Happy New Year.
I taught my normal Saturday 11:15 a.m. yoga class on New Year’s Eve in addition to a “Resolve to Evolve” workshop with Dorie that afternoon. The theme of my class and my workshop yesterday was spending time reflecting on the year behind us before we zoom into 2017, forgetting (or choosing to ignore) all of the lessons the year prior held for us.
My social media feed has been flooded with posts/graphics/memes/etc with sentiments like, “Good riddance 2016….Thank god 2016 is over….2017 is going to be my year… 2016 was terrible…and so on.” We’re so quick to want to close the door and move on.
In reality, there is so much to be learned by doing the hard work of carefully examining the year you just lived. To being open to see the lessons it taught you and the ways it changed you. We are constantly growing and evolving, ESPECIALLY when we are being challenged. If 2016 was a tough or painful year for you, it’s especially important to take a look back.
2016 was an extremely difficult year for me. And unexpectedly so. My uncle was diagnosed with cancer. My little brother died. Two months later my uncle passed away. My dad had a heart procedure. While doing my own processing and grieving, I also felt so much pain for my mom for all that she’s endured.
I woke up on January 1, 2017 with the same heavy heart that I went to bed with on December 31, 2016 (along with two golden retrievers…all the rules are off the table at this point). But even though I still carry my grief and sorrow with me, I am also able to look back at 2016 and see the lessons and blessings that it brought me.
I learned so much about myself and how to open up and share in a way that I never have been able to before. I also began to see how much love and support is available by being vulnerable and receptive. The deep connection I have experienced with some of my yoga students, friends and blog readers by speaking openly about my situation and my feelings has been unparalleled. I know that I’m not alone and I want you all to know that you’re not alone either. There’s nothing you’re feeling that someone else reading this post hasn’t endured or felt before.
It’s a practice to be able to hold pain, sadness and darkness in one hand while also being able to open your eyes to how much beauty, love and abundance surrounds you. It is there. And it’s okay to feel it. You can be really sad and really grateful for the things that you DON’T have to be sad about at the same time.
If you need a little guidance in reflecting back on the past year, here are 10 questions from The Art of Simple that can get you started. You can check out their full PDF with 20 questions here if you want to take a deeper dive.
- What was the single best thing that happened to you this year?
- What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
- Pick three words to describe this past year.
- Who were your most valuable relationships with?
- In what ways did you grow emotionally?
- In what ways did you grow physically?
- In what ways did you grow spiritually?
- What was the most enjoyable part of your work? (professionally and at home)
- What was the best way you used your time this past year?
- What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
And perhaps the biggest blessing of 2016 was getting to end the year by celebrating Christmas with my family and having my oldest niece join us. I feel so grateful for the line of communication that’s been opened that will allow me to develop a meaningful relationship with my brother’s two beautiful girls as they grow up.
Lots of love to all of you. Take a look back and then carry your lessons into 2017 with you. The work is worth it.