2014 Reflections

As I excitedly expressed gratitude for all the things I learned this past year, a new friend suggested I write about it. I write the following wearing my pajamas with my cat on my lap and dog at my feet with a full heart.

At this time a year ago, I was seriously considering going back to school. I feared how I would pay for it, how I would find the time to do homework, how hard it would be, how much I would have to read. Despite these fears, I registered for classes. I planned to train for a marathon and run 1000 miles as well.

Around the same time, a dear friend from high school suggested getting a group together to talk about our goals and hold each other accountable. It sounded like a smashing idea so I rented the room at Caribou Coffee on Ingersol in Des Moines, IA and sent out an invite. At the first meeting, sharing our stories, I knew it was going to be something WONDERFUL but I had no idea the level of connection that somewhat random group of souls would be able to achieve.

Meanwhile, my heart fell in love with a particularly special, lovely lady with an incredible soul. Our friendship started out somewhat stand offish as we each sniffed each other out, afraid to let anyone in too far. But during a sub zero run one day, we broke through that barrier and an immensely fulfilling connection ensued.

Classes started in February. I began in a project management cohort but after a few boring classes in, the 99U conference in New York and meeting an incredible kindred spirit with extensive project management experience, I realized I didn’t need a college course to teach me project management. I found the guts to pursue my real dream… Behavioral Science.

My Behavioral Science cohort is teaching me about myself, relationships and improving my leadership skills. The first few classes talked about how it’s important to own the ways that being a counselor meets your own needs. The material talked about needing to have a strong value system and not imposing my values on others. It talked about the need for self-care to avoid burnout and I started looking at my life differently.

Despite the joy that training with beloved friends for a marathon was giving me, it was adding more stress than it was relieving. While I was asking my higher power for answers on what to do next sometime in June, an invitation to consult with James Miller at Adamantine yoga showed up in my inbox. I met with James and decided to commit to a yoga practice.

I approached yoga like everything else in my life up until that point, full force, balls to the wall, intensity. James told me to just “show up”. Through my practice, I’m learning to see myself and the world completely differently. I’m releasing and processing years of pent up emotional energy stored in my body. I met myself on my mat. For the first time, I feel like I know who I am and what I’m here to do. It’s incredibly liberating! In addition, my practice has led to some unexpected connections with fellow practitioners who give me insight into different world views.

Sometime in October, I connected with a kindred spirit I’d been trying to get together with for over a year. It was a set of synchronizations that neither us could have planned for. Something bigger than us was at work, no doubt in my mind! She gave me the courage to start a women’s group and lent me the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I read it. That book liberated me even further. It was like it took a sledgehammer to layers and layers of false beliefs that were weighing me down and let my light shine out from the depths of my inner being!

For example, I believed it was dangerous to know too much. I told myself I was not a reader. I told myself I wasn’t smart. I told myself I wasn’t enough and had to be more. I told myself that it was bad to have money so I spent it all. I held myself back in a million different ways…

This month, my husband and I started de-cluttering the house. With each unnecessary thing we take out, I feel a little bit lighter. I’ve always had a problem spending every penny I earned but I can make new choices now. Asking myself “Do you really need that?” wasn’t effective but I learned new questions that are effective for me: “How can you do without that?” and “Does that help get you what you want?”. Similar to weight loss, telling myself that I was too fat to eat that wasn’t nearly as helpful as asking “is it worth it?” and telling myself I’m worth being fit. I’m worth being rich and loved too!

This Christmas is something I feared one year ago. I couldn’t imagine how we would we be able to buy presents if I had to pay for school. Not only are there presents for my family to open later today but we have a new roof, a new sink, a dishwasher, a different car and some new pipes. Part of it was made possible by the lovely folks at Half Price Books who gave us a fair amount for unread books and unplayed CDs that were taking up space in our home. We have enough. Not too much, not too little, just enough. I can take comfort in that and stop worrying. This moment is another reminder that what I’m afraid of isn’t nearly as bad as the fear itself.

My catch phrase from 2014: Let go of expectations but be wide open to endless possibility!

As 2015 approaches, I am looking forward to nurturing the relationships established this year and being open to new ones! I’m ready to learn and take in what life has for me without limiting beliefs holding me back! I have established a set of spiritual practices that keep me centered and on track. I am incredibly grateful for all this year has been!

From my heart to yours

Thanks for reading

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