Posted on January 7th, 2013
How is your New Year coming along? For me, this is a time to reflect on the past year and dream and plan for the year ahead. I’m finding some parts of this process are pouring out of me quickly while others feel like they are not quite ready to come forth (like my word for the year). I’m practicing a lot of patience and deep listening to my inner whispers but don’t let me fool you – I’d prefer to have it all figured out yesterday! As for my year in review, after listing my highlights for the year, I turn to lessons learned. Things I learned (and re-learned) in 2012:
- Speak the truth, especially in personal relationships. For me this is about letting go of qualifying what I have to say, sugar coating the truth, and even leaving important things unsaid. My desire to keep everyone happy and peaceful can interfere with telling the truth, especially about how I’m feeling or what I need. Time and again I’ve seen that this leads to me feeling resentful so I’m learning to simply say what I really mean. This year I focused on letting go of qualifying my decisions with phrases like “I think” and “I might not” and just stated what was true. Along the same line, I also have a pesky tendency to not want to disappoint others, whatever the cost might be for me. (I know I’m not alone on this one!) I’ve become very skilled at noticing this at work and in professional settings but I still tend to fall into it at home with my children. I hear myself saying yes when really I mean no and before long I find myself feeling irritable. So now I’m working on telling my girls no. (It’s still hard for me to even write that sentence – like it makes me some kind of special breed of evil to say no to my children!)
- Savor the everyday miracles. Time goes by so quickly and it is all too easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of day to day life. This year I found simple ways to remind myself to slow down and take in the moment: taking pictures with my iPhone, writing down my daily gratitudes, penning letters to my girls, and creating seasonal photobooks all helped me mark my days and preserve our family memories. I also worked with the phrase “I am awake to the miracles that surround me.” Have you ever taken the time to truly consider the miracle that is your daily life? All that goes into making up one seemingly mundane moment? Once you can breathe in that truth it really changes your perspective.
- Rushing is a state of mind. This became a mantra of mine as I moved through my tightly-scheduled days. A reminder to slow down and take a deep breath; that I wasn’t going to get anywhere any faster by hurrying. The minutes on the clock tick by the same whether we choose to move through our day in a calm, peaceful manner or in a harried frenzy.
- I am responsible for my own state of being (as are you). It’s all too tempting to blame our life circumstances or other people for how we are feeling but truly, and I mean this in the kindest way possible, this is nonsense. And putting the blame outside of ourselves leaves no room for change. When I bring the focus inward there are opportunities for growth and learning and finding new ways of responding. What we tell ourselves is more powerful than any situation. And as most of us are all too familiar with, we can’t change other people, only ourselves.
- No one is perfect and that doesn’t make me a hypocrite. Meaning it’s okay that sometimes I lose my shit. It doesn’t mean that I’m not genuine in my work. It means that my life is my daily practice. And practice is the key word. This has really hit home for me lately as I’ve been struggling with a transition and feeling like such a fake when I hear myself telling some version of lesson #4 to my yoga students or therapy clients. The fact that I’m struggling to practice what I teach in my own home has brought up a lot for me and I’m still working through it. And in the meantime I’m continuing my life’s workalongside it. It’s messy and confusing and hard to describe and one of my intentions for 2013 is to work with this lesson more deeply.
- When it comes to making decisions, I let my intuition rule. This is a big one for me. Most of my life I’ve been a very analytical thinker. An attention to detail and do what makes sense kind of girl. A perpetual pros and cons list maker. I’ve believed that logic and being rational were the highest forms of intelligence. But then something changed. I realized my mind was not always so trustworthy. I caught on that my thoughts and logic sometimes created fear-inducing stories and what-if situations that left me paralyzed. My feelings on the other hand never seemed to lead me astray. Even (especially) when they didn’t make logical sense. So now I trust my gut above all else. I follow my heart and not my head whether I’m deciding what offerings to send out into the world, who to collaborate with, or what to have for breakfast.
- When I really want to do something I can get it done. Unencumbered time has been a rare commodity for me this year but somehow I managed to complete some major projects that have been hanging around for a looong time (hello yoga practice CD – I’m talking about you!). How? I learned that directed focus is powerful stuff. As Leonie says, ride that wild donkey! This was not easy for me as a multi-passionate person who loves to have 17 things in the works at any given time! I stopped writing down my monthly goals and instead started listing my seasonal aspirations. I (mostly) kept one project on my to-do list at a time. Once I realized how effective (and freeing) it can be to focus on one thing at a time, I even (gasp) started reading only one book at a time!
Oh 2012, thank you for the lessons learned! You were rocky and beautiful and productive and frustrating but most of all filled with so much goodness!