How are you with surprises? I’m not great at spontaneity so don’t usually dig them. According to the dictionary when we are surprised we are suddenly struck with a feeling of wonder or astonishment.  Who doesn’t yearn for a sudden feeling of wonder out of nowhere? Sign me up, I’ll work on my aversion to surprises when you put it that way!

I recently had knock-me-down-with-a-feather type of amazement when I reread my journal from a year ago. I was stunned to realize I had accomplished everything I set out to do.  What!?! How was that possible in 2020?!?I haven’t ‘done’ anything, and yet…many months ago I set out to identify what was most important to me. I wrote it down then forgot about it.  Except I had also written out some steps I needed to take to regain my sense of self. Often change is slow (aka: hard) and sneaky – learning tends to go that way. Looking back allowed me to realize the depth of my growth…without ever leaving my house. I offer my progress to you in hopes you find it interesting or helpful.

The text in bold is from my journal a year ago, the regular type are my thoughts on it now:

What is my responsibility to my own life?

*to live according to my highest standard & potential

Folks tend to fall into two categories: a profound fear of dying or a deep uneasiness they are not livingtheir life fully. I am firmly encamped in the latter group which leaves me constantly questioning most everything I do.

This responsibility has required me to become very clear on what my highest standard is for myself. This kind of realization can take years, or moments, to discern but it needs effort. Your personal standard is what you will and will not accept in yourenvironment, actions & thoughts. I believe this fluctuates throughout our life so don’t lock in Baby, keep questioning.

*to continually be getting better

Some (most) days this is a slippery slope because you never actually FEEL like you’re getting better at something because there is still so far to go.  I believe this is why research tells us to write stuff down. Goals, progress, thoughts, actions…write it all because it may only be in going back over it that you gain the perspective of momentum. Writing it down may also help discern what ‘better’ even means to you.

*to step out of my comfort zone

It seems to be impossible to expand our potential while we are sitting on the couch (aside from meditation which is a whole other gig), we need to stretch whether it be physical, mental or spiritual.

*to not be hard on myself

This takes tremendous effort and intention.  “I shouldn’t be so hard on myself” just doesn’t cut it.  You truly need to OWN your awesomeness.  This isn’t some kind of egotistical, arrogant outlook rather it’s honouring the sacred beauty that is inside you and everyone around you.  Practice. Diligent practice is required. Somewhere this year I read about the power of looking in the mirror and saying your own name out loud. Crazy talk, right?! You give it a solid try and let me know what you think. #powerful

*to be true

What the heck is ‘true’?Sweetie, use whatever word you want- true, real,authentic, having your shit together. I have a personal responsibility to know what is best for me& the same goes for you. I also want to be able to address irritability before it grows into something bigger and live all pillars (body, mind and spirit) most of the time.And finally,it’s about feeling free!My freedom means I’m not shackled to a craving, in my case wine or sugar.

HOW did I make progress in these thingsthat really cannot be measured? The actual action steps may come as a surprise, it did for me. By looking at the year backwards I recognized that doing this stuff allowed me to change my whole life.  On the outside the pandemic was raging & global uncertainty was at an all time high. Yet even during such a challenging time taking the following measures enabled me to slowly change a great deal.

Bold print are the action steps I wrote months ago:

Don’t eat sugar. This may stop my brain from going higgeldy-piggeldy and stay clear and heal my gut and maybe rest.

Dear friend, I have decades of education in nutrition and it took quite a bit for me to finally DO THIS full on.  It has utterly changed my life, everything from hormonal swings to brain fog to energy levels is different. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine so if you want to quit you need a compelling reason to make it stick. I was going for vibrant health and exceptional energy (corny but true!) so ultimately had to do it.

 Exercise must happen.

You must sweat and you must lift heavy things (your own body weight will do) or your health will suffer. There is no wiggle roomfor your Gorgeous Self so quit trying to get out of it.

Get away more frequently.

Space is a form of self love which is magnified if you are an introvert like me. This is the thing that did not happen in 2020.

Refuse to be defensive.

Can you hear me laughing over here? HAHAHA! I have had to work very hard on learning to do this and often still suck at it. But working on it is totally worth the effort. Being defensive will not make the other person change their mind and embrace your actions. It will stop you from hearing what they say, narrow your perspective and turn you into a judge.

When I find my defensive, bitchy self stepping up to the plate I try to breathe first. In, out.  Then again in& out.  I work to give the situation just the tiniest bit of space before I respond.  Letting go of defending your actions is uncertain business – you want to stand up for yourself yet being a reactive, drama queen serves no purpose.  It is entirely possible to wait, breathe&relax into it and THEN stand up for yourself.  There is a difference between flying off the handle and calling your highest self to the situation to present your case.It’s a gamechanger and a work in progress.

Be firm with myself: you are sacred, you ARE awesome.

And so my Dear, are you. Remember that OK?

It’s been a year of surprise and wonderment, most of it very hard. As we move into a new year keep in mind that change is possible, and you can do it.  Thank you for being here with me, please invite your friends.