Goodbye 2011. Don’t let the door hit you on the butt on your way out.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you; for many of us 2011 was a really hard year.  Now we are all supposed to die in 2012.  Of course we are! Just in time for my book to be published.In my own family the year ended when I walked into the kitchen to discover that my teenage son had shaved his head. Right? He looked like an alien.  The good news was that when you have had two deaths in the family, an audit by the I.R.S., employment issues and a parent with cancer, this looked pretty tame.  So I turned on my heels and went to yoga.Here's my theory on suffering: I believe the Divine created humans with the capacity to suffer because we were supposed to learn from it and become better, wiser and stronger.  Unfortunately, the Divine didn’t realize we were such slow learners (or as my son would say, dumbasses). But this is the point: as much as the Universe sent our way, it was also a huge year, at least for me. HUGE. Because the more life conspired to pull me away from the priorities in my life, the more I became determined to succeed.  I became relentless. Even if it meant I was working at 4 a.m., or missing a soccer game, or yoga, or another day without a hot meal for my family. I finished my book and sometimes got the laundry done. Hallelujah.I also learned in the midst of so much sadness that happiness is not a given. Happiness, like yoga, is a practice. The harder life gets, the harder we have to work at cultivating the good in our life.  Grace may be all around us, but sometimes it’s hard to see.In the midst of the sadness and chaos of 2011, I also discovered what was important, my dharma or my ultimate duty.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t yoga, or becoming certified in Anusara, or even getting published.  My dharma was about my family. My dharma at this moment is not to save the world one yogi at a time, but to find one bald teenager and see what’s up. Because when we do not do our dharma, then we are not living fully.  It is why the hardest head-up-your-asana poses exist in yoga; they try to pull us out of alignment, but in response we need to work harder to maintain integrity – our truth -- in the pose.   It is the same with the hardest years; they exist to make us more determined to succeed.  And so, out of the one of the most difficult years of my life, comes one of the most beautiful realizations that for now, less is more, and I am working hard to stay happy.I just hope I get to live a little longer to enjoy it.Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse.  She’s the author of “Finding More on the Mat,” a yoga memoir available in January from