04 Jan A reflection on 6 lessons from 2018
Reflecting back, 2018 was a wild year of vastly different energies woven around me creating a river of life to ride. In so many ways it felt bipolar … the ups were phenomenal that illuminated so much beauty, while the downs had me scraping at the ground like I had just found a new level of rock bottom. While I encountered a plethora of challenges and celebrated successes, there were a few ideas that helped propel me forward.
I am in my third year of using the DragonTree Dream Journal. I love it and each year I get better about using it. At the bottom is a space for you to write down what you’re grateful for. I wasn’t always consistent in writing it down, but I kept the idea in my heart. Each hardship I ran into, I reminded myself that life happens for a reason and to feel grateful for the opportunity to do my life work. I also work near the Denver Mission and as I drive to work each morning, I am reminded of how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and food in my belly. It wasn’t always easy. There were days I forgot, days I would say the words though feel their emptiness, and days where more toxic emotions like resentment and anger took over. And there were days were gratitude flowed openly and freely. I always heard that a gratitude practice is a simple way to improve life satisfaction. After my first year of truly trying to cultivate a gratitude practice, I have realized that gratitude has tremendous benefits on the quality of my energy.
Be a learner
For the last few years I’ve been working with words. Each January, I pick qualities that I want to attract into the year, energies to help color my lens of perspective. One of my words last year was “learn”. I wanted to be a student again, so I became a student of life. I did take a multitude of trainings, earned certifications, attended retreats to look inward and learn more about myself. But overall, I used this as a way to reframe every situation I encountered. I looked at life as an opportunity to learn something new. If something upset me, I asked myself what was it triggering and what does that reveal about me. And while I wasn’t always happy about what I was learning, it made it easier to endure the growing pains. It helped me look at the year as one of transitions and that I was in training for the next phase of my life.
The idea of what it means to be strong and what it means to be weak has been a fluid one for me. Being a bit more on the emotional side, I was often considered weaker since to show emotion was to show weakness. I wondered why emotion was synonymous with weakness since to me emotions are part of the human existence. I experienced a series of events this year where the strength/weakness dynamic was encountered and helped me to define strength and reveal what it means for me to be strong. This exploration happened in dreams, at work, in ceremony, in meditation. It became a mirror, showing me how to step more fully into myself. That’s such a huge aspect of what strength has become to me: being strong is being authentic.
Movement is medicine
I shifted from teaching around 12 classes a week back to a desk for 10 hours a day. My ability to move suddenly became so restrictive. My body mirrored this shift. I became tight, achy, and weak. It’s hard to find time for movement when life demands so much stillness from us. But our bodies are mobile and meant to move. We are in these amazing physical constructs that are living, breathing, conscious and integral to our existence in this dimension, on this planet. Keeping them strong, flexible, healthy, and mobile helps them keep our consciousness strong, flexible, healthy, and mobile. I lost my own personal yoga practice in 2018 and am looking forward to developing that relationship again this year. Recognizing that a little is better than none.
This is a life lesson for me. Intentions take time to manifest. They are an infinitely threaded tapestry that is at times complex and not easily woven together. It takes time for the pieces to come together at just the right moment. This can make transitions a struggle as the growing pains seem unnecessarily challenging. It is the practice of gratitude and having a learning mentality that has started to entrain patience in me. And it is the medicine of movement that allowed me to release the resistance to allow me to surrender to the natural cadence of manifestation.