Three things I learned in 2016

I could have written a post about how well I met (or didn’t, as the case may be) the goals I set in early January, but I doubt my yoga attendance record or attempts to address my tendency for lateness are of much interest to anyone but me. What I’m writing about, instead, is what I’ve learned this year. Because the truth is, the challenges are always more interesting than the wins (right? right?).
Here goes.

Lesson 1: There is no one thing that makes everything perfect
In theory, I already knew this. But I had to experience it again to really understand it. Allow me to explain.
For years I’ve been banging on about how finding a partner is not a magic formula for happiness and purpose, as it’s our sacred responsibility to create these for ourselves. Even though I believed this devoutly, there was still a part of me that believed love would somehow cause some deep transformation that would result in me becoming a better, more confident, altogether more complete person. So when I found myself in a relationship this year, for the first time in many years, guess what happened? Nothing.
I mean, lots of stuff *did* happen – don’t get me wrong, loving someone and being loved in return is wonderful and deeply satisfying, and I am very happy – but it turns out I am still the same person as I was before I met him. I’m still battling insecurities, afraid of my own inadequacy and struggling to find my way in the world. 
Without realising it, I had been looking for the one thing that would make everything perfect. That’s a pretty familiar MO for me, actually. Over the years such searches have included: cutting out gluten (it will make me feel so much better!), taking overseas trips (it will help me find myself!) and lastly, meeting someone who would sense in me something special, something that I wanted so badly to be there… and was terrified was not.
A relationship, it turns out, does not so much fill the gaps in yourself as much as expose new ones. This is as true about love as it is about losing weight and getting a new job. Changing yourself has little to do with changing your circumstances, and significantly more to do with changing your thoughts and beliefs. And gratitude, always gratitude. There is no one thing, and there is no perfect. The best work I’ve done in terms of my personal growth, this year and all years, had nothing to do with any other human. And that’s as it should be.
Lesson 2: It’s OK if people don’t share my opinions or beliefs
I don’t know when or how this happened, but sometime during the year I stopped giving a fuck about how people responded to what I do. I used to avoid discussing One Grounded Angel, fearing the disapproval of others. This did me an enormous disservice, and possibly also others who might have needed some of the messages I was passing on. I suspect this reticence to be seen diminished in direct proportion to my sureness about the value of the information I’m passing on.
Of course, the more ‘visible’ I became, the more I became exposed to criticism and negative opinions. My viewpoint on such matters has always been this: what other people believe in is none of my business. I won’t say it doesn’t upset me when people post messages telling me what I do is bullshit but I would like to think I’m better at not taking that personally. This is the mantra I intend to carry into 2017: I do not need the approval of people who do not approve of me (that’s a life lesson from George Michael, by the way).

Lesson 3: I have failed, but I am not a failure

I wrote about this at length in a June blog post (read it here) so I’ll keep this to a brief summary. I had to change tack halfway through the year, as my reiki practice rooms failed to attract enough clients to be profitable. This stung. I felt personally inadequate, as if this lack of success were an indictment on my own worthiness. It took a period of healing and gradual acceptance for me to realise that this was not the case. This failure does not make me a failure.
Everything has played out exactly as it was supposed to. I don’t know why just yet, and maybe I never will, but I do know that venture was not meant to be. And that must mean something better is coming.
2017, I’m ready.

The year 2015 – it was good for me. Was it good for you?

2015 sign becoming 2016
Tis the season for an onslaught of New Year ‘Imma change everything’ status updates and extreme healthy eating promises that will be long forgotten by February.
I’m guilty of the same.
Almost every year, an editor will commission me to write a feature about how people can make their New Year resolutions last, and I dutifully interview an expert who will utter proclamations about goals that are ‘achievable’, ‘realistic’ and ‘meaningful’ – great guidelines that I never take on board myself. Every December I find myself taking stock of my life and making plans for how I can improve myself. And every December I find myself reaching more or less the same conclusion: the most significant changes in the year were the ones I did not intend to happen. The significant growth I’ve made this year has been a byproduct rather than a direct result of any actions I took.

Here were my nine (wait, what?!) goals for 2015, and an assessment of how they went:
LEARN REIKI. I did it! I’m now a fully qualified (and practising) reiki practitioner.
One Grounded Angel at the Festival of Dreams, Sydney
One Grounded Angel's display at the Festival Of Dreams.
BUILD MY BLOG WITH THREE POSTS A WEEK. I started off well, but by about June I realised how demanding this was, and I pulled back to once or twice a week, which I’ve maintained successfully. But the blog has definitely grown steadily, along with my social media audience, so I’m calling this a win.
MORE FUN. Having realised how out of balance my life was, I decided to lock in one fun activity a month. This is the sad reality of being a busy adult – fun has to be scheduled. This started off brilliantly. I went indoor trampolining. I hired a bike and rode along an unfamiliar stretch of coastline. I said yes to weekends away with people I did not know. I used my tax refund to book a trip to New York (finally!). But when the weather got colder I stopped making this a priority. It’ll be a focus for 2016 too, but in a less regimented format.
DO YOGA ONCE A WEEK. I kept this up for most of the year – and really benefited from it – until I went on holiday in August and never really went back. I want to commit to this again.
WRITE TWO SHORT STORIES (FICTION). I wrote one (which isn’t too shabby) and started another (which had good framework but I lost enthusiasm for it). I’d like to at least get this partial story completed. Not for the story itself but because the process of making time for creativity benefits me on so many levels.
Me atop the Empire State Building
I made it to New York! Here I am at the Empire State Building.
GET THREE WORTHY FEATURES PUBLISHED. I set this goal because the stories I’d been writing (for work) were mediocre, and I wanted to write stories that align with my overarching goal of purpose of helping people live more meaningful lives. I managed to do two features that fit this goal, and have been commissioned to write for another in 2016. A partial win.
DO MORE VOLUNTEER WORK. Fail. I have continued volunteering at a retirement home one Saturday a week but did not take on anything extra. This is also worth revisiting in 2016.
IMPROVE MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MYSELF. I set this goal because my self-esteem was stupidly low, and I knew that the only way I could improve my relationships with others was to improve my relationship with myself. Initially I had a goal to write down two things I liked about myself at the end of the day and put them into a jar. This lasted about three months before I lost interest in this project. Then I set out to say three uplifting affirmations to myself in the mirror every morning, but this, too, fell by the wayside (is anyone else seeing a pattern here?!).

New Year's Day 2015. 
Even though I abandoned this last resolution, I think it’s the area in which I’ve grown most – and that happened when I focused on other things. I took a risk and started a new business which required me to back myself, and to stand out as a healer (which was an uncomfortable but rewarding experience). I made an effort to build friendships instead of hiding myself away due to fear of rejection. I did work on forgiving myself for choices I’ve made in the past and forgiving others that have hurt me, which helped me find peace. I made a conscious effort, towards the end of the year, to embrace my individuality instead of constantly comparing myself to others and feeling like a failure because I do not have the things that they have (or appear to have – and I still have more work to do in this area). All of these things have helped bring me to a point of friendship with myself. That is my lasting legacy of 2015. And as I think about my goals for 2016, I’m more aware that whether I succeed or fail at them won’t much matter. Yes it’s important to extend myself and deepen my connection with my soul, my people and my work, but the growth is what happens in the spaces between. 

A big year

2015How are you going with those New Year Resolutions? Oh. Yeah, those.

If you're feeling like 2015 is racing away from you already, now could be a good time to revisit your goals for the year and get them back on track. It's going to be a powerful year, so it's important to focus on exactly what you want.

Regression therapy specialist and numerology guru Toni Ashton has kindly given me permission to reproduce part of a piece she wrote explaining why 2015 is such an important year.

If you'd like to read the rest of the story - and I'd highly recommend you do - click on the link at the bottom.

2015 is well and truly here and what a fast paced, action filled year we are in for. 

2015 is a Universal Year 8 globally (2+0+1+5=8) The energy of the number 8 relates to abundance, balance, empowerment, ethics, responsibility, values, power, drive, ambition, determination and father energy.
2014 saw many people delve into who they truly are at their core, to free themselves of limiting beliefs and be true to themselves and 2015 will continue with this theme on a larger scale.
More and more people will have light bulb moments, encounters or challenges come in to help awaken them to their true potential and search for answers within themselves for personal growth, balance, development and empowerment.  The number 8 demands balance and with the polarities many people live with, this energy will give people the opportunity to create balance and order in your life where there is imbalance.  This could relate to any number of things such as too much thinking vs not enough feeling, anxiety vs trust, too much work vs not enough play, too much focus on material wealth, status and gain as opposed to compassion and humanity, too much giving vs not enough receiving, being rigid vs being flexible, disempowering vs empowering, authoritarian vs equal etc.  The more we resist the changes and continue with the imbalance, the harder our challenges and life will become.  
This is a time to overcome pain, shame, defeat, struggles and obstacles. It’s a time to open up, dismantle the armour, let go of the old, bring in the new, have confidence to go with the flow and embrace the changes to bring order and balance back into our lives. Love and happiness are two simple things yet so hard for many to achieve. We can’t find this in anyone else.  We have to find it within ourselves first and everything then falls into place. This year will see people finding this within themselves and creating life changing shifts and outcomes. 
To read the rest of the article, click here.