The week between Christmas and the New Year always tends to be reflective for me. I generally sit around in my pajamas grading the online section of the winter session class I teach, and smile at the snoozing, snoring dogs and the cats enjoying the mix of catnip and torn wrapping paper that my son created. This year I’ve been granted a beautiful, quiet, fluffy snowfall outside my windows.
In reflecting on the year, I have decided not to focus on the negative, which is always the easiest, but to dig back into the positives, and upon reflection there have been many. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts, and at the end I have a little challenge for you. ☺
1) I became a Certified Holistic Life Coach. Of course, that is what prompted this website and blog, but it was a big accomplishment for me. It took 9 months of online classes, a couple of on site retreats and a whole lot of soul searching with the help of the other students and our illustrious teacher and mentor. The process of the education and the implementation has been life changing for me and hopefully for many clients to come. What is the accomplishment, big or small, that you are most proud of this year?
2) I got to go back to Russia. I was determined to see the students I worked with in 2013 before their graduation in May and somehow, despite not winning a Fulbright, I still got to go. I spent a week in beautiful St. Petersburg, taught yoga to my students, shared meals and watched classes and performances and reconfirmed that the world is indeed a fascinating and ever exciting place filled with marvelous human beings. What experience reaffirmed something you believe in this year?
3) My kids are doing great. I don’t mean to brag, but I am so blessed that my daughter is thriving in college despite health and personal challenges, and my son continues to enjoy all the benefits of small town high school growing up. Feeling very very blessed on this count. What are the blessings in your life you are most grateful for?
4) My marriage is withstanding. After two past marriages that ended rather than endured, I am so pleased that my husband and I continue to battle, in the best of ways, to land on the good side of the statistics. Marriage isn’t easy – but I’ve learned a lot through new friends and old teachings. I am grateful for his tenacity, and my developing patience (I even had "patience" tatooed on my wrist to remind me - no joke). What is a lesson you learned this year that you are nurturing?
5) I still have a job. For those of us who teach in higher ed, it is increasingly a time when we feel attacked, especially in the performing arts. My colleagues and I weathered a strike that was alternately fun and terrifying. For me it felt like the ultimate chance to put my money (or actions) where my mouth was, express gratitude to the union that has supplied me with a good life for over 26 years, and stand up for the principles I believe in. What principles will you use to guide you in the coming year?
6) I fixed my f***ed up relationship with food and my weight/appearance. No longer do I deny myself food I enjoy, nor judge my every reflection in windows, mirrors and photos. No, I’m not skinny but I haven't gained any wieght, and I am letting my hair go silver (or maybe white, we’ll see). I am happy to share the food journey with anyone at another time – and this brings me to my challenge for YOU.
My Life Coach instructor asked our class early last year, “What is the most RADICAL act of SELF ACCEPTANCE that you could do for yourself?”
I immediately had tears in my eyes as she made us voice these to the group.
I said, “To give my self a break, and stop judging myself every time I see a mirror or a window reflection or a photo. To really and truly be okay with my appearance. To use my reflection as a tool to see if my clothes or hair are askew, or if I have something in my teeth rather than to beat myself up.”
And now, months later, I realize there was magic in the saying of those words out loud. I have had more peace with myself than I ever EVER imagined. It’s been amazing. I don’t think I’m any kind of vision, but deep in my heart I am ok with the 55 year-old face and body I see.
So here is my challenge: Say it out loud. Post it here in the comments or say it to me in an email or on my FB page. What is the most RADICAL act of SELF ACCEPTANCE that you could do for yourself? Think BIG. Think IMPOSSIBLE. You might just be surprised.
May the New Year bring you peace, and joy and laughter.
Life coach, yoga teacher, writer, college professor, theatre professional, mom, used to be wife... the order of emphasis changes daily, hourly, and often, moment to moment.