Saturday, January 10, 2015

14 Lessons I Am Taking With Me From 2014

.365 days goes by pretty fast. Those 8,760 hours seem to fly by in a blink of an eye. And yet, when I personally pour myself some bubbly and think about what the year looked like and brought with it, I am amazed at how much fits in. 2014 was about Big Steps & Big Dreams. Engagement, Yoga Teacher Training, India, work promotion, and expanding & deepening my relationships with my tribe. I let go of some people and some commitments that weren't serving me anymore, and ended up doing a major purge of my home office in the last few hours of the year. I stayed healthy and strong, wholehearted and open. Here are my own 14 Lessons I am taking with me from 2014. They are being packed up with care as I know I will count on them for their wisdom and gold in years to come.

1. It really is all about how I want to feel. Period. Ever since diving deep into The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte, I am SUPER DUPER CRYSTAL CLEAR on how I want to feel and that ultimately drives everything else. Feelings are different than emotions. Feelings are the juice, the nectar, the sweet stuff at the center of the truffle. I have embraced the Desire Map practice and it truly drives 99.9% of my choices in my every day life. And...It's a practice. It's not always perfect and it takes work and showing up. That I can definitely get behind. 

2. Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude. This year, I took gratitude to a practice. Brene Brown talks a lot about this in her Guideposts for Wholehearted Living. I started taking 5-10 minutes every night and making a list of what I was grateful for about that day. It has been lovely looking back through the pages and seeing common themes: Skype Technology to connect with loved ones from afar, clean water (that was really huge after traveling to India), comfy clothes, quiet mornings, hugs. Little things that make my own world go round and a joy to live in. 

3. It's In Space That The Light/Truth/Love/Magic Shows Up. One of my biggest takeaways from my trip to India is the need to have more spaciousness in my life. Living in India for three weeks provided me lots of open space to process what I was going through at the time. I was coming off of a brutally busy and crammed couple months. I don't really remember October. Or the couple weeks before I left. I basically was a car on overdrive when I should have been in neutral. My body hurt, I was tight and compressed on my mind and heart. Going to India cracked me wide open and I got to see the other side of having lots of spaciousness to receive the beauty that life truly has to offer. For that lesson, I am forever grateful. 

4. To Practice Is To Live. One of my yoga teachers said to us in teacher training, "How we spend our days is how we live our lives." Our lives truly are a manifestation of our daily habits. When I get on my yoga mat, or my meditation cushion, or breathe deeply at a stop light or tune into my feet as I walk away from a meeting or really hug The Man when I walk in the door, I am practicing. I am practicing living my life from a place of presence. 

5. Keep The Foundation Strong. Keystone habits are truly my own magic key to the kingdom. When I am solid in my morning and evening routines, finding time for self-care and daily movement, fueling my body with good fuel, and getting outside, I am operating at a different vibrational level. Strong foundations keep the beautiful buildings from toppling over.

6. Get Quiet. Most people don't know that I am naturally introverted. I would much rather have dinner & drinks with one of my good friends than attend a dinner party of 20. I naturally gravitate towards activities like yoga, reading, and writing, or going to run on my own. Doing things in groups has always been challenging and 2014 pushed me around that where I got to grow. Amidst all of it though, quiet, reflective time in my days is some integral to how I show up in the world.

7. Know How You Like Your Own Eggs. If you can't ask for what you want, how will you get it? For me, I lived a lot of my life thinking others just magically knew what I wanted. I was convinced that people who loved me could read my mind. I mean, come on...that's what love is, right? Well, pop goes the idealistic balloon! No no no...people can't read my mind. If I want something, I have to make a powerful, clear request. Whether it comes to work, relationships, or time. It takes practice and mindfulness and like anything, gets easier over time. I strongly recommend you start by asking exactly how you want your eggs cooked.

8. Small Actions = Great Love. Not much to expand on here and I do think there is an internal tendency in me to overlook what small actions can be taken. Holding the door for an older person, maybe smiling and striking a conversation with tourists in the Pike Place Market, whatever the case. Sprinkle more of that around and it truly does have a ripple effect.

9.  I Don't Know Anything. This lesson came right smack dab in the middle of my India trip. I know nothing about anything. Yeah, sure...I have lots of ideas, great opinions, and ways I do things, but at the end of the day, I don't know what battles people are fighting or where I will be in five, ten twenty years. This lesson spills over into having deep intimacy with beginner's mind and how lovely is that.

10. Be Willing to Be Shaken & Stirred. 2014 had lots of ups and downs. for me, the valleys and the tough stuff were parts of myself that I really shunned away from. Now, I am dipping my toes into dancing with the tough stuff a little more. What stirs me and shakes me? Why are certain conversations so uncomfortable? Why do certain words and interactions trigger me more than others? Again, a lot of this is willingness for me to be vulnerable in all areas of my life. It's a challenging path and I have a lot of fear around it, yet I know it's good for me, right to my core.

11. Don't Feel Obligated to...well, do anything. Oh yes...the guilt trodden path of obligation. The word itself gives me the shivers. For so much of my life, obligation was at the forefront. I choose not to blame my family of origin, work environments, etc. It just is and I have been working with this for the past couple years. Obligation is a big umbrella for lots of shadow emotions: fear, guilt, the need to be loved, not feeling enough...I could keep going. I had the opportunity to work with a life coach this year who was doing her practicum in her coaching program and I had a chance to work with a lot of this stuff and it was truly fun. Being a witness to why I take certain actions is much different than being in it. Lots more observing, less judging. And...I don't operate under obligation anymore.

12. I Become Wiser in the Mirror of Relationship. A lot of people ask me what the hardest part of my India trip was. Of course, massive poverty, overpopulation, environmental degradation, etc., etc., always comes up, but actually the hardest part of the entire trip was seeing westerners, mostly ex-pats searching to find themselves. Most of these people have been travelling the globe for years looking for that "thing." They looked so lonely, their eyes sunken in, their bodies skinny, their upper backs hunched over. Very empty. I realized that my life, all of my life (spiritual, work, love), is all right here within me. I cherish my relationships and being in the world doing my work. Community is rich with lessons and that for me is the work and where the growth happens. I thought I went to India to find myself, but what ended up happening was that all I was looking for was within me all along and my heart truly is here at home, in Seattle, in my tiny house with all of my tribe and people with me. 

13. Stop Pushing So Fu!#% Hard. I am a pusher by nature. Overly driven, goal oriented, and very Type A. 2014 was about big dreams and goals, and it required effort. My takeaway is that life happens in the moments you are doing something else. My focus for 2015 is to push less, enjoy more...approach life with a new sense of spaciousness, grace, and ease. Things should be easy. Duh!

14. Simplify. I came back from being in India with a whole new relationship with my things. "I don't need all this crap," I keep professing. This lesson appeared right at the end of the year and I have so enjoyed the process of cleaning out and getting rid. Of course, there is always more to do. My personal space means so much to me and when it is out of whack or feeling compressed, I shoot through the roof. I am drawing on lots of inspiration from Tony House Living, Courtney Carver's website, and also using my contemplative practices to navigate this journey.

I hope you stay tuned for my 2015 Intentions post. :)

Blessings,
Jen

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