My family surprised my sister by hiring a henna artist for her wedding shower.
Henna, or mehndi, has been used for thousands of years in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia to decorate the body (namely the hands and feet) for religious and social celebrations. Since the late Bronze Age, wedding parties have applied henna to the hands and feet of a bride to be, as well as the groom and other members of the wedding party, as a symbol of luck, joy and beauty.
Henna became popular in Western cultures in the 1990s, with an insurgence of henna artists at fairs and festivals, all natural henna hair dye, and the availability of henna paste for retail purchase. But the traditions around henna, where it came from, are just as beautiful. To learn more, visit New World Encyclopedia’s article on Mehndi. If you’re local, you can contact The Henna Highway to hire Krysten, the henna artist who did the henna for my sister’s shower.
Things that made me happy last year:
- Traveling to Iceland (March 2013).
- Taking Anatomy & Physiology I (a prerequisite for nursing school, which I will be applying for in Spring 2014).
- Exercise: walking the dog, barefoot running, even the 30 Day Shred.
- Spending time in nature: hiking on Mt. Rainier, playing by the ocean, sailing with friends, communing with the trees in the Olympic National Park.
- Spending time with people: my family, my friends (both in and out of Seattle)…people. I’ve really enjoyed people.
Things that made me better (but not necessarily happy) last year:
- Being forced to re-identify who I am after losing jobs, friends and other Big Important Things.
- Struggling to pay my bills.
- Having no idea what people actually think of me.
- Having no choice but to let things go.
Based on the above…
My resolutions for 2014:
- Find a way to meaningfully, regularly connect with nature.
- Schedule movement into my daily life (or close to it).
- Travel somewhere I haven’t explored outside the state of Washington. Even if it’s Oregon, even if it’s only for a couple of days.
- For all of the above: invite people.
- Spend way too much time studying the human body, because it is wonderful. Embrace my inner science geek. Tell everyone about it until their eyes glaze over.
- Bring mindfulness and self-exploration into my daily life; give credence to my emotions and consider the real possibility of acting on even the most surprising, strange and counter-intuitive desires. (But think about the consequences first, okay Jennifer? Okay.)