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At the start of each week I’ve taken to looking back at the previous seven days to ask what I’ve learned as well as what I can do better. Sometimes these questions are more rhetorical than anything, because it’s easy to lose steam by backsliding into old habits and moving the challenge of growth and change to the back burner—all because life happened.
Just yesterday I was on the phone with a friend reviewing the things we declared around this time last year that we’d do in 2014. As we reviewed our achievements, we were surprised by some of the strides we’d taken and with the dust we’d kicked over a handful of ambitious plans.
One year ago I said I wanted 2014 to be about growth and CPR: Connection, Prosperity and Radiance. These principles, I said, were to be my cornerstones. Not being a stonemason, it occurred to me that a corner is square and should probably have four sides. So, yesterday I retrofitted Intention into the year’s projections and, although it messes up my beautiful acronym, it’s still mostly appropriate.
I give you some of my biggest lessons, gains and losses of 2014:
1.) Discomfort & Change. A huge takeaway from this year is that discomfort is proportional to the level of growth and change being sought. I’m all about working beyond the edges of my comfort zone, but this year pitched me pretty far into the unknown and forced me to let go of tired assumptions and business as usual. As Einstein said, we can’t solve problems—or challenge our limits—with the same approach that created them. For me, it meant I had to forge new friendships, seek out new mentors and boldly test my mettle.
New writing and speaking engagements pressed me to revisit aspects of my past that I needed to make peace with by calling them out from the shadows for a good long look. If you followed me even a little bit this year, then you’ve seen me lay bare my tales of bad relationships gone worse, old programs of poor self-esteem and past failures aplently. In the telling, I seem to have established a toe hold in the relationship writing arena and I’m happy to know that by rattling the cages of my own experience and misadventures—as well as my successes along the way—it has helped readers see in themselves new opportunities to embrace themselves, drop old baggage, forgive their pasts, and love with wholly open hearts.
This is also a big part of the Radiance principle. It’s all about embodying our information and letting it communicate outward. Radiance works like grace in that we can’t control how it emanates from us, but we do well to nurture it in thought and action.
2.) Connection & Disconnection. My goal of greater connection in relationships and business held lots of surprising challenges and opportunities for growth too. In the same way we have to say no to what we don’t want in order to say yes to what we do want, we also must disconnect from relationships or ideas that keep us stuck. Breaking up with a partner you no longer love is one thing, but what if the draining relationship is the one you have with yourself? Some questions to ask yourself here might be: What old stories or beliefs am I holding on to? Who’s really keeping me from my life?
An epiphany that landed like rocks on my head was that being the change required me to change. This is what Radiance is all about: embodying Color me simple on this one, but being of service means more than lip service. How easy is it to say we’ll do a thing and then trod the same path we’ve always known when no one’s looking? Aligning myself in word and deed to true connection meant I had to make myself available to new experiences, responses and ways of thinking. I asked lots of new questions this year, learned gobs of new information and shed a heap of protective layering I’d built up over the years.
Nowhere was this growth challenge put more squarely to me this year than in the surge of publicized violence committed against innocent people, mass murder and abduction of school children, political scheming and sensationalized media. Rather than throwing my hands up or collapsing in outrage and fear, I disconnected from heavy-handed news coverage and engaged instead in meaningful conversations whenever I could. I lent my efforts to causes that sought to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Committed to the goal of keeping my heart open, I sat with waves of grief and anger even as I reached out to friends and loved ones for support. Joining voices with activists around the world calling for justice and peace urged me to cultivate and guard it carefully within myself. My practice of self-care grew tremendously as a result. And knowing I wasn’t alone in my feelings connected me to an even greater resolve to live like I intended to.
3.) Prosperity: Abundance without borders. This year, while in the thick of growth, discomfort and change, I received a recurring lesson in the difference between prosperity and abundance. Abundance is related to quantity, asking questions like, How much do I have? and How much more can I have? How much do I have to get, do, or become before I reach abundance? Abundance is plenty, but it’s fixed. And it’s often situated in the future. Meaning, it’s not in present time. Meaning, it can be depleted and needs to be added to. Prosperity, on the other hand, is a state of being. It brings abundance into present time so that there’s no striving toward it or sense of lack in its pursuit. Prosperity says, I am enough, my needs are more than met and my life itself is abundant.
This month I did a Honey-themed Christmas countdown. For twelve days I listed something my True Love gave to me. It was a riff on the gifts I enjoy and don’t always show proper gratitude for. Things like the chance to live on purpose, greater self-acceptance, pro-duc-tiv-i-ty… . At the end of the twelve days, I had an excellent reminder of the myriad ways prosperity and Life itself flow to us and through to us all the time. My 2014 goal of achieving prosperity was met and then some by engaging in the simple practice of daily gratitude and realizing the gifts I have all around me in every moment. Any money or material increase is gravy. And the real deal, is being able to finally internalize the fact that, as the author and teacher Wayne Dyer said, There is no way to prosperity, prosperity is the way.
2014 has been a year of recurring beginnings and ends. From the miniscule to the massive. I’ve grown more adept at embracing opposites by looking for the value in each experience. I’ve tended to old wounds without ripping them open and closed doors that stayed open too long. I’ve learned to sit with my emotions without being them. I’ve paid more attention to giving and receiving small kindnesses, which is a gift in and of itself, and I can’t say enough about the absolute beauty of it.
2014 was a year of being shaken awake, of being called out to own my shadow and light, and to advocate for myself in ways I hadn’t known how to before. I’ve enjoyed another year of fantastic clients courageous, all in their own right, as they honored their own path of growth. I also participated in collaborative projects that inspired me to dream and play as big and boldly as I dared.
All told, sometimes it was grittier than pretty, but I showed up this year for real. I kicked some ass and got mine handed to me a few times too. Nobody wins them all, but as long as we keep coming back to play and fight—and recognize the difference—we get to stay in the game.
Here’s wishing you the fullness of all you desire in 2015—the dreams and realities, the laughter and grieving, the guidance and confusion, the failures and victories, the resilience and commitment, the breakthroughs and encouragement, the openings and closures, the lessons and victories and power and courage… absolutely all of it, honey!
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