I remember Austen texting me this photo he took of a snowy evening in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was a student at Indiana University. He later used the photo for a hand-made card he gave me on Christmas day, 2010 or 2011.
As Christmas approaches, I miss his wish lists and links to possible gifts I could get him and those wonderful memories of he and his siblings padding downstairs at 2:00 am in the morning to see what Santa had brought them. Aside from getting gifts, he seemed to appreciate the magic of the season, the magic of the new blowing snow, of the colors in the night, of the feeling of being truly alive.
As 2015 comes to a close, words from Austen to take you through the holidays and into the new year with the force of ‘positivity’:
I am brimming with life, with creativity, spirituality, love and even greatness if I believe. I can change my perceptions. Nobody is going to love you and believe in you before you do. It’s not for anyone else either. It’s not to make someone jealous or outperform your peers. It’s because you know yourself. You know that you are a person who is worth it. … If my internal world is positive, I can go forward without fear. You can’t let your thoughts become so convoluted. This is just a tactic. Let your love out and breathe it back in. Open your heart and your mind to the universe. Stand at the junction of bliss and insanity and be brave.
Austen Berj Brooks, ‘Journey Through Sobriety,’ June 23, 2014.