Unraveling an unforgettable year and saying a big thank you 2017...
It is easy to become overwhelmed at this time of year - all the 'new year. new you' messages, the pressure of fresh starts and making big plans for 2018 - however more often than not, after the chaos of Christmas, the energy simply isn't really there or in the right place to start thinking about all that you want to achieve.
For me it feels like a reflective time rather than a planning time. A time to ponder over all the wonderful gifts that 2017 has given me. And by gifts - I don't mean the kinds wrapped in bows with glitter on... I mean lessons, learnings and discoveries I have made about myself.
Fill yourself up on gratitude
I began my reflective process on Boxing Day by spending some time journaling all the things that I was grateful for from 2017. There was pages and pages of things that I could appreciate. Experiences, opportunities, magical moments, new connections - but I allowed myself to also spend time looking at the hard parts of the year and the things that those had taught me.
It is easy to feel good when lovely, happy things are happening. But it is more difficult to reflect on the things that were painful or difficult to swallow - yet these are where the diamonds are hidden. That is what 2017 has taught me.
What did the experiences you go through show you about yourself? What did you find out you were capable of when sh*t goes wrong? What parts of yourself did you unveil - even if they are not the most desirable of ones?
I discovered strength, courage, resilience, determination. I experienced anxiety, fear, self hatred, confusion, overwhelm. I grew, evolved, changed, unleashed and unraveled parts of myself I love and dislike.
I began a process of healing myself emotionally - in ways that I had been too scared to even contemplate before.
I wouldn't change a thing. Not one tear. Not one raised voice. Not one angry outburst. Not one feeling of being lost.
None. Of. It.
Because it has lead me to this place. This part of me where I can disclose more of my true essence to you than I ever have done before.
Unveiling my truth
I realised that I am no longer prepared to hide my truth from myself, or from you. I don't need to feel shame for all the aspects of myself - even the bits that society has told me I shouldn't show you. I have always been open of course, none of what I have shared has been lies - but it hasn't been my whole truth, it has been a carefully curated version of it. Until recently anyway.
After gratitude journaling, I downloaded Susannah Conway's Unravel your 2017 workbook to give me some inspirational questions to delve deeper into. I highly recommend doing it yourself if you haven't already. She is a truly beautiful soul and she has gifted this workbook every year for the past nine years!
One of the questions she asked was, if you could write a film title about your 2017, what would it be?
This is what came up...
True Grace: The turbulent journey of unraveling a girl's emotional wounds as she steps forward into womanhood with grace.
Pretty potent right? I am not sure it will be screening anytime soon but it pretty much sums up my year.
Of course on the outside, you wouldn't necessarily know the extent of my emotional healing process - because... well in the wise words of Danielle LaPorte... you don't share when you are IN IT.
You don't rip the plaster off while the wound is still healing and prod it do you? You let the plaster stay on and allow the healing to go on underneath it until it is ready to be ripped off and aired.
This particular plaster is ready to come off.
Understanding my boundaries.
I went in to 2017 with a word on my mind... BOUNDARIES. And it took me all year to really understand what that meant for me.
It was partly about creating boundaries that nurtured me. Self care, working out what times I was energised and when I needed to rest, saying no to things that didn't light me up. But it only just dawned on me that this year was less about constricting myself, and more about stretching the boundaries.
The safe boundaries I had put in place for myself were no longer serving me. It was time to bust this caterpillar out of her chrysalis and prepare to fly high as a beautiful butterfly.
In my true expression. No more hiding. Fully in my truth.
Extending beyond the boundaries. Expansion. Growth. Evolution. I asked for this exactly and yet I didn't even realise I had received it fully until now.
Wild. Unrestrained. Unleashed.
These were words I wrote in a journal a while ago. They are what I crave. All the time I thought I was supposed to be constrained to boundaries and it was actually about breaking them.
And that is an ah-ha moment right there.
I don't know exactly what that looks like. I can't plan for that version of myself. I have to relinquish control - which is the hardest thing for me to do as a perfectionist and someone who has planned every inch of their life - but I am DONE with trying to force, push and manipulate situations. It is a waste of my energy.
Yes I can make choices, have intentions and visions, I can wish, I can dream and I can take inspired actions which feel aligned with those choices. But plans... structure... control... rigidity... that is something I am leaving behind in 2017. Because it genuinely doesn't serve me anymore.
Easing into grace.
The word that I have chosen (or that has chosen me) for 2018 is GRACE.
Grace to me feels strong and powerful, yet trusting and in flow.
I desire to embody graceFULLNESS.
When anxiety strikes, when worries occur, when challenges arise... I intend to bring myself back to moving, trusting and peacefully flowing from a place of grace instead of the need to control or fear.
I have no doubt that I will slip up, that I will forget, I will lose myself. I will raise my voice. I will overreact. I will be sharp tongued. I will be unkind. I forgive myself for these traits - I have no shame around these darker parts of myself any more.
What feels right for you?
By all means make big plans, set goals, create resolutions if that aligns with you. But if that feels sticky and uninspiring try a few of these...
- Create a gratitude list for all that 2017 gifted to you - the light and the dark moments.
- Choose a selection of words you want to carry forward to guide you in 2018.
- Let one word choose you that will anchor you back to yourself when needed.
- Decide what worked well for you in 2017 and what didn't. Choose to take with you what worked and release what didn't.
- Make a creative vision board for 2018 of all the things you want to feel/see/experience (join me on my Creative Journal workshop if you feel called to!)
- Ask yourself what feelings you crave moving forwards, and how you could possibly incorporate more of those.
Or of course... simply let the new year arrive and see what unfolds.
PS... If you are reading this and January 1st has already happened - don't panic - there is no Cinderella moment at midnight that means you can't do all of these things and enjoy the unraveling process at any time.