December was a month of solitude and silence for me. I took it off of blogging, emailing, and social media-ing. Honestly, it wasn’t intentional but I’m happy it happened. I sat with myself this December in a way that I haven’t done in the past. And I used the quiet to reflect on all the things I learned in 2022 and what I wanted to create in 2023.
I am a big reflector but never have I been this intentional about it at the end of the year. I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned last year, what I want to take with me into 2023, and some journaling prompts to help you guide your own journey.
What I learned in 2022
I started 2022 feeling a mix of defeat and renewed grit. 2021 was supposed to be the year that my biz really took off yet it was far from that. We had our second child in April 2021 and the insanity of having 2 under 2 was far more than I could fathom. I had to let go of a lot of personal desires to adjust to becoming a mom of 2 in 2021.
With renewed grit, I went with a word for 2022 instead of a resolution and the word I chose was “commit.” The surface-level thinking behind choosing “commit” was it’s always been easy for me to find other things to do instead of working on my business. So I was going to commit myself to working on it and stick with it.
What I didn’t bargain on was what this commitment to myself would really turn out to be. It would mean sitting with the parts of myself that felt ready to run at a moment’s notice. It would mean staying when everything in my head was screaming to check out, to run, to numb so I wouldn’t have to feel or be seen.
Sitting with the hard emotions, the happy emotions. Staying long enough to investigate and observe what was happening inside of me. As I look back now, I can see how far that word took me.
It transformed me into a woman who can do hard things. One who can look at her pain, grief, and sadness and hold them tight. One who isn’t scared of a tough conversation. One that is committed to staying with herself, no matter what.
Furthermore, commitment transformed my relationship with Paul, my husband. I was shown what power lies in the commitment to us. It’s a willingness to stay in conversations, even when I’m mad or hurt. A willingness to be open to other possibilities of what he’s thinking and feeling. And it’s the glue to my chair when I want to fly off the handle and get angry as a reaction to something he’s said or done.
Commitment showed me some things are worth staying for – I am worth staying for. My peace and happiness and joy. And even my sadness and anger and grief are worth staying for. There is so much validity in being willing to stay, for yourself, when things feel hard.
So, thank you 2023 for helping me learn to commit to myself, my healing, and my becoming.
Another big takeaway for me from 2022: not everything is a reflection of me as a person. Spirituality is something that I take to heart and I have a lot of love for the practices and community. I also think sometimes the messages that come along with manifesting and the Law of Attraction are bull.
There is one message I hear repeated over and over that is particularly damaging for people. The message is that we are always attracting things to ourselves.
While I do believe that there is some truth to it, I internalized that message. Then I would use it against myself. (And I know this is an easy thing to do, so if you relate, you aren’t alone.)
We got a fish last year. It was the prettiest blue betta fish and I loved it. One day, my son pushed his chair over to the fish tank and dumped all of the fish’s food in there with him. The fish overate and then proceeded to die over the next couple of days.
It was such a hard thing to witness and I guess I could have flushed him but that felt awful to do when he was already suffering. Instead, I watched him die and I internalized it. There was a part of me that kept telling myself that I manifested this. I was using my spiritual practice against myself.
I weaponized my fish dying against myself and it felt terrible.
You might be reading this and thinking that I’m crazy and maybe I am. But I don’t think I’m the only person who has done this to themselves.
As I reflected on what happened to my fish in my journal a couple of days later, I uncovered the lesson that I needed to find. And I saw a pattern where I used bad things that happened against me.
The lesson is those bad/hard/uncomfortable/awful things happen. It doesn’t mean anything about me as a person. It doesn’t mean that I’m doing anything wrong. Not manifesting. Not spirituality. And not the Law of Attraction.
Freeing myself from this belief has been weightlifting. And yes, there are times when those thoughts still creep in. When they do, I remind myself that I am being supported in more ways than I could ever know. I have power over my thoughts, emotions, and actions and those are the only things I want to control from now on.
Beginning – over and over
Probably my favorite takeaway from 2022 is remembering how to be a beginner. I started craft projects, painting, marketing, and showing up as a new version of myself this year. Trying things I never thought I’d try and even succeeding at some of them.
My willingness to be a beginner was the exact attitude I needed to remember that beginnings are amazing. They are filled with anticipation and newness. They are a coming together of things and pieces to create something beautiful.
I learned how to coach my brain (most of the time). I’ve learned how to move my focus onto something different when things feel impossible or boring or I’m stuck in the messy middle. I’ve remembered to breathe when something feels hard and I want to quit. To remind me that I’m doing these things for fun. To remember that life is short and if I’m lucky, I’ll always be a beginner at something.
This is a complete shift from how I approached beginnings in the past. I’ve always wanted to just be an expert right from the start. A lot of things do come easily to me but that doesn’t mean that everything will. And I learned so much grace and compassion for my always wanting to do everything perfectly and right the first time self.
I am so proud of her…and I am astonished at this new version of me. I think she has a lot of the person I really want to be in her. The version of me who looks at life as a grand adventure, no matter what her current reality is.
What’s coming in 2023
With the end of a year comes the beginning of another one. And this year, I have a word of the year, but I also have some things I’d like to carry with me as reminders of who and where I’d like to be by the end of the year.
A different approach to my mind
Some people will tell you that your ego is evil. It must be destroyed, that’s the path to true enlightenment. I’ve listened to them. I’ve bought into their stuff. I’ve drunk their proverbial tea.
And honestly, I’ve tried to “kill” my ego. I’ve tried practices to silence it, to replace it, to smother it. This year, my approach is different.
I’m going to take my foot off its throat and love it. I’m going to let my ego exist, as a part of me. My mind is a beautifully designed thing that was created to keep me safe, to help me focus, and to keep me alive. Without my brain, I wouldn’t be me.
No amount of being annoyed by it, trying to shut it off, or ignoring it has helped. It’s like I was ostracizing a big piece of me. And I am done with that.
I am opening up my arms and letting my ego have a place at the table because I am so sick of the fight. The thoughts that something is wrong with me because I can’t shut it off. Or that I’m a terrible person, bad at spirituality, and whatever else my brain comes up with. I’m laying down my sword and welcoming my ego in this year.
Who knows, maybe I can love it to death?
Bringing my body with me
Another thing that has always come along for the ride…but hasn’t always gotten a ton of attention is my body. This year, I am open to her wisdom. I want to deepen our relationship and feel intimacy, vulnerability, and tenderness like I’ve never felt.
My body is where my heart and soul live in this lifetime. It is my temple and this year, I want to ensure I treat it as such. Not just in terms of food and exercise but also with my feelings.
I want to honor her when she’s telling me no. I want to nourish her the way she’s always nourished me. I want to become aware of her innate and deep intelligence. I am open to her and am ready to be guided.
One thing that I learned as I was holding my ass to my seat last year was that listening to listen is powerful. Not listening to respond or listening to assess but listening just to listen. To let another human being feel heard.
It’s one of my greatest spiritual practices, and believe me, it’s a hard one. One that I am certain could take all year to master. As a coach, I love giving advice and helping people solve their problems. It’s my Achilles heel.
Some people love and hate me for it. And not that I want to change anything about who I am but I want to listen. If that means biting my tongue and coming back to my breath every 2 seconds, so be it.
I want people to feel heard and understood in my presence. And I know that listening is the place to go to get there.
We all know I love a good journaling prompt! Here are some good ones to help you clean off what you can leave in last year and brush up on what you want to bring with you this year. May 2023 be your best one yet.
- Who do I want to be this year? Like what do I really, really want and who is the version of me that has that?
- What traits do I want to end this year fully embodying?
- What goals am I most excited to set and achieve in 2023?
- What thoughts can I create and come back to that will help me be who I want to be and achieve the goals I want to achieve?
- In what ways can I live as this version of me now?
- What parts of me are saying that I can’t be who I want to be or have what I want to have?
- What do they want me to know? Are they scared? Angry? Defeated?
- How can I nurture them? Get to know them?
- How can I help them feel safe and seen in other ways?
- What am I ready to let go of so that I can be the version of me that I want to be?