Today I invite you to reflect upon 2018.
These last few weeks of the year are a great time to pause and look back at where you’ve come from, and ahead to where you’d like to go. We rarely allow ourselves the opportunity to reflect back on what we have done from a space of love, acceptance and kindness. All too often we are critical and judgemental, looking only on how we’ve failed and what we missed out on. The great things you did do get lost amidst your new goals. It’s time to let that all go.
During mindful practices, we are encouraged to be in the present moment, to let go of the past and future, to be with each breath. Yet an essential component of mindfulness is using this cultivated sense of awareness to learn from the past. Reflection can be a useful way to make positive changes in life as you learn from past actions in order to make better informed choices going forward.
When we are truly open to reflect honestly upon our history we develop invaluable wisdom. A road map or compass that can help us get to where we want to be.
And so as you reflect on your year, it’s important to remember that it is totally okay to not be exactly where you wanted to be. It’s not about hunting for mistakes or short-comings, berating ourselves for our folly. Rather, engaging in a reflective inquiry, from a place of kindness and compassion, listening inwardly with curiosity, humility and a willingness to learn. Everyone makes mistakes, of course we do we’re only human. And admittedly some are bigger than others. Perhaps you did or said something you wish you could take back. Maybe you made a poor financial decision. Or behaved ungratefully or unkindly. But in allowing ourselves to feel this remorse, regret, sadness in these situations is how we develop the sensitivity, compassion and resilience to do things differently in the future.
You can engage in reflection anytime you have a moment to yourself, brushing your teeth, in the shower, on your commute before you fall asleep. Research has suggested that people who find time for reflection on a daily basis feel more in control and contented with their lives. However for this reflection upon 2018 I encourage you to create time and space so that you can really appreciate the magic of the year. So grab a notebook and pen and let’s get reflecting!
Find a quiet, comfortable place where you know you won’t be disturbed and allow your body to come to stillness.
Mentally scan your body, sensing how you feel in this moment. Are you relaxed, tense, warm, cold? Can you feel any discomfort or aches and pains?
And what about your mind. Is it racing with anxiety, heavy with thoughts or are you relatively calm?
Begin to connect to your breath bringing you fully into the present moment. Simply watch your breath as it flows in and out. Notice the movement of breath in your body.
Watch as your mind becomes quieter. Don’t try to actively stop your thoughts as this will just make them louder. Just become aware of how the mind begins to slow down.
When you’re ready allow your mind to kindly reflect back on your year month by month. Don’t analyse or let your thoughts be distracted by particular events.
Refresh yourself on this past year. Look at the things you have achieved or the goals you reached. It can be something huge or something tiny, it really doesn’t matter.
Now, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What three words would I use to describe the past year?
2. What about the past year has left me feeling inspired, alive or excited?
3. Have I been of service to my family, friends or community?
4. What has been wonderful and magical about this past year?
5. When did I feel at my lowest this year and why?
6. Where did I fall short of my values and expectations?
7. What have I learnt and will I do differently next time?
8. What am I grateful for?
Write for as long or as little a you like for each question. Don’t over analyse what you are writing, just let the words flow from you.
Once you have finished you may want to read your writings straight away or come back to them later. You will find beautiful wisdom in that text. Honour the words.
Reflecting can be challenging and difficult, we may face emotions and situations we’d rather forget. But the process itself is cathartic and hugely rewarding. It will put you in a strong position to start 2019 in the best way. If you are interested in exploring your values and intentions further I am here to guide and support you.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below!
Much love as always,
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