When you become interested in something–an image, a topic, a song–you find that you come across references to that something more and more often. If you read that turtles signify journeys, then you will notice images of turtles, and you will think about yourself and your thoughts about journeys, and soon your world will be filled with turtles and journeys so that you wonder you never noticed them before.

This has happened to me since I began writing The Manifesto. I notice the fascinating articles my friends post on social media about mindfulness and love and self-acceptance. I notice the new and old magazines and sites that cover these topics. I cannot open my computer without coming across several articles I want to read because they are talking about things that matter to me, reassuring me in myriad ways that I am allowed to want, to suspend my constant self-judgment, to love, to be the strange and magical creature I am.

Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by all these voices chorusing their wisdom, their suggestions and advice. I wonder whether my voice is a relevant or necessary addition to the choir. I begin to feel guilty for not reading and sharing all the wonderful articles and images I come across. And then a quotation makes me tear up, or I am reminded to take a few deep breaths, or a video of birds flying pulls my mind into the sky. And I realize: I need to be reminded. We all need to be reminded. Peace and joy and love and presence aren’t gifts you open with one effort and then have forever. They are goals. They are life. The effort to become who you are is ongoing. It’s complex and difficult and wonderful.

So I’ll continue to listen. To notice the things in the world that resonate for me, all that wisdom out there that people are shouting from the rooftops and whispering from their beds. To remind myself a thousand times not to judge myself for not getting it right all the time. To meet the wonder and sadness of the holiday season with an open heart. To open each gift of words and wisdom, love and acceptance, shared pain and loss, again and again, all those beautiful words ringing through my heart like bells.