“New Year, New You…that is the marketing slogan that is used for this time of year,” my publisher informed me when they told me that my book was being released on January 4 and that the book was going to be part of that movement. New Year, New You. Okay.

To be honest, everything seems a bit surreal to me right now. It’s raining and cold in Los Angeles, and my book comes out tomorrow. It’s one of those times when you’ve worked so hard to get to the finish line that you look up and all of sudden, you’re there. You know that feeling? It’s sort of this slow motion, everything goes silent and still in the midst of the chaos, in a Chariots of Fire sort of way. I got back from the holidays and my shelf-ready books were waiting for me here. I started crying when I saw them. I’ve already done a few interviews that will hit this week and have many more lined up. Yes, it’s all becoming a reality that the book is finding its way into the world but I haven’t really caught up with it yet. I’m sure on Tuesday all of sudden all the noise and chaos will come right back on and I’ll be in step with it, but now I almost feel like an observer as it fast approaches.

A lot of the interviewers I’ve spoken with so far have asked me about what I’ve learned from Epiphany and these stories I’ve collected. After much thought, I realize that that is a very complex answer. It is layered and deepens, widens, changes and expands all the time. It’s almost way too much to go into in any real depth in a short interview. I’ll be interested to get feedback from others about what they’ve learned and their experience with Epiphany. I already have received some, and it’s fascinating and wonderful. But what will really be interesting is when people have time to sit with them a while and are revisiting them. Will people find them as multi-layered and rich as I have? Will they find things in them that I haven’t even discovered yet? I’ve already spoken to a few people who have brought up points that I hadn’t really focused on and it’s really exciting to discuss and learn even more from their insights.

The short answer of what I have learned from this project thus far is: I have learned a lot about forgiveness; about healing – physically, mentally and spiritually; about generosity and love; and about how important and necessary healthy self-love, self-compassion and belief in yourself are. I have learned how important it is to take action in life and to listen more closely to others and what is going on around me and to my own inner voice. I now make a conscious effort to always try to identify and face my fears and educate myself about anything that bothers me that I am unsure about, knowing I have a tendency to ignore what scares me or what might really be going on deep underneath it all and let it paralyze me from taking action. I have learned that the most extraordinary person is also ordinary and the most ordinary person among us is extraordinary – we are all both ordinary and extraordinary – every one of us – with enormous potential to make changes in our lives and help each other and the world out tremendously. I believe now that we all have important stories to tell and wisdom to share. And, most importantly, this project has renewed my faith in the human condition and our state of affairs and has given me a lot more hope and true faith in the positive aspects of life more so than the negative.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t really my thing. I usually reflect over the past year – over my journals and letters and calendar and look over what I felt, what I did, what happened, the events, the places, the people, what I accomplished, etc. And when I reflected this year, I had to smile because that whole slogan, “New Year, New You” fits. Not because I am going to set out to be a “new me” this year, but because over 2010, on accident really, I became a “new me,” or not even new but definitely changed and it was because of working with this project. So I’ve decided, during the beginning of this year, I am going to begin re-reading my book, story by story, just as I worked on them and see how they affect me now – see what I am getting from them at this juncture of my life. If you’re like me and don’t like setting resolutions and you’re going to get this book, what I’ve been suggesting is maybe reading one or two stories a day for approximately the first 2 months of the year. (There are 58 stories.) I don’t know, maybe you’ll get mini-epiphanies like I have and have an “Enhanced You,” (rather than “New You”) by the end of it, too. (And of course, I’d love to hear about your experiences if you’re so inclined to share, please!)

None of us ever knows exactly what is going to happen to us, and as we enter this new year, I find myself in one of those particularly “I have no idea what is about to happen” times, on a precipice, about to embark on a whole new journey of putting this book out in the world as a first-time author with no idea what it will be like or what is next for me…but it’s a whole new world that is exciting, scary, fun and demanding all at once, complete with a huge learning curve — what more could a girl ask for as she enters a new year?

I wish you all a wonderful new year – may it be a year for you and yours of joy, prosperity, fulfillment, good health and countless, amazing epiphanies!

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