2017: I Am Here (with love)

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli


Starlings In Winter, by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can't imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.

Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.


Here we are, at the start of another year. I thought Mary Oliver would be a good way to kick us off.

As per always, I’m avoiding resolutions as we head steadfast into 2017.  Last year, I talked about finding a word to guide the year and came up with “Flow” or “Flow-t” for myself.  This year I’m not landing on a word so much as I am an intention. And I think it lives in this:

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”

I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing.

I also recently re-read this from another one of my favorites:

Wild Songs, by Brian Andreas

I wish for you a life

Where your blood sings

With the voice of an eager, wild thing.

 With a voice that says

I am here

 & in this short time,

This is the song I sing

Because I can.


“With a voice that says I am here.”

I am here.

How many New Year’s Eves find us scratching our heads wondering where the heck the year has gone, realizing we’ve been sleepwalking through it- not paying attention… here, but not here.  And how many January 1sts find us shrugging our shoulders and saying “well, I guess I’ll just just go ahead and lose that weight this year because I can’t think of anything else to do.”

The sun came up beautifully on January 1st from the place where I was standing. It struck me as an invitation. An invitation to be here for this year, to be awake, to be alive, to be here.



I’m totally having an Ebenezer Scrooge moment, aren’t I? Throwing open the windows with glee and shouting to all who would hear: “I Haven’t Missed It!!!!!”

But that’s the way I feel. 2017—I haven’t missed it!!  Hot damn, I’ve got plans and intentions for this sucker!

So, you know what? I guess I do have a word for the year after all. It’s love.

Because the best way for me to feel light and frolicsome and beautiful and fearless, the best way for me to sing the song that I can sing, is to accept the sun’s daily invitation to look up, breathe deep, and love the world all over again and all over again and all over again.

It’s 2017. What do you want from it? You have 362 opportunities to look up and accept the sun’s invitation to embrace another day… and find the song that only you are meant to sing.

2017. It’s yours for the taking. What will you do with it?


So speaking of those plans and intentions up there, I have some exciting news! What started as the tiniest seed of an idea more than three years ago is now on the verge of becoming reality. “On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary” is just weeks away from being available for purchase! The interactive journal-version of this weekly blog, On Wings & Whimsy invites you to kick off your year in personal reflection and celebration, and is a gift you deserve to give yourself. Buy one for yourself, buy one for a friend, tell a friend to buy one for themselves, tell them to tell their friends about it too. Let's kick off our year in wings (inspiration) and whimsy (laughter); let's make it a movement even.  Stay tuned!


Wings & Whimsy Challenge: Awaken

Challenge: At this new beginning, this new year, how can you
set intentions for yourself? What do you want to feel when
you arrive at next Dec 31st? What do you want to have said
and done? Tell me about it in the comments below, or tweet it
to me @ErikaPetrelli1


Interested in having Erika’s blog come directly to your e-mail each Tuesday? Have comments to share?  E-mail her at erika@tlpnyc.com.
Find all her previous blog posts at www.tlpnyc.com/author/erika



“2017: I Am Here (with love)”, The Leadership Program, 2017


Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.