One of my favourite parts of the year is taking the time to write this post as we get closer to New Year’s Eve; I sit and reflect on what has happened over the course of 12 months… the lessons I’ve learnt, observing the changes in I want for myself, taking note of what I’m grateful for, and so on. It helps me focus on the now and what’s to come. I did this in 2015, 2014 and 2013 – basically since I started travelling.
The end of the year is when we should be reflecting; taking into account the good and the bad so that we never repeat it. Well, hopefully – you catch my drift, right? We break the cycle of habit and mindless ritual of the “year in year out” crap. I can’t stand it when I people tell me that the following year will just be a continuation of the one they’ve just had… What? I’m sorry, what?! WHY ARE YOU LIVING THEN?!
We are here for a blip of a second when it comes to the existence of the universe and you want next year to just be the same? No. I don’t understand. Grab the bull by the horns, dude! Fucking go out and do shit. But first, you gotta know what occurred this year so that you can mindfully fulfil your desires next year.
“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
Margaret J. Wheatley
2016 has been particularly rough for all of us but there has been shining moments of things that could be seen as a silver lining:
This too shall pass – I am a very dramatic person and I tend to get caught up in my inner chaos. A very wise friend once told me something that always helped me keep things in perspective. Pretend you’re having a conversation with your future self. You know, the you that’s got their shit together. That person is gonna tell you that the stuff that you’re freaking out over is so laughably unimportant that in the next 5 years you’re going to realise that you were a dumbass for ever holding onto that hurricane of emotion instead of letting it go.
For every ten people that rejects you, there will be one that cherishes you – You’re going get discarded, kicked down, tossed aside if you will, and you might think that you’ll never make another friend or find love again but I promise you, dear one, that that is not the case. Whoever you are reading this, you are adored by people, probably more than you know. Acknowledge them because fuck those other people. You Are Loved 🙂
Kindness should be paid forward – I did an activity with my students a couple of months ago; a kind of survey/experiment kind of thing where we (myself included) had to think about the last selfless or kind act that we did for someone else; a stranger, a colleague, a family member, even a friend. Majority of my students couldn’t remember a single occasion in the previous 2 or 3 weeks. So I challenged them (their only homework for the week) to do something kind for another person and they came back with their chests puffed out and couldn’t wait to tell me about all their generous deeds. Kindness begets kindness. Those are the things that they’ll remember this year, and so will I…
Your influence is not as small as you assume – We tend to think that how we behave, the things we say, the opinions we share have no real effect on others. How silly we are! Society is built like a hive mind; we feed off each other’s thoughts. It just takes one indiviadual’s voice to make a person go, “hmmm, actually, maybe… huh, well whaddya know!” and just like that, you’ve boosted someone’s confidence, you’ve changed someone’s mind about an important topic, you’ve planted a seed that can grow into an original thought.
It’s OK to say NO – I am a natural people pleaser, I hate disappointing people so I make up excuses or lies, or even worse, going along with whatever it is I don’t want to do. Sometimes it’s vitally important to say yes but my god, occasionally you’ve just got to say no! For the love of sanity and all things good in this world, just say no if you want to!
Your wants and needs are allowed to change; you’re allowed to evolve and change your mind – I was recommended this amazing article to read from the great blog WaitButWhy called The Cook and The Chef (highly recommendable – long but oh so worth it). We are not made of cement, we are living organisms and our brains are constantly evolving with every thought that passes through it; it makes sense that what we want for ourselves can change as our reality change and we gain experience. Give yourself the chance to reassess what it is that you really want for yourself right now – is it the same as what you craved 2 years ago? What is it that wakes you up in the morning now?
Your inner dialogue affects your outer – I started taking meditation more seriously this year and the biggest thing that I noticed was that on days when I took the ten minutes to just be with myself, I became super aware of my thought process – it gave me the opportunity to really talk to myself (not the white noise of the constant brain traffic). You realise that you are not your feelings; they’re just visitors – they come and they go. This kinda set the pace for the rest of my day, it was like a silent peaceful peptalk.
Organisation + Minimalism= Inner Peace – I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in my early twenties; basically things that never come up on your radar, affects me: total body, mind and soul. The only thing that has ever really made me relax was keeping things organised. I’m an incredibly messy person but that’s because energy explodes around me, but in general everything has its place and general cleanliness helps me not think. When you’ve made your bed, you feel a sense of accomplishment before you’ve even started the day. I’ve gone quite minimalistic (some friends would disagree, but hey 🙂 ) over the past few months and getting rid of all that extra stuff you have releases the emotional attachment that you had to it and you find yourself becoming lighter.
Self-care = Self Love – I recently learnt about this coined term; it’s consciously taking the time to listen to what your body and mind need, whether it’s taking an evening to read a good book to pampering yourself (males, you too) to exercising. Self-care is so important because in this day and age, it’s all about the gogogo and nownownow that sometimes we forget that we are only human and need to take a moment to register how often we need to recharge our batteries. It’s not selfish, it’s survival.
“Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it’s about self-preservation.”
– Audrey Lorde
That sums up my year of things to remember going into 2017. I do this because it helps me show gratitude, it shows me how a whole year was full of blessings (some in disguise) and it gives me a moment to think, wow! I went through so much and came out the other side stronger and more awesome! And that’s what I want for you… I wish you all the best for the coming year and I hope you’ll take the time to look back on 2016 and find some good in it so that it’ll light your way forward. #byefelicia