I believe we can be anyone

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you like everybody else is to fight the hardest battle you can fight--but never stop fighting! E.E. Cummings

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

My TOP 10 Highlights for 2013

Remember David Letterman, the talk show host?  Back in the day, I used to watch him on TV (I know I’m dating myself now!).   One of the things I enjoyed about his show was his “Top 10 List”.

This past year, I had an opportunity to participate in a creation circle group where one of the exercises we did was to write down our WINS each month and share them with the group (usually through email and then briefly at our monthly meeting).  I found it an eye opening and extremely empowering exercise to do each month.

I don’t know about you, but maybe it’s just women (or men, you can correct me if I’m wrong), but women can be really hard on themselves and think they haven’t accomplished “enough” each day or month.  Well, when I started to write down and keep track of what I did every day (like I have been for a few years now), I realized that I accomplish WAY than I think I do: every hour, every day, every month and every year. 

I keep track of what I accomplish each day and each month by writing down all my activities, appointments, etc. in my Day-timer.  I’m a bit “old fashioned” in the sense that I buy an actual paper Day-timer every year and then I color code with colored pens my different activities.

For example, when I exercise and do anything physical like walking, riding my bike or taking a class, going for a sauna, etc., I color code with a pink pen and write down how long I did this.  Appointments that I have like: massage, doctor’s etc., I color code with a blue pen.  Anything FUN I’m doing (Yes, fun!  That could include: taking a personal growth workshop, an art class, or meeting a friend, etc.), I color code in purple.  And, my work/business schedule is marked in green.  This is simple and works for me.  You may find another method that works better for you.  If you don’t have a “method”, give it a try and see if you like it.

My WINS notebook is full of things I have accomplished in 2013.  Below, I have condensed them into a TOP 10 LIST for the year.  What came up for me doing this exercise is that I noticed basic themes throughout all of these accomplishments; not just in what I "got" done, but in what I learned in the process about myself and life. 
Every year I have been doing what is called an “Intention for my Year” exercise where I review my previous year.  It’s always eye opening to look back at my previous year to see what I accomplished, and then to move forward into what I would like to create for the upcoming new year. 

I hope you get as much out of this article as I have and that it somehow inspires you into action in your life.  The Year of the Snake is now over (the shedding of things and letting go).  Now it’s the Year of the Horse and moving forward.  Changes are coming in a BIG way!  I hope you are ready for them!  All the best to you and have a wonderful 2014!

1.   I got a huge piece about Universal timing in 2013.  I recognize that everything is ALWAYS timed perfectly.  I really saw this last year in how things happened.   Even when it doesn’t seem like “perfect” timing or if I view the timing as “bad” with my judgment, it’s still ALL perfect.      
When I look back now, there were so many experiences and moments over the year that I now recognize as being perfectly timed.  Everything that needed to be done got done in time.  However, I do notice that my “worry” energy sometimes still sneaks in, so I need to continue to be conscious of that habit.  Having said that, everything all works out.  I’m learning to see and trust that more.  And this past year, I saw it more than ever.  Trust that everything is as it “should” be.

2.  Supporting my parents the best way I could and recognizing that my mom has her own journey to go through.  That was a tough one.  Especially when she was taking care of my dad at home for just over 3 weeks when he got out of the hospital after 6 weeks. 
My dad needs a LOT of extra care and is now in a long term care facility.  They are both in their mid 80s.  Everyone knew at her age that it would be too challenging for her to take care of him at home.  However, she felt that she needed to try her best and do it anyhow. 
In the end through her own experience and timing, she finally realized that it was too difficult for her.  It was one of the most stressful and challenging periods in my life and in hers.  However, I got through it with lots of support from my partner and friends.  And, I supported my mother the best way that I could.
I was so happy we went up for Christmas to be there with them and support them in the transition of moving my dad into long term care.  This was another challenge of letting go for all of us.  But, especially for my mother, who has been with him for 50 years.  They have also lived together in the same house for that period of time. 
She is such a strong woman, but she also deserves a break now and so does he.  Life has become very simple through this whole experience for me.  It’s about spending time with family, friends and doing things I love and enjoy and having fun.  Life is too short.  And, the gift is that it has brought us closer together as a family.  Practice asking for and receiving support because it’s there for you.  Know that you are NEVER alone, you only choose to believe that.

3.  The theme of “Letting Go” was definitely up for me this year.  The Year of the Snake was a challenging one; all about shedding layers and letting go of things that no longer fit or serve. 
I received support from a friend who helped me switch to a new system for our household bookkeeping which I now love.  I let go of a job with a company I had been with for 8 years.  I let go of my AFLCA fitness certification.  I let go of some old belief systems and patterns.   I needed to let go of my mom and her journey and trust it would all work out in the end.  I let go of hiding my creativity and art. 
In order to bring in the new, one must let go of the “old”.  The big flood in Calgary was a HUGE letting go in our city last year in more ways than one.  Wow!      

Regularly evaluate your life and let go of things etc. that no longer serve you to make room for something else.

4.  Turning 50 in September 2013, makes one contemplative and reflective at times.  I feel young at heart but I also seem to have more aches and pains than usual.  I’m certainly not 20 anymore!  Boy does time go by quickly.      
I realize more and more that it’s important to do those things that I LOVE every day.  The trick to this is making the time to do them though.  Otherwise, it doesn’t and never happens.  It’s all wishful thinking.  Actions speak louder than words.  And, when I do things I love, I’m happier.  And aren’t I worth that? YES!!  Aren’t you??  YES!!

5.  Taking risks helps me to grow and evolve.  I applied for jobs that I didn’t necessarily qualify for.  I tried new classes like Aerial Yoga.  I went Zip lining.  I rode a gigantic horse (albeit only for 10 minutes but so what!  I did it anyhow!)  I reconnected with a friend in Kelowna I hadn’t seen in 18 years and stayed at his place.  I was a tourist in the city of Kelowna and so was my friend!  (Ironically, I lived in Kelowna for 2 years and saw more of it on this trip than when I lived there!) 
I spoke at my Toastmasters Club and finally reached my goal of 10 speeches.  As a speaker, I did my best to be as authentic, spontaneous and unprepared (but somewhat prepared) as possible.  I allowed myself to trust that what I needed to say would come out in the way it would need to.  A huge lesson in trust.  In my life, I spoke my mind more and spoke from the heart more.  I was vulnerable.  I asked for support. 
Risks help us to grow as human beings.  I encourage you to take risks and surprise yourself with what is possible.

    6.  I consistently took care of myself and my body.  Whether this was exercising, getting massages, taking fun classes to move my body, riding my bike, walking, eating as healthy as possible, etc. 
    Again, it’s important to make time to do these things for our own health and well being.  Doing something each day, even if you incorporate active living into your lifestyle by walking to the grocery store and back counts. 
    Write it down!  It all adds up!  Let go of how exercising “needs” to look and be easy on yourself.

    7.  I took my art to a whole other level.  I put myself out there more.  I realized it’s okay to share it with others so that others can enjoy it too.  I enjoy other artists and their art work.  Of course, I create because I enjoy it and it feeds me.  However, it’s great to share with others too. 
    This past year, I really enjoyed connecting with other artists and getting into the arts community more.  I created a lot of pieces and had fun experimenting and trying new things.  I took my first Impressionism painting class which was new for me and really enjoyed it and learnt a lot about myself (the teacher was great too).      
    I participated in The Fairy Festival in the spring and the Artspot Art Show in December (which had a variety of 30 different artists showing their wares).   I learnt that if I don’t put myself out there, I will never know where that will lead me. 
    So, put yourself out there!  What have you got to lose??  And, don’t take things personally.
    8.  Personal growth workshops feed my soul.  I love it.  And sometimes I don’t because when my issues are up in my face, sometimes I don’t want to look in the mirror at myself.  However, this is how I grow and how I choose to grow.  Otherwise, life stays stagnant and I remain stuck. 
    When I heard about The Samurai Workshop in 2012, I immediately signed up.  You had me at “Samurai”.  I love martial arts and action movies so I was hooked.  When I read the write up about the course, I was hooked even more and I couldn’t wait to do it.  However, I had to wait 6 months to do the course in June of 2013. 
    Boy did my issues come up and boy did I move through it.  It was one of the most challenging things I have done and one of the best experiences I have had!  I have done many, many courses over the last 13 years.  I would do it again. 
    I healed another layer in my relationship with my mother.  I realized that life is short and to appreciate and let the people in my life know how much I appreciate them because you just never know what could happen; they may not always be around.  Life can change in the blink of an eye and there may not be another opportunity. 
    I learnt about leadership and following.  I learnt that I need to put things in my life in order and to leave them better than I found them.  Do I really want to leave a big mess for someone else to clean up after I die?  Preferably not. 
    What an amazing weekend.  You will just need to find out for yourself because it’s through the experience of doing something like that, that we learn.

    9.  Being a part of the creation circle group over the last 2 years has been insightful, at times challenging but also very supportive.  One of the things I enjoyed the most was writing down my WINS at the end of every month in my WINS notebook. 
    They say that whatever you focus on expands.  I used to focus a lot on what I didn’t get done rather than what I did get done.  However, this last year was the year where I did this exercise every month and realized that I get a whole lot more done than I think I do. 
    My Day-timer is a great tool to keep track of all that I have done (appointments, when I exercised, courses and classes I took, errands, and whatever else).  There’s something powerful about writing things down and seeing it in front of my eyes every month.  I feel empowered by it.  And, sharing it with a group of people every month is even more powerful because it’s about accountability and cheering each other on. 
    I accomplished so much last year.  And you know what?  I’m damn proud of that.  I highly recommend doing this for yourself and start to recognize that you accomplish more than you think.
    10.  I want and plan to travel and take more holidays.  I have said this for a long time now.  It takes money though.  However, I learnt that my partner Rick and I can be focused when we want to. 
    We had been saving money for a couple years in our vacation fund.  Every month I put in his and/or my vacation pay into a vacation fund.   We finally had an opportunity to take a spontaneous last minute all inclusive holiday to Mexico in January 2013.  We always wanted to go to Mexico.  It was amazing, fun and SO worth it. 
    My and our goal is to create our life so we can do more of that.  The older I get, the more clear I get about what I want to be, do and have. Things somehow start to get simpler. However, I have noticed that time is moving and going by faster.  There is no time to waste.  What are YOU waiting for??  Just do it!



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