It’s become a tradition for me to participate in New Year posts that call for self-reflection, but I almost didn’t write this one, because self reflection has become such a crucial component of my day-to-day life. Still, I’ll admit it’s nice to press publish for posterity, and it’s fascinating to go back and read the words I wrote in the past. So, let me add another entry to my digital time capsule.
Choosing to Live Life Thoughtfully in 2016 had an immense impact on my life in more ways than I could have ever envisioned. I know with certainty it is due to this frame of mind that I was receptive to a whole slew of incredible, influential people and experiences that crossed my path this year. Through this, I learned to be more optimistic, more vulnerable, more empathetic. I became more receptive to connection with others, and began to listen more deeply to myself. I embraced the joys of routine in fitness, sleep, and even work, while finding enough chaos to be exciting and energizing. And, at the end of the year, I started to learn about the power of positive belief, and take some steps to become more mentally and physically whole.
It was a year of a lot of hurt, and a lot of joy. I gained amazing new friendships and deepened existing connections, but I also had to let go of some very important people. I struggled, I cried, I lashed out, I hurt. I loved, I laughed, I danced in the sun. I became stronger physically and softer emotionally. I ran events, taught classes, gave talks, hosted parties. I delivered successful projects, I grew as a developer and a communicator, I was praised and I was criticized. I pushed myself too far, and didn’t push myself far enough. I succeeded and I failed. I doubted everything about myself, and celebrated everything about myself. I picked up and moved into a new place, starting over alone. And I shared, more than ever (but not as much as I could have) some of that rawness below the surface with the world, with the hope that making my imperfections visible could help someone else just as others helped me. In turn, I have been overwhelmed with support, love, and care from my community.
There is a long way to go, and a lot I still need to learn, but I’ve never felt more ready to do so.
And so I present my 2017 Guiding Words: Practice Positive Presence
Practicing has been a part of my life always, whether through art, music, health, relationships, or my career. I’m constantly trying to get better. However, the word “practice” often conveys a lack of skills, which has a negative connotation. I always want to continue to improve, but also accept my current imperfection as an important part of the process. There is always going to be imperfection, and we can still do great things anyway. We do not have to berate ourselves for not being “there” yet. Vulnerability is ok, and it is not the same as weakness. I want to embrace this process.
I want to strive to have a positive impact on the world (whether that’s random people, clients, meetings, work, friends, relationships, etc) but also a positive impact on myself. I choose to work on my inner voice as well as my outer voice. I will continue to seek out gratitude and believe things will be great. I will learn to love myself, and believe I am worthy of love. I will seek positive influences in my life and surround myself with people that can challenge me in different ways. I will not let my hurt, cynicism, and jaded outlook prevent me from loving others. I believe that seeking positivity does not cancel out sadness, fear, or struggle, or make them less relevant, but it can be a guiding light.
The biggest struggle for me right now, I will choose to work on being fully in the moment. I am so distracted by social media, technology, circular thoughts, doubts, and what-ifs that my mind has become fragmented. I want a less scattered mind, less tendency to jump between multiple things. I want to think less about a flashing light on a device or a doubt in my mind, and more about the environment I am in. When I am working, I want to find deeper focus in my work, to have more days where I can immerse myself in a project and the problems it is solving. When I am with others, I want to be engaged in conversations and really meet people where they are, without being elsewhere in my head. I want to learn to listen, really think, go deeper. I want to feel deeply, and let myself be ok sitting with those feelings. I want to learn and practice awareness of what my mind and body are doing.
Right now, I’m not exactly sure how these things are going to manifest themselves, but I am so excited to approach the year with these guiding words. Keeping these words in my mind, and my mind open to the world, I am sure will only bring great things in the year to come.