Usually around this time of year as December rolls around, I start the process of reflecting on all that’s happened in the past year.
But this time when I opened a blank word document to start typing, I stopped and thought to myself, “What exactly did happen for me this year? It feels like such a blur.”
This is where having tools and exercises helped me to get started, that I’ll now share with you if you’d like to do your own process.
First, get a pen and piece of paper, or open a word processing document, and have your calendar handy.
We’re going to jog your memory a bit here.
Next, write down the different category headings for your major life areas so you can make sure that you cover the key bases.
And then have space underneath each heading so you can capture the different things that happened for you that you start to remember.
Here are some categories of major life areas that you can use, and you can add more to tailor to your life:
As you start to recollect this past year, if you have anything that comes up immediately that you remember, go ahead and start putting the accomplishments and experiences in the appropriate categories.
Now open your calendar to the first month of January and start looking at what you did.
How did you spend your time? Did you have any major events or activities? Did you set up a regular habit or routine?
As you look through your calendar, capture anything you want to remember and write it down in your different categories.
If you don’t have a detailed calendar, you can also look through your social media starting in January to see what you posted.
Then go on to February, March, and so on all the way until you reach today.
After I did this exercise, I was quite surprised at all the things that happened this year!
Do you mind if I share some of my 2021 highlights with you?
Of course, I imagine you’re saying yes right now so here they are.
Joselito’s 2021 Highlights
There’s a whole lot more that I can add to this list.
What are your 2021 highlights?
If you have a moment, even just 10-15 minutes, I encourage you to take some time to do this.
The point of this exercise is to take a moment to stop, breathe and smell the roses.
A client told me today that she didn’t know how it was December already, and that the whole year seemed like a blur.
That’s why taking the time to reflect is so important, because it’s so easy to move on to the next, and the next, and the next.
When I used to do open water swimming for my triathlon training in the San Francisco Bay, I couldn’t just keep my head down in the water when I swam. If I did, all I’d be looking at was murky water!
Every once in a while, I had to lift my head up to see if I was swimming in the right direction.
That’s the same concept with reflection.
Reflection helps to give you insights, to raise your head above the water and outside of the day to day activity, and those insights help to guide your next steps.
Not only are you stopping to smell the roses, but you get to ask yourself whether you like the smell of these particular roses in the first place.
Do you want to continue smelling these kinds of roses next year?
Or are there other roses, or flowers, or trees, that you’d like to plant and grow in your garden?
What do you want to remember about 2021?
And what do you want to plant for 2022?
Here’s the joy of it all. It’s your garden. You get to choose.
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
p.s. If you’d like guided support in reflecting on this past year and what’s possible for next year, I’m leading a virtual mini-retreat on Saturday December 11, 2021, called “Reflecting on 2021, Planting Seeds for 2022.” Click here for more info:
A few years ago, a potential client approached me, telling me that she hated her job.
She described a toxic work environment, where co-workers distrusted each other, the boss undermined employees, and everyone was expected to work day and night.
She was exasperated.
She approached me because she wanted work that was more meaningful and fulfilling.
“What have you done so far to look for a new job?” I asked her.
“Oh, I’ve been applying to at least 5-10 jobs every day,” she said with an exasperated voice. “On the train to work, I get on my smartphone, look at all the different jobs listed on this website, and just go down the list, applying to each one of them.”
“All the jobs?” I wondered aloud. “Let me ask you a question. For this one particular job that you applied for, if this company offered it to you, would you take it?”
“Oh no, I wouldn’t take that job at all,” she quickly responded.
“Then why did you apply to this job?” I questioned her.
“Because I just need to do something. I’m so stressed out. Any action is better than taking no action,” she cried.
Have you ever wanted to change something so bad that you just went into action mode?
Her story reminded me of Alice in Wonderland who was lost, when she then approached the Cheshire cat for directions.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
The Cheshire cat responded, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice replied, “I don’t much care where.”
“Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go,” wisely answered the Cheshire cat.
My client, just like Alice, knew she didn’t want to be where she was at, and she also wasn’t exactly clear where she wanted to go.
They both just wanted to get going…to take action for action’s sake.
Anything felt better than feeling stuck and staying still.
I suspected, though, that with a couple questions, my client could get clearer, so that her actions would be more aligned with where her heart was calling her to be.
“Imagine yourself doing work that felt ideal for you, in an environment where you felt was the right and perfect place for you,” I explored. “How do you imagine you’d feel?”
“Oh, that’s easy. I’d feel free,” she quickly responded.
“Tell me more,” I nudged her.
“I’d feel like I could breathe. I wouldn’t be tired all the time. I wouldn’t dread going to work,” she continued.
“So, you’d feel like you have energy, and you might be looking forward to going to work?” I asked.
“Absolutely,” she exclaimed. “I’d feel like I was respected, by my co-workers and by my boss. I’d be doing things that I really enjoyed and was good at. And I’d feel like I was making a difference in what I was doing.”
Her mood shifted, and a lightness in her energy field exuded from her being.
“You seem different than when we first started talking. How are you feeling now?” I wondered.
“I’m feeling really good. I’m feeling more energized and excited about new possibilities,” she happily shared.
“This energy of openness, and feeling of possibility,” I remarked, “these are pointing you to where you’re being called. There’s that in you that knows what sparks you, what makes you come alive, and where you are called to be your fuller and more authentic self. This feeling you’re feeling now is like a compass, pointing you in the direction of your next step.”
As she sat there taking in the words and basking in the feeling, I could sense the wheels turning in her head.
“So my feeling open and expanded is pointing me to my next step,” she repeated. “This also means that if I’m not feeling open and expanded, and if I’m feeling like something’s not right, then this might not be the direction for me to take.”
“Exactly,” I responded. “Allow some room for your intuition and your feelings to help guide you. And when you feel excited, alive, and inspired, then be open to taking action from that place, and discerning which jobs feel more exciting to you.”
Abraham-Hicks shares a spiritual metaphor about a vacuum that’s not plugged into the wall.
You could push the vacuum all you want around the house, but until it’s plugged in, it won’t be cleaning up much dirt.
The metaphor brings it back to the idea that action for action’s sake doesn’t always yield the results you’re looking for.
But if you take the time to plug into Source energy, to tune into the expansive energy of possibility already within you, then you become more focused, more powerful, and clearer on your next steps.
So, for you, where in your own life might you be running around in circles, or feeling like you could use some direction, where you’re pushing the vacuum without plugging it in first, taking action for action’s sake but not really getting anywhere?
Perhaps you could consider first taking a moment to plug in, to tune in to the power Source that’s always available, and to get to a state of being where you welcome the energy of possibility and expansion.
Because once you’re plugged in, life actually starts to unfold a whole lot easier, and sometimes in seemingly magical ways.
And unlike Alice in Wonderland, you’ll be guided to your right next step, or it might just show up.
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
Why do the best ideas come in the shower?
The other day, while I was taking a shower, an idea popped in my head for a new course that I could teach.
I felt so excited and inspired that I wanted to jump out of the shower and grab my iPhone to capture the idea before it could fly away.
Have you ever had a brilliant idea or inspiration come to you when you were taking a shower?
Why this happens makes sense when you take a moment to think about it.
You're in the shower, relaxed, with the water gently massaging your body. It's an activity that you do day in and day out, so you really don't have to think much about the process of showering itself.
You allow your mind to wander.
That right there is the key word: Allow.
You move into a state of allowing. You become more open and more receptive.
When you think about being in a state of flow, harmony and ease, do you envision a clenched fist and straining, or do you imagine an open hand and welcoming?
Being open and receptive, in a state of allowing and welcoming, is a whole lot more conducive to new ideas and creative expression than, say, being stressed out or trying to force an answer to come through.
Meditation is always a great way to move into that greater state of openness and receptivity, especially if you do it consistently.
But if you find meditation to be a little bit challenging for you, I'll offer you another strategy.
When I'm coaching my clients and they're stressed out about something that they're experiencing or they're wanting an answer to a troubling situation, one of the strategies I offer as a homework assignment is to ask them to do something that brings them a greater sense of ease or joy, with that activity completely unrelated to the circumstance.
It could be taking a walk on the grass, the beach or even around the block.
Or listening to some music that they love.
Or drawing or doodling with their hands.
Or eating a delicious food.
Or lighting an aromatic candle.
You see, the sensory nature of touch, of taste, of sight, of hearing, of smell, helps to get them out of their heads and more into their bodies and into their hearts.
They become more present into the moment, which then helps to soften the tightness of the shoulders, and allows them to breathe more deeply.
Sometimes the answer that they're seeking comes to them right then and there, or they come across a seemingly random person or out of the blue resource that leads them closer to what they seek.
The first step, though, is shifting from a state of forcing and coercing something to happen and moving into a greater state of receptivity and allowing.
Like energy attracts like energy.
So, if you have a question that you're grappling with, or you're wanting an answer that comes to you more easily, the first thing to do, then, is to get into an energy and state of ease.
Easeful energy attracts easeful energy.
You can always hop in the shower and let your mind wander, opening your receptivity into a greater space of allowing and welcoming.
Abundant Blessings and Namaste.
Joselito is a spiritual life coach helping people create a purposeful, spiritual path to career and financial freedom.
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