I have been somewhat apprehensive about sitting down to write my reflection on 2017. It has been a huge year in so many regards. There have been some very big shifts, both literally and on the internal (yes a little woo-woo) side. It’s been frustrating, its been rewarding, it’s been challenging and it’s 100% brought me to a better place.
When I sat down I wasn’t sure how to approach the year. When this happens I just begin writing and see where it takes me. Reading back over it, it was pretty clear that I had written about the lessons I have taken from the year. So here you will find the lessons I have taken from 2017.
External v Internal
I started the year like a do each year. Full of hope and wonder at what it will bring. I set my goals, life and professional, and then moved towards making them happen. Looking back on this it is very clear that process, rational and tangible aspects of my life I am great at. Those professional goals I found easy to accomplish. They were full of very targeted practical steps I could take to get me to my end goal. The life ones. Well they are a different story. They were more about doing the internal work. Getting out of my own way and changing limiting thoughts I have held onto for a very long time. I wrote down the steps I would need to do but as they weren’t super practical they often were pushed aside for the more tangible steps of my professional goals. I still made progress towards reaching those internal goals, but needless to say they are back on my goal list for 2018 so I can well and truly be satisfied that I have done enough to tick them off.
This is a constant source of frustration for me. Having goals that require me to do work on myself or that need to be reflected in others. I know what I am capable of, I know where I need to get to, where I want to get to and yet there is still these blocks inside me that don’t let me move forward. A reoccurring phrase that I wrote in my diary this year was ‘I feel like I am standing on the edge of something wonderful but just can’t quite leap into it.’ This feeling is still very much with me. It’s both incredibly annoying but such a wonderful, hopeful feeling. I feel like I am truly capable of something amazing but what that is and how to get there has alluded me all year.
That internal work, whilst many would find it a little woo-woo has helped me so much. I have always lived a lot in my head. Constantly thinking about everything from all angles then rethinking it. I would get stuck in moments for weeks, thoughts would last hours, replaying over and over. The ability to separate what was happening to me and around me was a foreign concept. So many things have helped me be able to recognise that events, thoughts, feelings don’t define me, they don’t stick with me (as long) and I certainly do not let them pull me into the depths of despair for days and weeks on end like they used to. I have the ability to be able to feel, recognise and process the feelings, the emotions, rationalise the thoughts and let them go. And it’s all from the internal work. It’s the journaling, the mediation, the moon rituals, the energetic healings, yoga, podcasts, books and heart-felt conversations with some very special friends. I had to deal with some pretty big personal news at the end of 2018 which previously would have had me down for months. I spent less than 24hrs in the why me, woe is me spiral. Whilst I’m not ready to talk more on this, as I am still working through exactly what it means for me, I will definitely share more later in the year. The internal work made the passing of my Nannie Mar not a sad event for me. When I think of her I can honestly feel her with me, in me. Previously I would not have been able to recognise or tap into that feeling, it’s so wonderful to feel so connected. The external work is easier for me, but the internal work has been so much more rewarding.
I have spent yet another year of being alone. And as I write this I can also see potentially why this is the case. The lessons in this area have come in thick and fast. I so long for the love of someone. It has been a lifetime of searching for that one person who would love me for me. Previously in relationships I have been lost in what I thought the guy wanted me to be. At the beginning of the year, I was again faced with this. I choose to protect me, I was vulnerable and asked for what I needed (you can read about that here) and he couldn’t give it to me. At the time I believed this was not a happy ending. But it totally was. The power of choosing me was absolutely a happy ending.
There is a recurring theme that plays in my head that I’m not good enough for someone to choose to be with, to marry. And this has been reinforced many times over the past year with guys I have dated having been married and then not being ready for anything serious. This lesson started at the beginning of the year and continued up to recently. It took me all year and the help of my beautiful friend over a Christmas catch up to actually understand and realise the lesson. I am still so caught up in that story of not being good enough I am being sent people to reinforce that. Now, more than most, I totally understand how hard it is to change the talk of that negative bit@h in my head. Mine is loud, determined and relentless. But quieten her down I must. I have come to love myself more over this past year and will continue to strengthen that, helping to combat her relentless tirade. It’s also about better appreciating and redefining what love and belonging means to me. About finding ways to find that love and belonging in all areas of my life, internally and from those around me.
Old habits die hard
Want something done, ask a busy person. I feel like a do this to myself. No, let me rephrase that. I know I do this to myself. The busier I am the more productive I feel, like I’m moving forward, like I’m winning at life. So I constantly put more and more things onto myself… Seriously, talk about never learning… If you’ve read the about page over on The Nourishing Way, you will see that this has been the way I have lived for so long. I will change things in my life to make more space when I feel like I am living with too many tabs open in my poor brain. I take the moment to breath, then I fill it back up again. (face palm) I’m not sure I know how to do space. It creates a level of discomfort (see the stress paragraph below), bordering on panic, when I can see myself heading towards an idle life. The semester was heading towards ending. After spending the past 4 years of my life working 45-60hrs per week, then transitioning to uni I already had a level of ‘free time’ in my life. The possibility of not having uni to take up my time seriously left me a little concerned. What would I do? I had planned to do a couple of online subjects but this was not enough. So I took on (another) casual job. And what happened… no time for me, sleep disturbances, uni slipped, developing content for The Nourishing Way was non-existent and those self-care things I love like workouts, writing, journaling took a back seat. 2018 will be the year of saying no. The year of space and discomfort…. I bought myself a Wonder Woman mug to help remind myself that I am not Super Woman, indestructible, but the kinder, gentler (and just as kick arse) Wonder Woman.
I think I love this lesson the best. For me stress was always about too much to do and not enough time to do it. 100’s of tabs open in my head. Not knowing which task to do next and constantly worrying about letting down those around me. It would make me angry when cars were driving slow in front of me and I needed to get somewhere. I would complain that people expected me to add even more things to my to-do list yet take them on and a load more. I identified that this was causing me angst. I made changes to reduce some of this stress late in 2016 and spent the first half of 2017 in a great spot. I also learnt what to care about and what wasn’t my load to carry but I could help support people through. It was such a wonderful place to be. I had great routines that allowed me to get work finished, show up for others and still find time for me. In July I left my job and started uni. I left behind the long hours and the stressors (targets, deadlines, people management, expectations, the normal stuff) that came with job. I was following my bliss into a world of increased free time and learning what I am incredibly passionate about. My gut troubles are well known, something I have been battling with for a few years now, but had started to get on top of. Then bam! Symptoms were back with vengeance. Bloating, cramping, pain – oh the pain and then my period stopped (again something I have battled with). Between my nutritionist and myself we could not work out what was going on. It didn’t make sense. Nothing I was eating had changed.
So we spoke about stress… Each week, generally on a Sunday I would sit down and plan out the week ahead, what workouts I was doing, what I had on, I’d set myself up. I did this the Sunday before uni began. I was totally thrown off. I didn’t know how to tackle it. With 8am starts I had to be on the train at 6am, there goes my morning gym routine… When I get home the gym is packed… Honestly it through me into a tail spin and I felt so uneasy for a good 3-4 weeks. Hello stress… The change of routine was enough to cause a level of discomfort that made me feel stress. As I settled into my new normal, the symptoms began to get worse. Hang on, I didn’t feel at all stressed anymore. In fact life felt great, but my tummy did not and my period was still not coming. Now having a period is like the biggest hello for me that something in my body is stressed. Your body will not let you bring a child into the world if it thinks it’s not safe. I knew there must have been something going on that was causing this.
It took one of my regular trips to the Chiro to work it out. Being holistic we always have a general chat about what is happening health wise (as so much of this is reflected in how our spines present). I mentioned what was happening and she asked me about exercise and sitting… Light bulb moment… Sitting. I was sitting for long periods of time, which I never did in my previous job. Changing the way and for how long I sat instantly made an impact in how I was feeling and those symptoms went away. It was a massive lesson in stress, the causes of stress and the impact it has on our bodies.
And so ends my biggest lessons from 2017. And before I wrap I want to share with you a handful of special moments (there was so much goodness!). Each year I have a jar beside my bed and every time something significant happens I write it down and place it in there to look back on at the end of the year. It’s a great practice that I totally encourage you all to do. Remember though significant doesn’t have to be big things, it’s the things that matter most to you. My jar is always stuffed full!
- Jan 20th: Went ice-skating. This was on a date, so needed to but aside my fear of skating and looking stupid and just go and have fun: felt amazing.
- February 19th: The day I truly vulnerable and asked for what I needed.
- March 17th: Qualified as a Health and Nutrition Coach.
- May 3rd: My first recipe posted to an external site
- May 7th: Morning Bloody Mary’s with Paul
- June 23rd: Resigned. Oh the emotions that went with that one. Huge step onto a new path. Read about that here
- July 6th: Deleted dating apps from my phone, too much time and energy wasted
- July 7th: Job interview with Holistic Endurance
- September 5th: My birthday (and an almost full moon!)
- September 13th: Met Asher (my niece)
- September 24th: Formal dress shopping with Whitney (my niece)
- October 25th: Went rock climbing (indoor) for the first time
- November 23rd: Christmas catch up with my girls
- November 26th: First half marathon
- December 12th: Getting results from uni
Looking back I don’t even know why I was apprehensive to write that. I had a wonderful year of learning and growth. And as I finish I am filled with happiness, joy, excitement and courage for what this year will hold.