It was on this day a couple years ago that after taking the long trek into and out of a courthouse, on what was surely one of the most surreal and saddest days of my life, that I took the long trek up a mountain to release a bouquet of balloons into the skies and say goodbye to Chapter One as I welcomed in Chapter Two.

I was determined to find some resilience and meaning in what was otherwise a painful day and create something of beauty. Even if only for a brief moment.

I remember standing there with the wind whipping through my hair and willing The Universe to take from me that which I no longer needed in order to create space for new.

I truly was the girl standing on the edge of the precipice and allowing myself a metaphorical leap as my balloons slowly drifted up into the sky along with my hopes and dreams and petitions of the heart.

I was surrounded by nothing other than beautiful peaks, the peace of nature, my Bestie who climbed on up with me in order to witness and lend positive loving energy to my tiny little ceremony…and a couple of errant hikers who looked like they were climbing that mountain for the first time ever in there designer yoga pants and Nalgene bottles, but who took a moment from their union with nature to chew me out for killing baby birds with my balloons.

Admittedly, this environmental hazard had never even crossed my mind so I immediately felt the dreaded cloak of shame and guilt dawn as I realized I had just become baby birds everywhere Public Enemy Number One, and the Bestie chose that moment to go all Mama Bear Crazy on the hikers and tell them what the balloon ceremony was all about, that they’d done more harm to the earth driving their gas guzzling SUV on down to the mountain than a few balloons would, and then told them where they could stick THEIR balloons.

Baby birds everywhere- 0.
Chastised yuppie hikers- 0.
Magnificent “this is what besties are for” Bestie- perfect 10.
My heart- obliterated.

A year ago, I sat in the middle of a packed theater watching the movie Brave and crying so hard the people sitting next to me passed me a tissue as I sniffled into my popcorn and explained, “but that little red head girl is just so brave and determined to follow the path of her heart and sometimes Pixar makes me cry haven’t you seen Toy Story and that scene in Finding Nemo where his mama dies?”

I will admit to being surprised at my own reaction since life had taken on a reasonable pace of beautiful and lovely and joyous and my days had become much more about smiling than crying as part of me wanted to shout at myself, “Are you crying? Are you crying?  There’s no crying in baseball!  Or in Brave!  Do you see Princess Meridia crying?!”

But the thing is, brave people cry. And sensitive souls feel it all. We can’t help it. And anniversaries are usually seared into our bodies and minds and will produce involuntary memories and responses that like to sneak up on us and attack when least expected.

These days I try and welcome them in and simply look at them as bits and pieces of a real life scrapbook that honor the warrior’s path I have taken and then lay them to rest so I can keep walking my path, but that’s easier said than done when tears are falling into your popcorn and Princess Meridia is walking down a dark unknown path in the hopes of changing her destiny.

This year brings me to a day with a fairly peaceful heart. I sat out on the warm deck this morning watching the sun play hide and seek with the clouds and thought about that warrior’s path I have taken for the last couple years. And what has occurred to me looking at my life and my path and the steps I have walked in a couple years time, is that I really did go see the right movie last year.

I am very Brave.

And anybody who has ever had a heart’s calling which has plucked them out of the warm safety of one existence and deposited them into the middle of the wilderness will understand exactly what it means to lose your world in order to gain your soul and to answer to something much greater and higher inside than the structures and institutions and boxes we erect here on earth in order to organize our lives.

Some souls require a great deal from the persons who house them. And it takes great, great courage to become.

So on that note, this is a day of celebrating becoming for me. It is a day of celebrating my warrior’s path, of having a brave heart, and finding fearless courage to keep following where my heart leads.

I have a feeling that today will not come with tears as last year did, though one never knows when they might surprise themselves with honest expressions of emotions. But my plans don’t include heart tugging films about free spirited young women.

They include a giant monster of a mountain a few hours drive away and a good friend with which to go climb. And the baby birds of the world can rest easy knowing I will ascend this mountain with nothing more than metaphorical balloons to release into the sky offering freedom and peace and surrender to whatever may come in the year ahead.

My days of being a young sparrows worst nightmare are behind me.

So I throw my climbing shoes in the car, tell Dog we’re going on a road trip, get ready to go scale some mountains, raise my metaphorical balloons up into the air and open my heart up to love.

And I look myself in the eye and say, Congratulations little blonde girl.  You have one very brave heart.