter Isabella’s career is just beginning.

Only weeks before Isabella’s farewell, my mother turned 90 and with that came a flood of emotions. Her birthday celebration was an unforgettable reunion, as friends from around the world gathered to celebrate this mile stone in her life.

Bal Anat and Enta Omri traveled to Europe to perform for the first time, making Belly Dance history. This was like giving birth and with that came the postpartum as well.

And to top it all off, I turned 50!  I have been taking the time to reflect on this half century, while putting intentions on the next half century and what I want that to look like and embody.

For many, 2016 was a particularly challenging year.  And when faced with difficulties, we use our best judgment to focus on what is most important. But the start of 2017, or any new year, offers us a fresh start.  We can reflect on the events, interactions, relationships and choices we have made. What have we learned, what might we have done differently, and how can we apply this insight to our lives to continue growing and moving forward in a positive direction? We can think about what we want to accomplish in the next year and the manner in which we want to accomplish it.  Perhaps the most important part is HOW we approach the new year, as our intent can play a significant role in what lies ahead for us in 2017.  We, our individual selves, are the greatest influencers of our futures.
I look forward to seeing you all in 2017. I have great plans for this year new year, and I look forward to sharing some of those with you!
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.”
? T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets