5 tremendous + powerful lessons from 2017

This is been an intense year for me. It’s been a profound year of allowing the entire spectrum of life – no longer cherry picking the good or the bad, but welcoming it all.

On the joyful side: My business has taken off, the impact of my work has reached women in over 50 countries, my spiritual practice continues to deepen, my female friendships are profoundly nourishing, and my relationship with my husband is better than I ever knew possible.

On the sorrowful side: I got pregnant and miscarried in March, put publishing my first book on hold, and recently *almost* lost my home in the Sonoma fires (the fires happened the same month the baby the would have come had I not miscarried – which is crazy). The smoke damage is potent and the rebuild of our home and the community was/continues to be an emotional task.

​​​​​​​So far, 2017 has been a profound year of healing and hope and it’s taught me a few things about life.

Here are the 5 biggest lessons 2017 has brought so far …..


I used to think I needed to be the strong one all the time. I thought that I had to be the one who had it all together, that I didn’t let anything bother me. I mistakenly believed that I could let life roll off of my back without worry or stress or feelings. I would hide the parts of me that felt vulnerable. I would pretend that I was OK even when I wasn’t. I didn’t want to show weakness. I didn’t want to need anyone.

I removed the “strong one” mask many years ago because ultimately it was preventing me from deeply connecting with other people but I got to really practice not being the strong one this year. And Guess what? When I wasn’t always being the strong one, it means I could allow other people into my life to support me.

One of the gifts of going through any challenging time is that we are humbled enough, brought to our knees and get to admit that we can’t do it all alone. The masks we wear and the roles we play are stripped away. We simply become a “normal” human being who needs both to RECEIVE + to GIVE love.

We live in a collective circle and when we show up in this collective circle, sometimes we have more to give and other times we have more to receive.

This is the beauty of humanity – we come into this human circle and on some days we rely on the strength of our brothers and sisters in the circle to fill us up and on other days we come to the circle able to give to our brothers and sisters who need more at that time.

This is the power of challenging times – we are all able to soften enough to let each other in.


​​​​​​​I also used to think that it was only possible to live in one emotion at a time. We call that black-and-white thinking 😉 I thought everything had to either be good or bad, easy or hard. These days I embrace the paradox of life knowing that there’s room for so many different emotions and feelings to be present at the same exact time.

​​​​​​​Both in my miscarriage and in these fires, I was overwhelmed with grief and gratitude at the same time. I was able to grieve and cry and feel all of my feelings, while simultaneously bowing to all of the incredible moments, people, things, and circumstances in my life. It’s not either or. It’s both and more.


​​​​​​​For years I wanted my life to be special. I didn’t want things to be just normal. That felt boring to me. But these days, I find the most beauty in the mundane.

​​​​​​​I’m reminded of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s about a man named George Bailey who is going through a pretty rough time. Towards the beginning of the movie, he’s standing on a snowy bridge contemplating ending his life, wishing he had never been born. By the end of the movie, he has been shown the impact of his life and understands the the preciousness of being alive. There’s that final scene when he runs into his home, kisses his wife, picks up his baby, and blesses his old house – all the things that once frustrated him were now the exact touchstones of what made his life so unique and so fulfilling.

It’s the mundane that makes our lives our own. The preciousness of being alive can along be found in the everyday moments.

​​​​​​​When life is threatened, it reminds us of what really matters. In this way, normalcy becomes a welcomed treasure. Piles of laundry, stacks of mail, endless questions from children, a nagging parent, an imperfect partner… all become a sign that we are vibrantly alive!


​​​​​​​Most women I know are really appreciative for their lives and gratitude comes naturally. But it’s important to remember that, in addition to feeling grateful for life, we must also feel the pain of whatever it is that we are feeling. It can be easy to put a lid on our own experience by telling ourselves that it could always be worse or that we don’t have it that bad. And while, yes, that may be true – it’s vital that you give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling.

​​​​​​​Yes, it could always be worse, but your feelings are a valid and important expression of your healing. So in addition to feeling grateful for what you have, give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling. Feeling is the true key to healing and if we deny our experiences, will never totally heal or learn from the gifts the challenges are here to teach us.


​​​​​​​Everything that happens in your life is a part of the fabric of your life. Look, I totally sometimes wish that I could live a life free from any discomfort, but that’s just not the road we signed up for being humans. We will feel sadness, pain, heartache, and loss. Our hearts will hurt at times. But, our hearts will also burst open with love a million times more than pain if we allow that.

​​​​​​​Eventually, every bit of life – the good, the bad, the joy, and the heartbreak is what creates the story of our lives. We have the privilege of wearing those stories with pride and with honor because they have made us who we are.

​​​​​​​Life isn’t perfect – for any of us. It’s a constant dance in and out of the beauty and chaos that is being alive.

We’re all here to Awaken. To feel it ALL, to open to the gifts of being alive, and the love that is all around us.

​​​​​​​But it’s so hard to do that all alone (remember Lesson #1?) 🙂

​​​​​​​So, if you are ready to feel more alive, more vibrant, more confident, more in love, more at peace, more on purpose, and more held… AWAKEN may be the exact next step on your path.

​​​​​​​Awaken is an 8-week private transformational journey for women who are ready to remember who they and why they’re here.

​​​​​​​It’s me, you and a powerful 8-week journey together – just us.

​​​​​​​If you’re wanting to to show up even when you otherwise may want to quit…

​​​​​​​If you’re desiring to love even stronger and make the most out of this incredible, beautiful ride…

​​​​​​​If you want to finally tune into that wise, warrior woman soul inside of you…

​​​​​​​Apply to work with me privately in Awaken here >>>

​​​​​​​My rates are going up quite significantly for this program coming in 2018, but if you are accepted into the program, sign up and pay in full this year, you can receive 2017 prices even though we don’t start until mid-January.

​​​​​​​Awaken for yourself.

​​​​​​​Awaken for us all.​​​​​​​

I know this may seem like a weird thing to say but the truth is that I wouldn’t change a thing about this year.  

These hard things are now a part of the fabric of my story. They happen FOR me – so that I can keep on growing and learning and being the best possible Julie I can be.

And I want that for you too, love.

With a humble and grateful heart,


​​​​​​​P.s. Awaken begins mid-January….just in time for you to Awaken to your internal power and confidence for the New Year. Applications close next week. Read more + apply here.

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  1. Susan Weber says

    I am trying to access your page for Awaken and am getting a “Sorry, but the page you’re trying to access isn’t available” message. I wanted to let you know you have a broken link and I would like to know how much the program costs. Thank you.

    • Hi Susan! Thanks so much for letting us know about the link. This particular program is no longer being offered as we are always evolving and looking at the ways that we can best serve the women in our community. Our focus has shifted to helping smart, successful women banish burnout, end exhaustion and find fulfillment in their personal and professional life as “burnout” has become an epidemic and we’re here to get you off the hamster wheel and take your life back.

      If you haven’t watched our powerful training yet, you can do so here: https://juliesantiago.com/work-with-us/. We’re looking forward to your Breakthrough Call where we’ll talk to you about what’s going on in your life right now and where you want to be. If we feel that you’re a good fit for the work we do, we’ll share all of the details about the program during your call. Xo, Julie

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