Reflections on 2017
Many of us are turning inward at this time of year to mentally review -- in our memories, and perhaps in our notebooks, both physical and digital, what the closing year was all about. Some may attribute a single noun or verb to describe it or give it a simple 'good' or 'bad' verdict. Others are going deep. They take several days off to retreat to a quiet place far away from their daily lives to reflect and plan for the next 12 months.
I'm not in a cabin in the woods or a cabana by the ocean. I'm in my sacred space - my home. And this serves me well because creating this space, while also physically building the house itself, has been a focus for over two years. Completing construction marked a huge milestone. Now my friends and family aren't asking me, "How much longer do you have?", which had almost become a running joke as the months bore on. They are asking me, "How does it feel to have it done?"
It feels fantastic. It feels like completion. It feels like home.
REconnecting with myself
The year 2017 was a year of beginnings and of completion. Of surrender and strength. Of discovery and release. Of loss and realization. You could say that this year taught me to appreciate duality and paradox.
In 2017, I found faith and I found the Divine. I found my center and I found my Soul.
This year I learned to trust a force greater than myself. I learned to willingly surrender and to go with the flow of the Universe. I learned that as much as my ego wants to be in control, its motives are fear-based and it creates limiting thoughts, beliefs and patterns that manifest in my outer life as uncomfortable, unfulfilling and incomplete experiences. Emptiness. Suffering, plain and simple.
FEAR VERSUS LOVE
We have a choice -- always -- to live from fear or from love. This is a profoundly important concept with major repercussions in our physical reality and our experience of life. The irony is that learning to come from love requires a level of trust in forces unseen, in the depths of our being and the limitlessness of the Universe that we are not mentally prepared for.
Intellectual understanding won't cut it anymore. We need to go inside of ourselves. We need to reconnect with our intuition. And no matter what we each choose to call it, we need to reconnect with our Soul.
Thematically, energetically, spiritually and fatefully, we are being called inward. The words self-development and self-realization are manifesting in everyone as a need to understand, a desire to expand and an important search for meaning. The bonds of a society built on fear and control are being broken. We are breaking them. We are looking for bigger answers and the only place we will find them is within ourselves.
We've been conditioned to seek answers from outside of ourselves, which guarantees that we are not going to find what we seek. I'll be writing about this a lot more in 2018 because I firmly believe that we are all seeking greater meaning in our lives, and about our lives. We just need a little help getting on the right path and seeing where we unconsciously put on our blinders. We too easily allow ourselves to numb out our strongest signals -- our emotions, and try to fill the emptiness with busyness, food, stimulants, drugs, alcohol, shopping, worry, illness, exercise, etc.
We each have multiple and preferred ways of disconnecting. I've identified mine and I keep finding them! They are insidious, sneaky and they collaborate with the ego, the inner critic and the Should's like a little tribe of villains. Seriously, I can only look at this with humor and emotional detachment because I choose not to give power to negativity.
I choose to raise my vibration and to surround myself with people, beings, experiences and events that also keep my vibration high. There is not enough time in my day or my life to wallow in low energetic vibrations.
I choose to stay conscious and aware of the ways that old patterns and limiting beliefs try to 'put me in my place' and to strengthen my spiritual practice and my connection to my Soul.
I choose to ground myself in feelings of gratitude and love and to create new neural pathways as well as mental, emotional and physical habits that anchor a more positive experience of life.
I choose gratitude for the incredible abundance of blessings in my life, and acceptance of what feels right instead of what my ego thinks I should have, do or be in order to keep up with false pretenses of success and happiness.
The intensity of gratitude I now feel continues to surprise me. I used to be skeptical of gratitude and of intentionally feeling good. I would scrutinize good things in my life, looking for the 'catch' or the trick that was about to be played on me. In an oddly twisted way, I did not believe I deserved to be happy or to receive deep and healing love. I also did not believe I could honor my real desires, hopes and dreams.
I am grateful for everything that shaped the year 2017 - whether categorically good or bad, because the lessons and growth are equally powerful. This year I faced some personal truths that carried heavy energetic stigma for years. I came face-to-face with the ways I undermined my true self and pushed away my authenticity in order to be a more pleasing version of 'me' for everyone else. I had to let go of chasing definitions of wealth and health that did not align with my highest good.
For too many years, I motivated by all kinds of external triggers and stimuli, and I was also deeply affected by limiting, destructive, beliefs. On the outside, with some good wordsmithing and nice looking photographs, I could make it seem like my life was ‘just so’, and on-track exactly as I wanted it to be. That I was succeeding and nothing could stand in my way.
As someone who understands brand, media and marketing, I know better. I know about perception, and creating impressions. On the inside, my world was a different story. I was constantly unhappy, feeling unworthy of anything, never quite good enough for what I was projecting, not having enough of what I thought I should, feeling entitled to ‘more’, judging and criticizing everything about myself, and wondering when I would ‘make it’ or ‘have enough’ so that I could, finally, rest.
The power of words, and the real impact they have on everything from understanding to execution, means that they hold the key to use them for our own highest and best good. As I began to reconnect to words and writing, I also reconnected to deep emotions and woke up to profound, new levels of self-confidence, self-realization, self-love, and self-compassion.
My reflections are ongoing. There is still so much about myself and about creating the life that is the best possible life I can imagine for myself. Coming from the teachings and realizations of 2017, I am rooted in love and am committed to acting from the heart. I am committed to honoring myself and to simply being and experiencing life as the gift that it is. One of the biggest lessons of 2017 is knowing that I can always choose my reactions and the cadence of my experience. With dedication and an open heart, I choose to live with purpose, authenticity, and love.