At the beginning of each year, I look back on the previous year to see what worked, what didn't, and what I can take from all of my experiences to make the most of the present. This process helps to hold me accountable so that I can more fully show up in my life and business.
For the sake of nostalgia, reflection, and the subtle reminder that your writing and mindset will improve (cringe!), here are my words for previous years:
2011: Creativity, Connection, Mindfulness.
2012: Mindfulness, Spontaneity, Simplicity.
2013: Build. Track. Focus.
2014: Free. Alive. Expand (along with the 10 things I learned in 2014).
Here are a few of my words that I jotted down at the beginning of 2015:
The one word that I chose to focus on for 2015 was: GRACE!
Here are 10 things I learned about Grace in 2015:
1. Time reveals Truth.
“Walk is if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
It's funny how words can teach us a certain Truth that we could not uncover about ourselves otherwise (reason #4354 why I love words). The word “Grace” did not resonate with me just a few years ago. It requires a lightness of being that only time can teach. And time has taught me to breathe into the space of simply being…to exist in a place of shameless wonder, curiosity, and vulnerable Truth.
From this place, we pour ourselves into our work in the world. We soften at the edges (even when…especially when the world wants to make us hard). We embody Grace when we're…
Tough yet tender.
Soft yet strong.
Ambitious yet aligned.
We embody Grace when we kiss the Earth with our feet (even when daggers are deconstructing our hearts). And so it is. This is Grace. I'm taking you with me into 2016.
2. Consciousness is crucial for the evolution of humanity
“Consciousness” is not just a trendy buzzword (although it's that too). It's crucial for the evolution of humanity. Various levels exist within our consciousness. And at each level, we are offered a different perspective, understanding, and opportunity for growth. Molly McCord explains this concept well in Episode 12 of my podcast, The Art of Humanity, here (also available on iTunes here).
3. Content is the cornerstone for consciousness
Meaningful content sparks a transformation within humanity. When we couple technology with creativity, it inspires a new level of awareness and self-discovery that has never been accessible before. Content allows you to make the absolute best for where you're at in your life now – so that you can bring in more business and manifest dreams for your future.
4. Curiosity fuels content marketing
Curiosity is “a strong desire to know or learn something.” And when you have a strong desire to know or learn about your customers, you can create the most effective content. But curiosity can only come into the picture when you realize that what you're creating is bigger than just you. And it's bigger than your clients. You're creating a new reality for not just you, but for your customers – and, in turn, their customers. It's a beautiful cycle of co-creation that starts with going down the rabbit hole. How far down do you want to go?
5. Artists are paving the way.
Just a few years ago, I would have laughed at this statement. But I'm finding more truth in Art, and Art in Truth than ever. (The upshot to this realization is that it helps my endless existential crises!) And I'm not alone in this realization. According to Fast Company, the set of skills artists learn allows us to be consistently innovative, and come up with new ideas.
The magic happens when we see art and artists as an experience.
But here's the thing: When I use the term “artist” I don't mean the cliche, commercialized ‘art.' I mean the genuinely artistic, brilliant creations that make you think differently. Feel different. Exist different… because you came across a particular piece of writing, painting, or music.
This is the kind of art that leaves you breathless – the kind of art that makes you fall apart in the glory of a foreign melody. It borders on insanity, blurring the edges of brilliance with a breadth that's (almost) unbearable.
6. Make Peace with Duality
This past year, I found myself in so many instances where I needed to breathe, balance, hold on, and let go. I learned how to make peace with duality – and that it's ok to be a paradox. I learned about the inner battle of trying to be a better human. I learned that sometimes Grace means having the grit to let go of things (and people) not meant for me. And the paradox to this is that I don't always get it right. And that's ok. As long as we stretch into the parts of ourselves that aren't perfect and remember to breathe, we can explore. expand. evolve. And that's where the work truly begins…
7. Honest silence speaks louder than fake noise.
8. I'll always choose temporary discomfort over status quo.
This was a hard realization for me this year. I will never be OK with status quo. I've learned (and I'm still learning!) how to use uncertainty as a tool to access more adventure. This means that I constantly let go of things, people, and ideas that no longer serve me. When we cut through the clutter of everything (and everyone!) who isn't meant to be in our lives, we can more easily transform into who we're meant to become.
While this statement may come across as strong in belief (and it is), we're still fragile. And even though it seems like a paradox, our strength is destined to be broken apart. When we let go of the status quo, we simultaneously shed the protective shell that covers us, and our belief systems. Suddenly, it's only compassion and empathy at our core. And in the haunting lyrics of David Bowie, we've “got nothing left to lose.”
9. We are what we eat.
Believe it or not, I learned this in kindergarten (not just last year)! But this is the first year that the meaning of this cliche finally sunk in. 2015 was the year that I became (mostly) vegetarian. I was going to remove this from the list because it can be a bit difficult to talk about going vegetarian without coming across as self-righteous (it depends on the context and tone). We all have our own diets, habits, and lifestyles that work for us, and what works for me may not work for you. But I'm feeling pretty, pretty good these days (random Larry David moment). Sure, I'm nowhere near perfect. But when we're aware of the food that we eat, we can more mindfully evolve in all areas of our life. (If you're interested in learning more about becoming vegetarian, check out the non-profit VOAA.org. (Disclaimer: It's founded by one of my clients).
10. Being a “yoga teacher” doesn't make the human experience any easier.
I became a certified yoga instructor this past year. And now, even though I'm an official “teacher,” I'm more of a student of yoga, a student of life, and a student of humanity than ever. And I'm realizing how little of this world I truly understand.
These days many of us (including myself) are seeking more clarity amid the dichotomies of the heart and mind. Intuition and ego. Our light and our shadows. This leads us to feel a bit melancholy about the endless evolution. (It never ends!)
So, I try to feel gratitude for the ability to find some semblance of peace with who we are today, as humans, in this point in time even when you may not have any answers…especially when you have no answers. Despite how it seems on the surface, it's truly a beautiful thing to be lost in the freedom of the human experience, as we evolve into who we're meant to become.