How about this year of 2017? In a word ~ wow! I found this past year to be one of extremes filled with a big dose of the unexpected, and thankfully, lots of sprinkles of compassion, connection and clarity to ease the journey.
Sometimes, I felt like I was taking two steps forward and one step back. Wait a minute, most years feel like that for me! I have come to realize that is often the nature of my personal growth process.
Riding the Roller Coaster
There were lots of highs and lows this year. I started the year in a slump; one of the biggest ones I have experienced in awhile. You know, the “I don’t feel like doing one single thing. “Nothing’s got me excited” kind of mood. When I finally hit the wall after weeks of resisting the turmoil that was brewing down deep, I surrendered. I gave myself a few guidelines. I would only do what I really wanted to do. I would express gratitude for the freedom and flexibility to follow my heart. Commitments I had that I didn’t’ feel like doing would be honored and I would honor myself by tuning into how I felt before, during and after the activity. The idea was to get to a decision about continuing with those commitments or not.
This went on for a few weeks. The confusion and indecisiveness was pretty thick at the start. As I practiced my new approach, a sense of clarity began to emerge. In addition to monitoring my energy in certain activities, I also monitored it with certain people. I became ready to let go of what wasn’t working anymore and to refine my focused intention on what held value and meaning for me. Releasing some things and people came easily while other scenarios had several layers to sift through before I knew where I stood. During this time I would imagine myself sitting there in the moment that my fog lifted. I would imagine the relief that would come with that emergence. It helped. And the moment did eventually arrive.
This practice of paying close attention to the energy of my heart’s desires has become more integrated in my life months later. When I am making a decision about doing something or going somewhere ~ no matter how insignificant it might seem, I ask myself, “do you really want to do this?” And then I act accordingly. Most of the time.
It’s not always that clear-cut. I often found myself juggling two options that weren’t ideal. Maybe, you have made a commitment that you just don’t feel like seeing through when the time comes. And yet, it may be more uncomfortable to cancel and face all the potential repercussions. You can support yourself and make a choice ~ re-establishing your sense of personal power ~ and then also remind yourself that you can take more time to think and feel things through before you commit the next time.
This practice takes the pressure off.
Opportunities to Serve
I have often fallen into the trap of thinking that my opportunities to serve are directly connected to my career. Maybe, you relate. I certainly had beautiful opportunities this year to connect with amazing people and share the message of Conscious Service. Writing became a big part of how I not only listened to and nurtured my own feelings, but also how I expressed myself in the world.
The most profound opportunity to serve, however, presented itself in my personal life. And you know, perhaps, it always has. We tend not to think in terms of “service” when it comes to our personal relationships. This year, I began to shift my perspective and came to the belief that our personal relationships might be the most significant connections through which we serve each other. And often present the greatest challenge for us to rise to the occasion.
Maybe, it has something to do with the intimacy level and potential for vulnerability we often experience in our close connections. I wonder if it is connected to our shared history and the baggage we might still need to release.
Either way, as I recognized the opportunities before me to serve my loved ones this year ~ whether I accepted them or not ~ my perspective of service expanded once again.
Honoring the Experience
As the year comes to a close, I have decided to honor 2017 for all it has offered me ~ the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am grateful that I have survived and in some moments, even thrived in the midst of it all.
As you move into a new year, pay tribute to your own growth so far. Take a moment to sit deeply in the richness of your life. It belongs to you. It is here for you. If you are still here, you have made it through any difficulty. Sit with that realization that you may be stronger than you ever believed you were. And you may not have known that had it not been for the challenges you lived through. You have had moments of joy and celebration. Even if you have to dig deep, you know that this is true. Feel that. Honor it. Celebrate yourself. You are your own greatest gift.
On the next episode of Serving Consciously, I will explore this theme more deeply. Instead of saying “Good riddance! I can’t wait for this year to be over!” we’ll consider an alternative approach ~ one that allows us to integrate it all ~ and move away from defining it as “good, bad or ugly.” Let’s take a moment to align within and move into 2018 with a deep sense of integrity and personal power.
Tune in on Friday December 22, 2017 at 12pm PST at www.ctrnetwork.com to join me. I invite you to share all that you have learned in 2017.
Let’s get started!
What rituals do you engage in to honor yourself and your life as the year comes to a close?