On My Mind – 33 – Morning Routine and Evening Routine

I wanted to capture this before everything changes again in a few weeks because school will start. I am really loving all the morning time I get right now and I am making the time to do all the things I want to do in my life and I feel really wonderful about that. So I want to make sure to note it all and as we move into September and school and things change, I can see which bits I can incorporate back in.

Right now here’s what happens:

  • 6am – I wake up 
  • 6:15 – I am out the door to work
  • 6:30 – arrive at work and M, W, F, I do Couch 2 5K so I run on the treadmill for around 30 mins.
  • 7am – I have an hour off, I meditate for 10 mins, journal for 20 mins, talk to my mom for 5-10 mins, and depending on the day I also might eat breakfast.
  • 8am – I do Body Pump M, T, W, F and HIIT class on Thursdays (my class on Monday is 7am so i shift everything up to accommodate it.)
  • 9am – I shower and go to my building at work
  • 5pm – I come home and work with the kids, M, W, F is David, T, Th, Sa Nathaniel 
  • 6pm – I do art
  • 7pm – I cook dinner and spend time with Jake 
  • 8pm – Done for the day, I start night routine, wash face, floss, brush teeth, and do vipata karani (if i didn’t get to meditate, i usually do so when I am doing this pose.) I plan to add stretching and rolling for 5 mins each and 1 minute of plank which will hopefully eventually grow to 3 and then 5 mins 🙂 all this takes 15-20 mins total.
  • 8:30pm – in bed with a book 
  • 10pm – lights out

There are exceptions of course and some days I work much later, some days I come home and work more, some days i have meetings that start earlier, some days i have obligations with the kids, etc. But this is all my normal days and I do all the things I want to do. I am super grateful for this routine at the moment. 

Once school starts, my 6-9:30 slot will be broken up, I plan to wake up at 6 and so all the stuff i usually do at work, at home. 6-6:30 run, 6:30-7 meditate, journal. 7:15 leave to take kids to bus, 7:35, drive to work in time for the 8am class. So we’ll see how likely that is to work but we will give it a try. And if it doesn’t, I’ll adjust. I can wake up at 5:30 and I’d rather do that and get my alone time than dig into that time. So we’ll see… 


On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

2018 – Plans and Projects

My goals for the blog in 2017 were specific and routine and that worked relatively well for me. Here’s some of what worked well:

  • Monthly art projects: I did indeed make 20 pieces of art each month. I loved all of them. Some months were really small and none of the months were really big but I loved them all. 
  • Living Intentionally and Weekly Reflection posts were my favorite and helped me stay connected to my goals, keep track of my intentions and remember to shine.
  • Stories from 2017 was a great way to ensure I celebrated at least 52 moments from this year. I love going back to these and re-visiting my year, especially now that I don’t do much scrapbooking.
  • Nourish Me was fantastic, especially after my focus shifted right into nourishing myself heavily in June-ish. 
  • Reading – I read like mad this year. Mostly audiobooks. 
So all in all, 2017 was solid. I painted, I sketched, I took photos, I played with fabric, I painted rocks, I watercolored, I kept a travel journal, I lettered, I did some digital collages, I exercised a lot, ate better than before, I told stories of our life, I reflected and set intentions. I didn’t journal daily but I journaled a bunch. I read a lot. I took photos of us very often. I put this year in the win column. Deeply grateful.
 
For 2018, I decided to keep the same structure, mostly:
  • Monday: Stronger than Before: This is the same as Living Intentionally posts last year. I want to think purposefully each week and set goals, choices, projects for just that week. I try to write these on Sunday nights. These help me be more mindful. They will also help me identify ways in which I can be stronger. I will fold several of the Nourish items into here.
  • Tuesday: Stories from 2018: I did better with these in 2017 so I am optimistic I can continue into 2018. Even if it’s photos and a few words.
  • Wednesday: On My Mind: I miss writing down my thoughts and general reflection so I think I will attempt to do this but I reserve the right to change things up if this becomes too burdensome.
  • Thursday: Books This Week – I will talk about the books I read this week.
  • Friday: Moments from this Week –  This will be a spread in my Happy Planner where I put photos and words from the week.
  • Sunday: Weekly Reflection: This, too, is the same as 2017. These posts help me to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work so I can set proper intentions for the following week.

These are the only weekly projects I will commit to. And even these I might do more irregularly, we’ll see. These all mean something to me and I’d like to do them and I believe almost all are pretty doable. We’ll see what surprises 2018 has in store for me.

For art I’d like to do what I did last year but maybe a bit less: 15 items a month. I don’t have something in my pocket for January so we’ll see where we are. Here are some of the ideas I had last year:

  • Lettering
  • Collage
  • Sketching
  • Doodling/Zentangling
  • Mantras/My Word
  • Art Journaling
  • Quotes
  • Photo a Day
  • Month in the Life?
  • Watercolor Blossoms
  • Faces
  • December Daily
  • Fashion Ladies
  • Line Drawing
  • Chalk Art

All of these might happen, none of them might happen. I might repeat projects. I might do wildly different things. I will see if I can do something. 

Here’s to a wonderful 2018.  Here’s to doing more art. Here’s to making time to enjoy art. Here’s to learning new things. Here’s to practicing more. Here’s to reflecting. Being intentional. Creating a positive cycle. Here’s to getting stronger each day.

2018 – Core Desired Feelings

 

As with all the previous years, I knew I wanted to pick my core desired feelings this year, too. If you want to know more about core desired feelings, please go to my post from 2016 and you can see the links there.

I was struggling at the end of this year and didn’t feel ready for new core desires. But I also didn’t really feel the need to keep my existing ones. So I woke up early one morning and even though I was feeling apathetic and no desire to do the exercises, I decided to give it a go anyway. And as they always do, they worked.

I mentioned last year that there’s a pattern to my words: I always pick something around peacefulness, something around being brave, something around being open, and then maybe a few new ones. So this year I was curious if I would break the trend.

Here’s what I came up with this year and what they each mean to me:

  • Fresh: Maybe this is my brave word for this year. Fresh to me means something that’s new to me, something that stretches me, helps me grow and learn. Something that keeps me engaged and makes me feel alive. Something different. An adventure. A permission to explore. I was going to call this alive and then engaged but I found myself coming back to fresh again and again so fresh it is.
  • Magical: I love this word. This one, too, took a while. I wanted to have it be wonder, or joy but I really feel the word magical in my bones. It’s feeling inspiring, joyful, awed, grateful, adventurous and love all rolled up in one. That incredible, magical feeling. 
  • Lighter: This is my peacefulness word this year. I want things to feel easy, unburdened, calm, free and kind. I want to put down the load I carry around. Less rush. Slower. Lighter. Easier. Maybe this is also my word around being open. Feeling light and not heavy, open and not constricted.
  • True: I want everything I do to feel true to me. True to who I know myself to be in my heart. True to the best version of me. This feeling is like solid, belonging, knowing, peace, deliberate. This is how I feel when I know something is right. 

So there we are.

I love all of these. Most importantly, I can immediately connect with the feeling I get when I say these words. I feel them in my bones. Which is the sign that they are the right words for me right now. I want to feel all of them and I want to make a point to look at my life and my choices through these lenses next year. Here’s to a fresh, magical, lighter and true 2018!

2018 – Stronger than Before

As with every year, I kept an ongoing list for my possible words in 2018. I tend to start this list around February because sometimes ideas come to me early in the year and I want to track them for different reasons. Throughout the year, different words feel like winners. They feel like they have potential. Here’s a peek at this year’s list:

  • strong
  • open
  • light (not heavy) – lighten
  • fresh
  • balance
  • tend
  • calm
  • alive
  • whole
  • belonging

 

Here is a reminder for my rules for picking a word:

  1. I don’t want to pick a word for something I wish I were. Like “easy” or “calm.” I feel that when I pick a word that’s likely to make me feel intimidated, I spend most of the year feeling bad about letting myself down. The word should push/encourage me but it shouldn’t be aspirational. It should be inspirational.
  2. I loved my 2015 word (brave) so much that I feel I am always trying to find a word that will be as magical as brave was for me. I am learning that I will just have to carry brave around with me forever and not worry about having such a powerful word each time. One of the gifts of brave was that I realized how brave I already was. It was a perspective-shifting word.
  3. Some words are more action oriented (like brave, adventure, nourish) and some are more introspective (like easy, equable, magic) and what I want is a combination of both.

As it seems to be my trend lately, I picked my word around July. Even though I went back and forth many times and I am still finding myself wavering at times, I’ve settled on STRONG for 2018.

This word came to me from several different angles: physical, mental, and emotional. I feel like I am in a good place at the moment and I want to build on this momentum to really take the time and strengthen areas of my life that I care about and want to focus on. Strong also has the potential to propel me like brave did so I am hoping it’s as impactful a word. 

 

I made a list of some of the mottos I want to carry with me as I move my way through this year and towards a version of me that’s stronger than before. Many of these are inspired by the 13 things mentally strong people don’t do article.

Here they are, ways to be mentally, emotionally, and physically strong:

  1. Let Go of the Past: There is no need to hold on to the parts of me that don’t serve me or make me stronger. The past is in the past and I’ve already learned all the lessons it was here to offer me. It’s time to let it go and face forward. Each day is a new one and I get to decide who I choose to be on that day. The deal is: I do, I reflect, I learn, I do better.
  2. Take More Risks: This is not stupid risks like jumping off a cliff and hoping nothing happens. This is calculated risks. Pushing outside of my comfort zone. Finding the boundaries and then stretching them a bit. This is how I get stronger.
  3. Embrace Change: I don’t like change but so what? I can’t stop it from happening. Life is constant change and 90% of it is outside my control. So my plan this year is to do a 180 here. I embrace change. Bring it on!
  4. Create Boundaries: This is a really important one.  If I don’t create my boundaries, people will create them for me. If I don’t decide my hours of work, people will call me at all hours. If I don’t decide who gets to hurt me, everyone will. Boundaries means I am self aware and I am intentional about my life. 
  5. Choose Whom to Please: Similar to my boundaries, if I try to please everyone, i please no one. I need to prioritize and I need to consciously choose who matters. Everyone doesn’t matter equally.
  6. Learn More and Deeper: I love learning. Love love love. But I feel I am often too busy to build this into my life properly. Too lazy to really stick with things and too interested in too many things. One of my goals this year is to decide where I want to go deep. I don’t want to stay on the surface.
  7. Believe in Abundance: It’s very easy for me to fall into the scarcity mindset. It’s easy for me to feel small, scared, and worried. I don’t want to do this. Being stronger here means believing in abundance. Giving freely. Knowing there are many pies to go around. And knowing that was you give out comes back to you many-fold.
  8. Show Up:  I should have put this one first. Because it’s the first rule of life, in my opinion. You must show up. Show up for your people. Show up at the gym. Show up for yourself. Show up at work. Show up at the school. Show up at a social event. Show up.
  9. Try Harder: My hope is that strong will show me what trying harder looks like. Can I give a little more? Am I really trying my hardest? Does my hardest change with time? Effort?
  10. Keep Going: The other big rule about getting stronger (and about life) is that we don’t give up. We show up. We try. We try harder. We rest. We keep going. We always keep going. Never, ever give up.
  11. Choose Joy: Because really, that’s the point of life. Joy. Abundant joy. I want to choose gratitude because it’s my path to joy.
  12. Sit with It: Being Emotionally strong means living the length and the width of your life. Feeling all the feelings. Not hiding, not burying, not ignoring. Sitting with it, letting it pass through me. The only way out is always through. 
  13. Make Mistakes (and Learn from Them): If I am not making mistakes, I am not trying new things. If I am not trying new things, I am not growing. There are very (very) few mistakes that are unrecoverable in life. Being stronger means taking more chances. Taking more chances means making more mistakes. So I make mistakes and then take the time to learn from them. Like I mentioned above:  I do, I reflect, I learn, I do better.
  14. Live your Values: Being strong means being who I am. Knowing who I am and honoring that. Each time I see one of my coaching clients struggle, it’s because their life is not aligned with their values. So here’s to living with my values of unconditional love, learning, peace, service, and gratitude.

So there we go. Here’s to a year of strength. Here’s to a stronger me in 2018!

Unraveling the Year Ahead – 2018

I want to start by saying that this, too, is going to be a VERY long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2016 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2017 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2018 into two posts. This is part II, the 2017 reflections are here. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

  • First, choose a word to guide you through the next 12 months. Pick a word that makes you feel expanded. Encouraged. Inspired. There’s no right or wrong answer so go with your gut. What’s your Word for 2018? My word for 2018 is strong.
  • If you lived and breathed your Word every day in 2018, what would be different for you? I would feel so much stronger both emotionally and mentally and I would look, feel and be stronger physically. I would feel proud of myself. I would stand in my power.
  • List some ways you are already experiencing or embodying this Word: I am showing up to exercise daily. I am doing strength training 3 times a week. I am strong when it comes to showing up for my people, my work. I am strong in my convictions. I am strong in my morals.
  • What could you do this year to bring more of your Word into your world? I bought a bracelet and a ring. I will buy something red to remind myself. I will also change my passwords.
  • Choose four extra words to support your Word this year. They could be anything from inspiring words to names of people to things you want to invest in...My extra words are my core desired feelings. They are: fresh, lighter, wonder, true
  • What are you looking forward to in 2018? Getting physically stronger. Changing my relationship with food. Also working on my emotional strength.
  • What are you feeling apprehensive about? Not being able to change things enough. Not giving up my bad habits around food. Not spending enough time with self-care.
  • What life lessons are you taking with you into 2018? That my life is magical and full of wonder. That I am incredibly lucky and surrounded by incredibly supportive people who want the best for me.
  • What area of your life do you most want to develop in 2018? Physical self. I want to be comfortable in my body and I love the idea of doing it through getting fitter. I want to be strong. I also want to fundamentally change how and what I eat. I made a lot of progress in 2017, I want to lock that in and make it permanent.
  • What part of yourself do you yearn to nurture in 2018? My idea of myself. I want to see myself differently. I want to own who I am and become the best version of myself. Stronger version of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.
  • Fast-forward to December 2018. You’re sitting in a cafe?, musing over the last 12 months. Where do you want to be…
  • in your head? (work, dreams, goals) I want to be scaling up the quality of my work and create processes that can scale. I want to develop relationships with leadership and add value to all of my teams. I want to think of myself in a way that allows me to show up without hesitation. I also want to listen better and talk less.
  • in your heart? (relationships, family, friends) I want to make sure to prioritize people who matter the most to me. I want to develop deeper friendships with the Tamara, Kelly and Leslie. I want to make good friends in Nathaniel’s class. I want to continue to foster my friendships with Evelyn and work friends. I want to put my family first. Support my nephews. Talk to my sister more. Go on regular date nights with Jake. Continue teaching the kids. Continue taking photos.
  • in your soul? (beliefs, practices, self-love) I want to get stronger in my sense of self. In my ability to be okay with who I already am, in drawing boundaries. In choosing to spend my time in ways that are most meaningful to me.
  • in your physical world? (home, health, hobbies) I want to continue to buy flowers. Continue to exercise daily, and start doing it at home, too. Add massage at work. Do more consistent self-care. Eat way way better and drink a ton of water. I want to do more art but only when it gives me joy. Continue the new way of scrapping that I am loving.
  • Okay, let’s take it up a notch. Use this page to describe what 2018 looks like in your ideal world. Be specific! What are your dreams for love this year? Work? Play? Where are you hungry for change? How do you want 2018 to FEEL? Use your answers from the previous pages to craft your ideal vision for the next 12 months. What would saying YES to your life look and feel like? Write out everything your heart desires for this new year. Be bold. I am exercising every single morning. I am drinking a lot of water and taking care of my skin, my hair, my teeth. I am feeling strong and healthy and alive. I am trying new things that feel fresh to me, I am appreciating the wonder in my life. I am choosing what to spend time on and loving the time I spend on it. I am feeling positively about my choices. I am spending a lot of time with Jake. And with my kids. I am talking to my nephews regularly. I am working hard. I am teaching my kids. I am reading. I am resting. I am showing up for life.

 

 

  • List 3 unhelpful beliefs about yourself you’re ready to release

 

      1. I am not strong physically. I hate exercise.
      2. I can’t quit XX where XX is any particular food. I can quit and add anything I want!
      3. I am not enough.

 

  • List 3 duties or commitments you feel ready to let go of in 2018

 

      1. No more lit club after this school year is over.
      2. No more Math Circle.
      3. Maybe no TV?
  • List 3 skills you’d like to learn or improve in 2018
    1. Math, I want to do even more math with my kids.
    2. Drawing, sketching, art in general.
    3. Science. Both my kids are into science and I know practically nothing.
  • List 3 books you intend to read this year: Lol. I read 280+ this year so I am not going to worry about reading at least three this year.
  • How could you bring more calm into your life (and head) this year? More journaling. Quiet moments in the morning and evening. Taking much more time out. Muting when on VC.
  • List 3 things about yourself you positively love
    1. My willingness to show up.
    2. My desire to learn more and more and more.
    3. How much I love the people I love.
  • List 3 ways you could be kinder to your body this year
    1. Take care of my skin + teeth.
    2. Massage my body and release my muscles + stretch more.
    3. Take Yoga and Pilates to increase flexibility.
  • List 3 ways you could connect with loved ones in 2018
    1. Regular date nights with Jake.
    2. Biweekly check-ins with my nephews.
    3. Weekly meeting with a friend.
  • List 3 people you could extend compassion to
    1. Myself.
    2. My kids. Much more compassion and kindness.
    3. People who annoy me. I want to be much more compassionate towards people I usually am short with. I want to assume the best of everyone.
  • How could you bring more love into your life this year? By choosing joy. Assuming the best. Realizing that things always work out because I try harder and harder until they do. Realizing the magic that is my life. Being grateful. Paying attention to the support I have. Being thankful.
  • List 3 interests/hobbies you would like to explore more in 2018
    1. Rock climbing
    2. Does journaling count? I want to do it much more regularly.
    3. Taking online classes. Or maybe even in person ones!
  • List 3 ways you could feed your imagination this year
    1. Try new things. Fresh things.
    2. Go on adventures. Travel. Especially to places I’ve never been to.
    3. Read different books (things I wouldn’t typically pick up.)
  • List 3 ways you could bring more passion into your world this year
    1. Show up and be fully present
    2. Care deeply about one thing. Do something about it
    3. Speak up more. Bring awareness.
  • List 3 dreams you would like to manifest this year (personal or professional)
    1. I’d like to be really much stronger. Be able to do pushups with ease.
    2. I’d love to have handful of really close friendships
    3. I’d love to deepen my relationship with Jake even further.
  • How could you bring more creative energy into your life this year? I would like to journal more. I’d love to bring back my sketching habit, not sure if I can but I would love to. I still love looking at those sketches. I’d love to do another 100-day project.
  • List 3 ways you could bring more mindfulness to your mornings
    1. Take 15 minutes to journal each morning.
    2. Take 5 minutes to meditate.
    3. Exercise first thing in the morning. (continue to wake up at 6am!)

 

 

  • List 3 ways you could cherish your home this year
    1. Buy flowers!
    2. Fill my house with twinkly lights.
    3. Buy sheets that we love for each of us. Decorate our rooms to feel more our own. Put our family photos into frames.
  • List 3 ways you could connect more deeply with nature in 2018
    1. Take weekly walks and monthly trips to water.
    2. I still would love to take hikes.
    3. I think I’d like to swim more this year, too. Need to think about this one more.
  • List 3 places in your city, town or neighbourhood you want to explore
    1. The city. We definitely don’t go there enough.
    2. Marin. Especially the headlands.
    3. Go to the woods more. Learn new hikes.
  • How could you bring a sense of groundedness into your life this year?  The easiest way to ground, for me, is through journaling. Sitting in the back yard with some tea. Watching the water.  Taking a moment to be grateful.
  • Using your favourite tarot or oracle deck, draw one card for the overall theme of the upcoming year and then a card for each month of 2018. Tip: I like to shufle 3 or 4 packs together to give the reading even greater scope. If you don’t have any decks go to www.susannahconway.com/ cards to see my favourite decks and app recommendations.

I am not into Tarot Decks and I did this last year and found it not to be that inspiring or interesting. However, back in 2013, our January OLW assignment involved setting intentions and I really enjoyed that, so I thought maybe I can do that instead.

  • January: Strong Silent Type: Your challenge this month is to speak less, listen more. How can you influence with fewer words. At work, at home, even in your own head. Pause one more beat before replying. Mute the VC. Wait six seconds. Do what it takes to give this a try.
  • February: Physically Strong: This is your month. Get out there and get strong. Increase the weights. Add more cardio. Make a plan. You can do this. You have it in you.
  • March: Party Strong: This month is for celebrating. You’ve worked hard, they’ve worked hard. Everyone’s working hard. Make sure to pause and celebrate. Have a party. Take a moment daily and pat yourself in the back. Pat your loved ones in the back, too.
  • April: Emotionally Strong: This is the time to work on being a better version of you. And loving you. Loving what is.  Respond and don’t react. Journal more.
  • May: Quietly Strong: How can you bring more calm into this month? May is chaotic with lots of endings and transitions. Celebrate but also stay calm. Stay grounded. What will help here?
  • June: A Stronger You: This month involves travel. Kids at home. Lots of chaos and also wonderful. It will challenge you and you will use the time to get stronger. You will also focus on yourself as needed. Take walks. Self care.
  • July: Mentally Strong: Time to learn some new things. How can you grow intellectually? What classes do you want to take? What do you want to teach the kids?
  • August: Shine Strong: This month is for showing up. Show up at work. Show up with the kids. Show up as we close out the summer and start a new school year. Let your light shine on everyone you meet this month.
  • September: Love Strong: This month is hard. There are transitions, new schedules and more. Use this month to think about what it would look like to love more. Love yourself more: more self-care and kindness. What boundaries can help you? Love Jake more: what’s something you can do for the two of you? Love your kids more: How can you help them with the transition?
  • October: Stronger than Before: Here’s your chance to give it one last push before the year’s over. Where are you still wanting to be stronger? How can you help yourself get stronger than before? How can you take things one notch higher? One notch deeper?
  • November: Stronger Together: Time to enjoy the company of others. Go out and socialize. Appreciate the community you have. Spend time with your family. Bask in the joy of friendships+community+family. What’s one thing you can do to appreciate your people?
  • December:  Rest Stronger: And finally here we are. You’ve worked hard all year and gave it your all. Time to rest. You pushed yourself to get stronger and now you need to rest so you can be ready for 2019.
  • 2018 will be the year I finally get strong in my body.
  • I will nourish myself with a lot of water and vegetables.
  • I will make more time for eating healthy and exercise.
  • I will recharge my batteries by resting, massage, and exercise.
  • This year I will open my heart to peace with my body.
  • I will pay more attention to my boundaries.
  • I will learn more about:
    1. Science: as much as I can.
    2. My body: how to make it stronger, how to take care of it.
    3. Who I am. I will pay attention to what I do and what I say and what my values are and own who I am.
  • I will release my attachment to chocolate. The past. Coffee. Things + people who don’t nourish me.
  • I wish for 2018 to feel strong, baby! Ligther, full of wonder, fresh and new, and true. And brave, always brace.
  • This year I will say NO to things that don’t nourish my body, soul, mind, heart.
  • This year I will say YES to living life fully.

I wholeheartedly believe that everything is possible in 2018!

 

Like last year, as I finish these words I went back to some of my previous blog posts and I am not surprised that I mention many of these same thoughts here, here, and here. I am pretty sure these themes have been in my life in some way or another for many years. I know that they will likely still be around in 2018 and 2019 and onward. What I’d like to do this year is to make a dent. To move things forward a little bit. Every forward step I take moves me in the right direction and that’s all I can ask for.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine stepping into the shoes of you from December 2018, one year from now. You are one year older and one year wiser and you’ve lived every day of 2018 fully and completely. You have a message of encouragement about 2018. There’s stuff you want to share… stuff you’re eager to tell yourself. When you’re ready, open your eyes, pick up your pen, and write a letter from your future self, starting with Dear Karen: Congratulations. Here’s to one more year in your magical life. I am so proud of how hard you try, how much you show up. Keep going, you got this!

Unraveling – Goodbye to 2017

I want to start by saying that this is going to be a long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2016 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2016 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2017 into two posts. This is part I, the 2017 post will show up here later this week. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

Before we start unravelling 2018, let’s take a moment to look back over the last twelve months. Maybe there were lots of changes for you in 2017. Maybe it’s been a year of growing or nesting or exploring or letting go. Whatever’s happened this year it’s got you to this point, right now. Exactly where you’re meant to be. Pick up your pen and let’s do some digging.

  • First of all, did you have a word for 2017? Yes, it was shine.
  • If you did, how did your word help to guide you through the last 12 months? Can you think of any specific examples? Thanks to my weekly reflection posts, I thought of ways I shined each week. It helped guide me in the kind of person I wanted to be for my kids, for my friends, for my husband, and for myself. It helped me do things I wouldn’t have had the courage to do.
  • What did you embrace in 2017? exercise!
  • What did you let go of in 2017? One thing I let go of was not doing difficult trips. We decided to take a trip to Australia, and I was really worried about taking trips, especially ones that were this involved but the trip went swimmingly. We had a wonderful time and now I really want to take more big trips together.
  • What changed for you in 2017? My job changed a bit. Nathaniel started a new school so our routines changed. But most significantly, I started exercising every single week day.
  • What did you discover about yourself in 2017? That I can quit most of the foods I eat. That eating veggies+protein work fine for me, actually. I just have to do the work.
  • What were you most grateful for in 2017? This was a big year for gratitude for me. I am most grateful for Jake. He supported me and had my back all year. I’m also grateful for the incredible support of my parents. My manager. My friends. And of course my kids.
  • When did fear hold you back in 2017? I almost didn’t go for the promotion, twice. I still can’t ride a bike. I am still too scared to do many things.
  • Where did you practice bravery in 2017? I went for the promotion, twice. I showed up for my kids again and again.
  • What surprised you in 2017? My sister coming here for two-weeks. It was such a gift.
  • What made you smile in 2017? Family photos. I adore them.
  • What conclusions did you reach in 2017? That I am deeply, deeply grateful for my life. I am incredibly lucky. And feel full of wonder.
  • Let’s think about your ACCOMPLISHMENTS in 2017. List three things that went really well this year — personally or professionally, what are you most proud of? For each accomplishment, consider the following: What skills helped you make it happen? How has your life changed? What have you learned about yourself? How did you celebrate or acknowledge your accomplishment? (If you didn’t, how could you next time?)

 

    1. I got promoted.
    2. I helped Nathaniel get into a new school.
    3. I prioritized health for all of us: better lunches for the kids, exercise daily for me, generally more nutritious eating for me, too.

I learned that I am stronger than I think. I learned that persistence matters most. I learned that if you show up and do the work, things happen. I learned that I have a lot of people in my life who support me and want what’s best for me. I learned that I am lucky.

Life’s not very different for work but routines are very different because of the other two. I didn’t celebrate any of these enough. I have to do better with celebrations.

 

  • Now let’s look at your CHALLENGES. List three situations that have tested your limits and patience this year. The big or the small — whatever challenged you the most in 2017 (there may be more than three so go with whatever comes to mind first) For each challenge, consider the following: How did you deal with the challenge? Did you discover any new tools or allies that could help you again in the future? How has your life changed? What have you learned about yourself? (If you’re still working through a particular challenge, what outcome would feel good to you?)

 

    1. When I didn’t get the promotion the first time, it was pretty rough.
    2. Food continues to be challenging.
    3. Being patient and kind to the people I love the most also continues to be challenging.

I don’t deal with it well. I usually deal with it by beating myself up. I did discover a wonderful new friend who encouraged me to never give up. She was the biggest reason I tried again. Having some control over both 2 and 3 will feel good to me. I plan to read books for both so I can come up with some strategies.

 

  • Describe your favourite day, moment or occasion of 2017 in words and pictures. What did it taste like? Smell like? Sound like? Who was (or wasn’t) there? Where were you? What were you doing? What was awesome about it? And most importantly, how did you feel? Hmm this year, too, was full of wonderful days. But the one that’s coming to me in this moment is my birthday. Even though I was quite rude and cranky with Jake on that day, when I look back on it now, it was such a wonderful day. I got to be with my sister and I got to eat at this wonderful restaurant and be in the city. I got to be with two of my favorite people on the earth and have a lovely meal. I also loved Jake’s birthday which was also in the city and involved a lovely meal but that day also involved a shopping spree at Allbirds and Athleta which proved to be a bit lifechanging for me.

 

 

  • Gentleness alert! Did anything happen in 2017 that needs to be forgiven? Maybe it was something someone did or said to you. Maybe it was something you did or said to someone else — or to yourself? Maybe you feel you let yourself down in some way. Here’s the thing — we are all beautifully fallible human beings doing the best that we can with the tools that we have, so where can you give the gift of forgiveness to yourself or to another? Well the food was in such good control for a while so I was proud of myself but right now I’d say it’s easily the most frustrating thing on my mind. I also do still wish I were more on top of my schedule and life. I feel like I am doing too much but I am not willing to give up any one thing so I need to drill down deeper to each thing I do and understand the commitment, what I get out of it, what’s hard about it, etc. So I can be wiser in my choices.I did a tiny amount of this, this year and it helped identify things I decided to quit doing.
  • So we’ve dug into our accomplishments and challenges, remembered our favourite moments and considered who we need to forgive. Now I invite you to close your eyes for a moment and think about 2017 as a whole. As you cast your mind back over the last 365 days, consider the gifts that 2017 offered you on your life’s journey…What stands out the most? What really mattered? What stands out the most is overwhelming gratitude. This year has been a miracle. So many good things: promotion, new school, wonderful vacations, time with sister, deeper friendships, falling in love with my husband daily, incredibly supportive parents, the perfect manager. I am just so so grateful. Here are some things I did:

 

 

 

  1. I helped Nathaniel get into and transition to a new school.
  2. I helped prepare David for the SATs
  3. I continued to support many teams across Seattle and Sydney, I took three trips to Seattle and three trips to Sydney.
  4. I got promoted.
  5. As a family: we went to Tahoe, Los Angeles, Idaho, Cairns and Sydney
  6. David and his team won Outstanding Journal in the Tech Challenge.
  7. I mentored several women in my organization.
  8. I volunteered in the kids’ school with the Math Circle, Lit Club, and STEM Fair.
  9. I am taking a Calculus class with David and a Python class with Nathaniel.

  10.  

    I exercised every week day starting in July.

  11. I changed the way I eat completely, quit soda, and started more self care.
  12. I go to bed 10pm and wake up 6am every week day.
  13. I read multiple college essays for multiple friends’ kids.

     

  14. I make hundreds of healthy lunches for my kids.

  15. I took many online classes including: OLW, glow, advent of light, 4 brene classes, wholehearted artist, mapmaker
  16. I read over 280 books.
  17. Spent two weeks with my sister visiting, ten days with my parents and three days with my nephew.
  18. I made over 240 pieces of art this year. (20 a month.)

It’s been a full year. I am deeply grateful.

  • Describe 2017 in 3 words: grateful, exercise, supported

 

  • If the events of 2017 were made into a film or a book, what would it be called? A Full Life.
  • Before we finish with 2017, take a few minutes to write out anything else you need to say to the old year in the box below. You might like to say some nal goodbyes and thank yous…Like last year, this was another year where I had a rich and layered life. I made some wonderful friends this year that I hope to keep for life. I deepend other friendships. I fell in love with my husband all over again. I worked and played with each of my kids. I supported my nephews in their college journeys. I worked really hard. I spent time exercising daily. I journaled. I took care of myself. I took care of others. I showed up. Again and again and again I showed up. I am so incredibly grateful for my life. Thank you 2017 for all your gifts. You’ve been an extraordinary year and I am deeply grateful for all your gifts.

 

THANK YOU 2017 YOU ARE NOW COMPLETE!

 

Weekly Reflection 2017 – 32

How I shone this week: This has been a tough week emotionally, physically, mentally and psychologically. I ended up spending almost the entire week at work and I had to work to continue to be my best self. I made it through the week but I know the next few weeks will continue to be challenging since there are many more conversations to be had before my workplace feels the way I want it to feel. But nonetheless, i did make healthy lunches for my kiddos every day and they each did work and played every day, too. I journaled quite a bit and of course exercised. So if I weren’t already on this path to really nourish myself, it would have been a much tougher week.  

Things I wanted to get Done:

  • Work: figure out a better system for email.
  • Work: review round two of september.
  • Work: get through C day planned. 
  • Work: create dashboard.
  • Work: send biweekly.
  • Personal: exercise 6/7 days.
  • Personal: continue eating clean.
  • Personal: check in for taxes
  • Personal: sign david up.  
  • Personal: Journal regularly.
  • Personal: Do mapmaker #3 and OLW August.
  • Family: spend time together.
  • Family: Buy things for kids’ rooms.
  • Work: I did not figure out a solution for email just yet. I did review round 2 and i did get through C day and I sent the biweekly. Did not create dashboard yet.
  • Personal: exercised. ate clean.  didn’t do the taxes but did sign up david also did olw august and mapmaker 3. i journaled, too.
  • Family: i bought things for the kids’ rooms and but i did poorly on the spend time together.

I celebrate: making it through this week.

I am grateful for: my husband. i say this a lot but i don’t say it enough.

I nourished myself by: resting as much as possible this week.

Reflecting on my worries: i exercised, i ate well. i am still a small bit behind but getting there. the effort i put in will still matter to me. kids seem to be okay. i am journaling. more some days. but still. all is ok so far.

I let go of: being as productive as i would have liked to be this week.

Core Desire Check-in (bold, mindful, nourish, love):

  • bold: i did 3 body pump classes this week and some cardio. i spoke my mind in a meeting with a lot of executives. i said yes even when i was scared to. 
  • mindful: mindful that i am feeling a lot of feelings.
  • nourish: preparing to be nourishing on the go.
  • love: i love feeling full most of the day.

What made me laugh this week: a late night meeting at work.

What I tolerated this week: feeling sore and tired and emotionally mixed at work.

My mood this week was: frustrated. 
I forgive myself for:  getting distracted with news at work.
What I love right now:  i love the summer days. i wish we could have them go on for a bit longer.

Here’s to a lovely week 33. Here’s to another great week of shining!

2017 – Plans and Projects

My goals for the blog in 2016 were relatively contained and that worked relatively well for me. Here’s some of what worked well:

  • Monthly art projects: I did indeed make 20 pieces of art each month. I loved all of them. Some months were really small and none of the months were really big but I loved them all.
  • Living Intentionally and Weekly Reflection posts were my favorite and even though I have some 15 weeks off in the middle of the year, I loved doing these and feel that they were the strongest contributors to my year of choosing wisely.
  • Stories from 2016 were lovely. Intermittent at times but I have 46 stories that would otherwise have never been told.
  • Today I Choose was a bust. I just didn’t have the time to do the sketches or even the journaling. This was lovely while it lasted but I couldn’t keep up.
  • Reading – well this one wasn’t a problem. Actually it sort of was in a different way but more on that in another post.
So all in all, 2016 wasn’t terrible considering the goals I had. I sketched, lettered and used a lot of watercolors. I worked on my health some but really nowhere nearly enough. I reflected and set intentions. I didn’t journal daily. I didn’t paint enough but I told some stories. I didn’t take enough photos but I read a lot. You win some, you lose some.
Areas to Improve:
  • Nutrition, exercise, self-care
  • Schedule

Reflection:

  • OLW & Core Desired Feelings – how much I am honoring them
  • Daily journaling

Things that Make me Happy:

  • art time
  • photos and telling our stories
  • reading
For 2017, I decided to keep the same structure, sort of, with more of a set focus on my core desired feelings.
  • Monday: Living Intentionally: This is the same as last year. I want to think purposefully each week and set goals, choices, projects for just that week. I try to write these on Sunday nights. These help me be more mindful. They will also help me identify ways in which I can shine.
  • Tuesday: Stories from 2017: I will give this one more try in 2017. Let’s see if I can do it. I think it will also help me take more photos from my life. It helps me feel grateful and present.
  • Wednesday: Nourish – This is something I want to make a main focus in 2017 so I want to do reflection specifically around ways I am choosing to nourish my mind, body and soul. I plan to have a specific format for this.
  • Thursday: Books This Week – I will talk about the books I read this week. Or recently. If I haven’t read anything new, I’ll talk about something else. Maybe what I want to read? 🙂
  • Friday: Weekly Reflection: This, too, is the same as 2016. These posts help me to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work so I can set proper intentions for the following week.

These are the only weekly projects I will commit to. And even these I might do more irregularly, we’ll see. These all mean something to me and I’d like to do them and I believe almost all are pretty doable. We’ll see what surprises 2017 has in store for me.

For art I’d like to do what I did last year.  20 items a month. I don’t have something in my pocket like I usually do for January so we’ll see if I can hit the ground running this year but I will do the best I can. Here are some preliminary ideas of some themes I might do.

  • Lettering
  • Collage
  • Sketching
  • Doodling/Zentangling
  • Mantras/My Word
  • Art Journaling
  • Quotes
  • Photo a Day
  • Month in the Life?
  • Watercolor Blossoms
  • Faces
  • December Daily
  • Fashion Ladies
  • Line Drawing
  • Chalk Art

All of these might happen, none of them might happen. I might repeat projects. I might do wildly different things. I commit to doing something but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Here’s to a wonderful 2017.  Here’s to doing more art. Here’s to making time to enjoy art. Here’s to learning new things. Here’s to practicing more. Here’s to reflecting. Being intentional. Creating a positive cycle. Here’s to shining inside and out.

2017 – Core Desired Feelings

 

As with all the previous years, I knew I wanted to pick my core desired feelings this year, too. If you want to know more about core desired feelings, please go to my post from last year and you can see the links there.

I struggled with the process this year because I realized that I walked into the process with some attachment. I’d already picked a few words that I wasn’t willing to give up and I don’t think that’s how this is supposed to go. Unlike how I felt in 2015, I was ready to let go of my words from this year. Maybe that’s because I focused on them a lot more this year than I ever did before, thanks to my weekly intention posts.

Even though I was feeling a weird attachment and no desire to do the exercises, I decided to give it a go anyway. I told myself that I would do it and see if anything emerged.

And of course it did. Because when I do these exercises, things always emerge.

I am learning that there’s a pattern to my words each year. I always pick something around peacefulness, something around being brave, something around being open, and then maybe a few new ones.

Here’s what I came up with this year and what they each mean to me:

  • Bold: This is my brave word for this year. I want to be bold. Take adventures. Be strong. Speak up. Take chances. Try new things. Take myself to the edges of my discomfort. Be willing to fail. Live in full color. I want to show up to my life. I want to always be pushing my boundaries. I think this lines up with shine wonderfully. Bold helps me go big. Be my bravest self.
  • Mindful: I struggled with this word a lot. This started as easy. Mostly because I so deeply wish I were easy. I wish I wasn’t one of those people who needs to have certain things go exactly how I want it. I wish I wasn’t neurotic in some of the ways I am. I wish I were easier going. But I think that’s not what core desired feelings are for. At least not for me. Then I switched this to serene but I’ve had that before and that’s not the word I feel drawn to this time. I then thought of content which is my favorite feeling. Which then led me to google what the opposite of worry is. Because really what I want to feel is not worried. So then came this pot of gold. Mindful. Here’s what the article said: “Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad.” Yes. This is what I want. To be present in this moment. To pay attention to this moment. To soak in it.  I want to feel mindful. Be fully here and now.
  • Nourished: This one feels a bit like a catchall but honestly this was the one I just couldn’t put down. I want to feel nourished all over this year. Mind, body and soul. I want to feel strong in my body, I want to feel engaged in my mind, I want to feel alive in my soul. I want to feed myself healthy food both literally and figuratively. I want to walk away from everything toxic into everything nutritious.
  • Love: This one came to me as I sat to write this post. I looked at all the words I’d written as part of doing the exercise and everything seemed to have a home except for words like generous, worth it, valued, kind, giving, contributing, etc. So I wanted something that encompassed all. And love is the one that came to me. I want to feel love. Love for myself. I want to show the love I feel to the people around me more. Focus on the love. Give it. Generously. I think this, too, goes wonderfully with shine.

So there we are. Even though they still fall within the themes I seem to have each year, all of these feel new to me in their own way and I like them all. I want to feel all of them. And that’s what Core Desired Feelings is all about. Here’s to feeling bold, mindful, nourished and love in 2017.

 

2017 – My Year to Shine

As with every year, I kept an ongoing list for my possible words in 2017. I tend to start this list around February because sometimes ideas come to me early in the year and I want to track them for different reasons. Throughout the year, different words feel like winners. They feel really strong. Here’s a peek at this year’s list:

  • alive**
  • shine*
  • seek*
  • magic?
  • shift
  • begin
  • equable***
  • easy*
  • equanimity
  • release
  • adventure**
  • learn
  • magic
  • kind
  • beginner
  • create**
  • build
  • forward
  • nourish**
  • rise
  • strong**
  • wild**
  • wise

The ones with the stars were ones I kept coming back to a few times. I have a tough time choosing words for several reasons.

  1. I don’t want to pick a word for something I wish I were. Like “easy.” I feel that when I pick a word that’s likely to make me feel intimidated, I spend most of the year feeling bad about letting myself down. The word should push/encourage me but it shouldn’t be aspirational. It should be inspirational.
  2. I loved my 2015 word (brave) so much that I feel I am always trying to find a word that will be as magical as brave was for me. I am learning that I will just have to carry brave around with me forever and not worry about having such a powerful word each time.
  3. Some words are more action oriented (like brave, adventure, nourish) and some are more introspective (like easy, equable, magic) and what I want is a combination of both.

As it seems to be my trend lately, I picked my word many many months before the year started. Even though I went back and forth many times and I am still finding myself wavering at times, I’ve settled on SHINE for 2017.

This word is coming from a story I mentioned a while back. Back when I was training to be a life coach, in one of my classes, we did a visualization exercise called The Captain. During my exercise, I was sitting in the woods (peaceful, quiet woods) when this little girl (who looked like me) came over to me and gave me a box. Inside the box was light. When I opened it, it shone everywhere, it filled the forest up. She said it was my light and that she was a reminder to let my light shine and that I was here to also be the reflection for others’ light so I can show them how their light is shining, too.

I know it sounds corny. But this is what happened when I did the exercise and I haven’t stopped thinking about it even though it was quite a few years ago, now. So when I was thinking about my word, I decided this was my year to shine (and help others shine).

I was tempted to choose light for my word this year because it feels easier. And it has so much room for multiple meanings. Shine sounds selfish and like being the center of attention. I don’t like either of those things. But I reminded myself that the girl told me to shine. So I decided to stick with it and understand this word a bit better. Here’s what shine means to me:

  1. Heal: To shine means I will focus on healing the parts of me that feel broken. To see myself as whole and enough. It means I am going to work on remembering that I have this big source of light inside me and that part of me overshadows everything else. Light comes through the cracks and it takes over the dark. I will embrace me, all of me, and let my true self shine.
  2. Open: To shine means to be open and to receive and give generously. There’s no limit to my light. I will not run out. I can feel others with mine and also allow myself to bask in theirs because it’s an unlimited resource. I am open.
  3. Bold: To shine means to be brave. To show up. To be bold. There’s no more hiding in the shadows. No siting back. It’s being there. Being visible. Radiating.
  4. Reflect: A big part of shine for me is reflecting other people’s light back on to them. Reminding everyone of how they have their own amazing light inside and encouraging them to shine, too. Imagine if we all chose to shine, how amazing would it be?

So there we go. Here’s to a year of radiance. Illumination. A year full of shimmer. Sparkle. Glow.

Here’s to 2017: my year to SHINE.

Unraveling the Year Ahead – 2017

I want to start by saying that this, too, is going to be a VERY long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2016 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2016 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2017 into two posts. This is part II, the 2016 reflections are here. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

  1. First, choose a word to guide you through the next 12 months. Pick a word that makes you feel expanded. Encouraged. Inspired. There’s no right or wrong answer so go with your gut. What’s your Word for 2017? SHINE.

  2. If you lived and breathed your Word every day in 2017, what would be different for you? I would treat everyone with kindness and openness and I would assume the very best of them and reflect their goodness back to them. I would do the same for myself. I would shine a light into the dark spots of my soul, clean it all out, flood it with light and just let it shine. Let it all be free. I would own who I am and let my whole self shine and then create the space for others to do the same.

  3. List some ways you are already experiencing or embodying this Word I don’t think I can think of a way I am doing this right now. I need to break this word down more. Write down what shine looks like. What it feels like. What helps me shine more.

  4. What could you do this year to bring more of your Word into your world? I’ve done a lot of physical reminders. The bracelet, the lights, the lava lamp, the word. I think I need other reminders. Maybe something on my phone. Something like changing my passwords again. Something like putting a reminder on my calendar and computer keyboard. An excuse to pause every single day and reflect.

  5. Choose four extra words to support your Word this year. They could be anything from inspiring words to names of people to things you want to invest in… My four accompanying words this year are nourish, bold, mindful, and love. Much more on this in a future post.

  6. What are you looking forward to in 2017? Making peace with myself. I think one of the things I want to work on the most this year is shining light into the dark corners. Not resigning to the way things have been and that they have to stay that way. Shining light into everything and being willing to let that light wash over me. Because if I can do this, nothing else matters as much. Everything stems from this place.

  7. What are you feeling apprehensive about? I feel worried that nothing will change. I will continue to eat badly. I will continue to yell and be impatient. I will continue to allow small things to break me. I will continue to think I am not enough. I will continue to think I will never be enough. This is what I am afraid of the most.

  8. What life lessons are you taking with you into 2017? That everything changes and everything stays the same. Everything changes and everything works out. Everything changes and we adapt. So much change has happened this year. David moved to a new school and started middle school. My job moved from Zurich to Sydney and Seattle. My day to day life looks wildly different than it did last year this time. But it’s all ok. We’ve adapted. David loves his school. I love my job. Nathaniel loves second grade. And Jake is still the best person I know. Life moves forward. Things change. I am so scared of change and yet I adapt so beautifully. I just need to have more faith. I need to remember that change is not important. It’s not meaningful. What we make of the change is what matters.

  9. What area of your life do you most want to develop in 2017? I want to make peace with being me. Deep down in my soul. I want to wipe out the dark, sad feeling that I have deep deep down. One time, my coach told me that it’s as if I am trying to paint on a black canvas. I am adding colors but they don’t really show because the canvas is black. That resonates with me. It’s how I often feel. I am not sure how much of it is me not giving myself permission to be happy and how much of it is other things, but either way, I don’t believe that I need to carry it forward. I want to put it down. I believe that if I can do this, all the other areas where I would like to make progress are considerably more likely to happen.

  10. What part of yourself do you yearn to nurture in 2017? Besides what I mentioned above, there are two things I want to nurture more than others. The first is my body. I want to do a better job taking care of it. This is not to lose weight (though I definitely want that, too) but really because I am getting old and I need to do a better job establishing some routines here. I want to find a form of exercise I can stick to. I want to floss and put cream on more regularly. I want to feed myself nutritious food: eat a lot more vegetables and protein so I can feel stronger and less tired. I want to drink more water and tea and less soda and coffee. I feel like I’ve let things go more and more over time and it’s time to stop. Enough. And the same goes for journaling. I need journaling so I can feel more centered. My life is getting fuller and more complicated. This is not the time to abandon journaling. It’s the time to do it more reguarly.

  11. Fast-forward to December 2017. You’re sitting in a cafe?, musing over the last 12 months. Where do you want to be…

    1. in your head? (work, dreams, goals) I want to feel proud of the work I’ve done. Feel less scattered, more focused. Feel like I have a grip on the work in Sea and the work in Syd. I want to feel connected to my teams and my work. I want to do a better job of figuring out how to prioritize work items.

    2. in your heart? (relationships, family, friends) I want to have spent much more time showing Jake how much he means to me. I want him to feel my love, our connection, my dedication to him. I want to feel his love, too. I want to be able to see it, receive it, and believe it. I want to help my nephews who are going to be moving to the United States this year. I want to be close to my family. I want to spend time teaching my kids again. Spend time playing with them. Spend time listening to them. Spend time being with them. I want to cultivate friendships in David’s school. Find people who are kind.

    3. in your soul? (beliefs, practices, self-love) I want to erase everything I know to be true about myself and give myself the benefit of the doubt all the time. I want to assume the best of everyone, including myself. I want to assume people love me, like me, appreciate me, and respect me. That everyone has my best interest in mind. This allows me to be my best self and it makes me my most generous self.

    4. in your physical world? (home, health, hobbies) I want to be exercising daily. Eating well and cleanly. I want to be flossing, taking care of my skin, drinking water, and sleeping enough. I want to do art. I want to listen to books. I want to continue to declutter. I want to surround myself with things that bring me joy and feel light.

  12. Okay, let’s take it up a notch. Use this page to describe what 2017 looks like in your ideal world. Be speci c! What are your dreams for love this year? Work? Play? Where are you hungry for change? How do you want 2017 to FEEL? Use your answers from the previous pages to craft your ideal vision for the next 12 months. What would saying YES to your life look and feel like? Write out everything your heart desires for this new year. Be bold. Heh. Even though BOLD is one of my words this year, I honestly don’t feel like that’s what I need here. What I really want to feel next year, all day long is strong. I want to feel strong enough to shine my best self. Strong enough to believe others. Strong enough to do the work at work, take care of my kids at home, exercise and eat well, be loving to the people I love so much. Strong enough to be patient and kind. Strong enough to do this day after day after day. What I want is for my everyday to be kinder and stronger. I don’t want to do bold things. I want to be bold enough to show up day after day and do it again and again. It’s easy to do it once. It’s hard to do it seven times in a row. It’s downright incredible to just keep showing up.

  13. List 3 unhelpful beliefs about yourself you’re ready to release So here’s the deal: I had some things written down for this and then I kept coming back to them because as much as I don’t mind being open with my thoughts, evolutions, struggles, I wasn’t sure if I wanted these out there so I’ve decided on a compromise. Because I believe strongly in sharing our imperfections and being honest with the world so that the rest of us can feel less alone. I am really disappointed that we don’t grow up in an environment where open sharing isn’t encouraged. I feel like there are some structures in place for some people to share struggles openly but the rest of us just walk around thinking everyone else is more perfect than we are. I think that’s a bad thing and I don’t want to perpetuate it. At the same time while I am ok with personal, I try not to share the private here on the blog. So here’s what I will say. I have beliefs around not being enough, disappointing those i love the most and being at peace in general. When I am the weakest version of myself, these are the things that come to the surface for me and these are the beliefs I’d like to release because I don’t believe they serve me. They don’t make me want to do better, they make me feel defeated and discouraged. I’d like to release these beliefs and give myself grace for the cases where something I did wasn’t enough or cases where I did let down the people I love. I’m human and both of these things will happen. While I certainly would like to make sure they happen infrequently, what I’d like to do is release the way I punish myself and work on handling myself with compassion and grace when they do occur.

  14. List 3 duties or commitments you feel ready to let go of in 2017

    1. I don’t think I will do the recurring volunteer work at David’s school. Not sure but I don’t think so.

    2. Nothing else is coming to mind at the moment. Which is maybe good maybe bad since my life is so super full. But I feel like I do the things I feel strongly about at the moment. I think there will be some work-specific items here.

  15. List 3 skills you’d like to learn or improve in 2017

    1. I’d like to make more art. Sketching, specifically.

    2. I’d like to focus a bit more on math and computer science, so I can do more with my kids.

    3. Exercise. I would like to find something I like and improve on it.

  16. List 3 books you intend to read this year Well this question almost doesn’t make sense for me. I will read 100+ books this year.

  17. How could you bring more calm into your life (and head) this year? Oh, if only I knew. I do think that bringing more peace inward will allow me to be calmer outward. I know the journaling will help. The exercise will help. Remembering to shine and let others light reflect will also help.

  18. List 3 things about yourself you positively love

    1. My persistence and ability to get things done

    2. My fierce love and loyalty to my friends and family

    3. My love of learning anything and everything

  19. List 3 ways you could be kinder to your body this year

    1. Eating more vegetables and protein

    2. Exercising daily in some way.

    3. Drinking more water.

  20. List 3 ways you could connect with loved ones in 2017

    1. Writing regular emails to my mother in law.

    2. Weekly appointments to chat with my sister.

    3. Finding ways to see my nephews.

  21. List 3 people you could extend compassion to

    1. Myself. I need this.

    2. Jake+My kids. I spend more time with them than anyone else.

    3. The world. I want to be compassionate towards every single person I meet. I know we are all suffering in different ways. No one’s suffering is more important than someone else’s. They are all personal, deep and hard. I want to remember this. I want to be kind to everyone.

  22. How could you bring more love into your life this year? Honestly, by loving myself more. Stressing less. Assuming the best of everything. Everything. Always positive. Always hopeful. I do think this is possible for me. It’s a mindshift. And I can do it. I can see my light. I can see the light of everyone around me. How we’re all wishing to be loved, to be enough, to be valued. I can do this for myself and for everyone around me. This will bring so much more love into my life.

  23. List 3 interests/hobbies you would like to explore more in 2017

    1. I’d like to go back to taking more photos.

    2. I’d like to tell our stories. Our ordinary life stories.

    3. I’d like to do art. Paint. Draw.

  24. List 3 ways you could feed your imagination this year

    1. Go to places I haven’t been. Adventure.

    2. Try new things. New media. New materials. New clothes.

    3. Read more nonfiction. Interestingly it helps me with my imagination.

  25. List 3 ways you could bring more passion into your world this year Honestly I am not sure. I am not even sure what passion means for me. I feel like I am passionate about everything I do. So I feel like I infuse the things I do with it. I am not sure how to interpret this. (Maybe that says a lot about me?!) I can give stereotypical answers like go out on more dates with my husband etc but that’s not the way I want to think about this. I want to make sure I live all the moments of my life passionately. I don’t want to only be passionate towards my husband when we’re on a date. I want all the people in my life to feel my passion towards them, towards my work, towards learning, etc.

  26. List 3 dreams you would like to manifest this year (personal or professional)

    1. I dream of a life where I feel more ease. Enjoy the life I have while I am experiencing it.

    2. I’d love to have Nathaniel also be going to David’s school if that’s the right place for him. I trust the universe to help us figure that out.

    3. My dreams around work are all about being effective, organized and helpful. Continuing to have impact.

  27. How could you bring more creative energy into your life this year? I think to be able to bring creative energy, I need to have energy at all. For that, I need more sleep. I need to focus on working my days so they are more organized and tighter so that I use my time well. And I need to exercise. I need to eat well so I feel more awake, more energized. I have no problem being creative, I just have been making all the easier choices lately because when I am out of time, I get lazy. I need to start by nourishing my body so that I can nourish my mind and my soul. Creativity lives in my soul.

  28. List 3 ways you could bring more mindfulness to your mornings This is something I really do want to work on. The problem is that I don’t really like to wake up early. That’s not entirely true. The problem is that I often have meetings till 9pm and I don’t like to go to sleep without at least taking a little time for myself. And I also don’t like to sleep fewer than eight hours. This means that if I want to wake up at 5:30am, I need to be asleep by 9:30 so the sheer math doesn’t work out here. Either I’m going to have to be ok with getting seven hours of sleep, or I am not going to wake up earlier. I am still leaning towards the latter. However…I can still figure out how to do this better. At the moment, I don’t have a super hectic morning. I wake up, get the kids, pack lunches and make breakfast, shower and we’re pretty much out the door. We’re not rushing or yelling because honestly there isn’t too much time for that. So it’s not hectic but it’s partly because I’ve resigned to not getting anything done. I don’t want to work on changing that. I think that’s not the most fruitful space to tackle at the moment. But I do think there’s room for improvement in the rest of the morning. Most days, I get home from dropping off the kids at 8:20. My first meeting is rarely before 9am, often 9:30 or 10am. That means that I have 40 minutes to 1 hour and 40 minutes. I often waste this time either checking my work email or reading my RSS feeds, or some other thing I could be doing at other times of my day. Since I work late into the night, I’d like to claim this timeslot back. I’d like this to be my morning routine time. This time is 100% in my control (most of the time. There are some notable exceptions when I have to visit Nathaniel’s class or when I have to be at work right at 9am. The most notable exception at the moment is Thursday mornings when I am going to David’s school every week, so we’ll have to come up with an alternative for that day. If I can get the other four days to work I’ll be ok with that. So here’s what I’d like to do on those other mornings:

    1. Exercise. I know I hate this but I need to make it a bigger part of my life. I need to find some way to make more peace with it. Some way to make it regular and not as dreadful that I keep wishing I didn’t have to do it. I am so envious of those who love running. Or love working out.

    2. Journaling. I think this is likely the single most helpful thing I can do besides the exercise. Journaling helps me get grounded. It helps me connect with myself and see what I’m feeling. It helps me come up with solutions and it helps me feel better again. It’s a miracle cure. And it’s free.

    3. I’d add meditation or something like that here but honestly I just want to do the other two. Once I’ve mastered them, I am happy to add more.

  29. List 3 ways you could cherish your home this year

    1. One thing I want to do is a lot more of decluttering, I love it when it’s sparser and less overwhelming. The garage needs more work. The living room, too. I made a lot of progress. One more area is my wardrobe but I will put that off until I am feeling a bit more centered with my body.

    2. I also want to have more lights and flowers in the house. I know flowers are expensive but I can stick to something small and lovely and don’t need to make it grand. Something small on my table will be enough. I’d also like to go back to lighting candles. I like the idea of a subtle smell.

    3. And finally, I want to feel comfortable in my house. I want to understand our new routines and ways of living. The kids are older now, and have different patterns and I am not sure what this means about furniture and the way we have the living room organized but I’d love to think about this more.

  30. List 3 ways you could connect more deeply with nature in 2017

    1. In my heart of hearts, I’d love to be the kind of person who can go on hikes more regularly. Even once a week. But there are two problems. One is that I feel too weak to hike often. I need to work on this separately any way but in the meantime I am not sure how to get around that. The second is the scarcity I feel around time. Driving somewhere to then hike easily consumes half of our weekend day. Considering how much I do during the weekdays, I usually find myself clutching my weekend time. But the fact is I don’t actually do anything super productive with that time. So maybe there’s an interesting compromise to be had here? Not sure about this one, but I think I want to incorporate more hiking/being in the woods into my life.

    2. Water. I need more water in my life. Sitting somewhere and looking out into the ocean or any body of water surrounds me with peace. I need to find more ways to bring this into my life.

    3. Yes, it’s more time consuming but I really loved the walks I took with the kids everywhere and I miss them. I miss walking while listening to my audiobook. I’d like to walk more again. Just anywhere, everywhere so I can soak in the beauty of the trees/birds/flowers in my day to day life.

  31. List 3 places in your city, town or neighbourhood you want to explore

    1. I think I’d like to go to Marin more. We never go there and it has some wonderful beaches.

    2. Similarly, I’d like to spend more time in the city. San Francisco has some wonderful neighborhoods and we might not live here forever, I’d love to adventure out to a different part of the city every month.

    3. Ok this is not my neighborhood but I’d like to explore more of California, too. We always say we will go to Tahoe in the summer or that we will go to Death Valley, or even Yosemite. I want to do these things more. And go north of here with the kids. To see the giant trees. California is magical.

  32. How could you bring a sense of groundedness into your life this year? This is a great question because I think groundedness is good for me. It’s calming, centering and reminds me of all that’s here already instead of always worrying about what’s not. I think the easiest path I have to this is journaling. So if I really journal daily, it will be a tremendous help. Another one is possibly a bedtime ritual. Something short but grounding. Maybe five minutes of journaling then, too? Not sure, I need to think about this one.

  33. Using your favourite tarot or oracle deck, draw one card for the overall theme of the upcoming year and then a card for each month of 2017. Tip: I like to shufle 3 or 4 packs together to give the reading even greater scope. If you don’t have any decks go to www.susannahconway.com/ cards to see my favourite decks and app recommendations.

I am not into Tarot Decks and I did this last year and found it not to be that inspiring or interesting. However, back in 2013, our January OLW assignment involved setting intentions and I really enjoyed that, so I thought maybe I can do that instead.

  • January: Rise and Shine: This is where it starts. Let’s hit the ground running. Start the year with energy and determination. You are strong and you can do anything you set your mind to.

  • February: Shine from the Outside In: It might seem counter-intuitive but sometimes it helps to start with the outside. Take care of your body, your skin, your teeth. Dress in a way that makes you feel good. Show up and look the part.

  • March: Rain or Shine: March is a tough month. You often feel like giving up in March. It feels too long. But it’s not. Keep going, You’re doing great. Remember that the trick is to just show up. Keep showing up.

  • April: Shine Quietly: It’s crucial to take time to reflect. Take this month to reflect on how things are going. Is there anything you need to adjust/change/drop or pick up. It’s ok to shift things. It’s also important to acknowledge what’s working. Take the time to shine some light inward and see what’s going on.

  • May: Help others Shine: Ok now it’s others’ turn. It’s time to be the mirror to their light so it can reflect off of you. Think of ways big and small that you can help people in your life see their own light this month. Smile. Show them how amazing they are. Thank them.

  • June: Shine Through: Let yourself be seen this month. Express yourself. Be true to you. Own who you are.

  • July: Shine Boldly: This builds on June a bit but it’s time to take things up a notch. Be bold. Be brave. Be loud. Shine with all your might.

  • August: Shine from the Inside Out: Ok you did the outside in and now it’s time to reflect again. The year is half over. How are you doing? What are you keeping on the inside? Also, it’s time to let others see the real you. Don’t be afraid. Shine.

  • September: Shine Patiently:  September is a month of change. New year. Maybe new school. New routines. New season. This month always comes with changes, adjustments, and revisiting of schedules. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with others. Remember to shine. Even if it’s in small doses.

  • October: Shine On: You’re doing great. You made it through September. The year is starting its countdown and you can do this. Remember to keep going. Shine on. Don’t stop now. Just one day at a time.

  • November: Shine for You: This is your month. Take all the time you need. Shine all your light on yourself. Be kind, practice self-care. Think about the next year and what you want. Think about the rest of this year. You’ve got this.

  • December: Shine Slowly: And here it is. The end of one more year. You made it through. Tough times, joyful times. Celebrations and trials. Changes and all. You did it. Time to slow down. Time to make space for the next year. Growth comes after downtime for you. Take this time to store some energy so you can hit the ground running in 2018.

  1. 2017 will be the year I finally make peace with me. (Will writing it down make it happen, I wonder?) I so want to be done with this.

  2. I will nourish myself with vegetables, water, journaling, quiet time.

  3. I will make more time for journaling and exercise. Teaching the boys.

  4. I will recharge my batteries by sleeping. Journaling.

  5. This year I will open my heart to healing. To feeling whole again. And to seeing the good in every single person.

  6. I will pay more attention to my kids. My husband. My family. But also, my thoughts. I want to pay attention to my thoughts so that I can catch them when they are spiraling down. So that I can switch the tone when it’s negative. I believe in the power of positive thinking and I believe in being intentional.

  7. I will learn more about:

    1. My body. What works for me and what does not. How to have more energy. How to take care of my body better. How to create new habits. Both for nutrition and moving but also for my skin, my gums, and my back.

    2. My worries/stress. I find myself worried all the time. Sometimes it’s of things that make sense but many times it’s things that make no sense. I find that my personal tendency is to often assume the worst possible outcome. In just about every situation. I’d like to learn about my triggers. I’d like to teach myself how most of my worries never come true and hope that it might make me worry less over time. I also want to understand some of these triggers better because I know they are what make me yell more often than I’d like.

    3. My time. I would like to learn to organize my time in a way that suits me better. I’d like to keep track of how I use my time and what I would like to get done and find a way to connect those things. For example, I know I can create time to exercise daily, to take more photos, and to do more art. I think all of these together would take less than an hour and I’d like to find a way to make this happen. I think this is more a mentality shift and organizational skill than anything else.

  8. I will release my attachment to Well I’d like to say that I’ll release my attachment to things going my way but I think that would be a lie. I am not even sure what that means and whether I want it. (Though I feel like I should want it. Especially since it was my first instinctive response to reading the sentence.) Maybe the trick here, too, is understanding why I am attached to getting my way. What do I make that mean? Coming back to the original question, here’s the one that I really want:  I will release my attachment to the idea that something is wrong. My mind always goes to the most negative possible outcome. Always.

  9. I wish for 2017 to feel strong. I originally thought light. I want the year to feel light. Lighter. I do. I also want it to feel easy. I want to feel joyful. I want to feel bold. Brave. Kind. Patient. Full. Enough. Nourished. I want to feel so many things. But I think if I had to sum it all up, maybe the best word is strong. I want to feel strong inside out. The best, shining version of myself is already strong. So maybe I just want to feel that version of me.

  10. This year I will say NO to anything that makes me feel small.

  11. This year I will say YES to things that nourish my body, soul, and mind.

 I wholeheartedly believe that everything is possible in 2017!

As I finish these words I went back to some of my previous blog posts and I am not surprised that I mention many of these same thoughts herehere, and here. I am pretty sure these themes have been in my life in some way or another for many years. I know that they will likely still be around in 2017 and 2018 and onward. What I’d like to do this year is to make a dent. To move things forward a little bit. Every forward step I take moves me in the right direction and that’s all I can ask for.

 Close your eyes for a moment and imagine stepping into the shoes of you from December 2017, one year from now. You are one year older and one year wiser and you’ve lived every day of 2017 fully and completely. You have a message of encouragement about 2017. There’s stuff you want to share… stuff you’re eager to tell yourself. When you’re ready, open your eyes, pick up your pen, and write a letter from your future self, starting with Dear Karen: You did your best. Even when it didn’t seem like it. I know you had the best intentions. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you will make it. Keep walking. I am proud of you.

Unraveling – Goodbye to 2016

I want to start by saying that this is going to be a long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2016 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2016 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2017 into two posts. This is part I, the 2017 post will show up here later this week. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

Before we start unravelling 2017, let’s take a moment to look back over the last twelve months. Maybe there were lots of changes for you in 2016. Maybe it’s been a year of growing or nesting or exploring or letting go. Whatever’s happened this year it’s got you to this point, right now. Exactly where you’re meant to be. Pick up your pen and let’s do some digging.

  1. First of all, did you have a word for 2016? Yes, my word was choose.

  2. If you did, how did your word help to guide you through the last 12 months? Can you think of any specific examples? I wanted to live more intentionally and choose my actions instead of feeling like things were happening to me. I feel like what helped me the most has been writing the weekly intention posts. They helped me see the choices I was making weekly. I want to live all of my life intentionally.

  3. What did you embrace in 2016? I think more than anything else, 2016 was a test in embracing change. David moved to a new school which meant major changes in schedule/routine. My work moved from Zurich to Sydney and Seattle, which also meant big changes in routine/schedule. These were not sad changes but they were big changes. I learned to embrace change and go with it.

  4. What did you let go of in 2016? I let go of controlling my destiny so closely. I learned to step into life and work with it. I let go of the idea that it can only work one way.

  5. What changed for you in 2016? Heh. So many things. My work and David’s school are the biggest changes by far, though.

  6. What did you discover about yourself in 2016? That I am strong. I can make it work. I was very afraid of both of these changes. And yet. I made them work. I am making them work. I can do so much more than I thought. Also, I discovered that I like traveling for work. I like both the quiet time and the intensity of work that comes with the travel. I also like how my boys all get to have some time just the three of them.

  7. What were you most grateful for in 2016? I am always most grateful for my family. My kids, my husband, my parents, my sister and her family. This year I am also extremely grateful for my parents’ generosity. I don’t know what I did to deserve all this kindness but I am deeply grateful for it.

  8. When did fear hold you back in 2016? Hmmm. I was scared a lot but I try not to let fear hold me back. At least not in any big way.

  9. Where did you practice bravery in 2016? Many times. At the kids’ schools. At work with all the changes. At every single social event I go to and every single business trip I go to. I practice bravery almost every single day.

  10. What surprised you in 2016? Well, besides my work moving from Europe to the southern hemisphere? I think that one takes the cake.

  11. What made you smile in 2016? My kids. My husband. David getting into the school of his dreams and their creation winning an award at the Tech Challenge. Seeing David play the guitar on stage. Nathaniel’s joy in doing math. Tucking Nathaniel in every night. Hugging Jake. Every single time.

  12. What conclusions did you reach in 2016? That I can make anything work. That I find ways to adjust. That I love my job. Love what I do and the people I do it with. That I love reading and listening to books. That I need to work harder on eating well and finding some exercise I like to do. That I need to be kinder to myself. That I am loved. That I am incredibly lucky.

  13. Let’s think about your ACCOMPLISHMENTS in 2016. List three things that went really well this year — personally or professionally, what are you most proud of? For each accomplishment, consider the following: What skills helped you make it happen? How has your life changed? What have you learned about yourself? How did you celebrate or acknowledge your accomplishment? (If you didn’t, how could you next time?)

    1. I helped my son get into the school of his dreams. I wrote my essays, helped him write his essays, drove him to each shadow, sat with him, worked with him, and I showed up. My consistency, organizational skills, hard work, and persistence helped make it happen. I learned that I am tough and can do what needs to be done and I also learned that sometimes I need to take time to sit with myself and release what I need so I can make room for my kids to be who they want to be. We celebrated a bunch of times but for this one, we took David out of class and accepted in person and then went out to celebrate as a family.

    2. I transitioned my project from Zurich to Sydney and took on five new teams. This was a lot of work. My willingness to make it work, hard work, and openness made it happen. I learned that I can learn new things. I can make different schedules work and I can do this. I am still working on this one, but I feel good about it so far. I haven’t celebrated this one yet. Though I did get two spot bonuses so I will use that money to do something fun. And I did make a point to celebrate being in Sydney the first time I took the trip (and even the second time, albeit briefly.)

    3. I changed my kids’ diet. My kids are very picky eaters and until this year, they are sandwiches for lunch and bagels and vegetables for dinner. Now they eat spinach and fruit and chicken, cheese and sandwiches for lunch. And broccoli, salad and fruit for dinner. They went from eating prepackaged oatmeal for breakfast to eating yogurt and fruit (and granola for Nathaniel.) It’s not perfect and they still eat more bread and less protein than I’d like but it’s been a huge change. I am proud of it. My persistence and hard work made it happen. I feel so much better about it now and my kids are easier to take out. This one is a gift to me so I don’t need extra celebrations.

  14. Now let’s look at your CHALLENGES. List three situations that have tested your limits and patience this year. The big or the small — whatever challenged you the most in 2016 (there may be more than three so go with whatever comes to mind first) For each challenge, consider the following: How did you deal with the challenge? Did you discover any new tools or allies that could help you again in the future? How has your life changed? What have you learned about yourself? (If you’re still working through a particular challenge, what outcome would feel good to you?)

    1. The biggest challenge by far has been health. I’ve had a hard time sticking to any healthy diet. I wobbled a lot. I started the year with no coffee and no soda and I am finishing it with a lot of both. And I am not eating barely any vegetables or even protein. I went from exercising daily and taking 10K steps to hardly any at all. I was putting lotion on my skin daily and not so much anymore. I can go on and on. Consistently focusing on health in general has been a total challenge this year. I didn’t deal well with it. This one always feels hard and I drop it. I learned that I consider it a sacrifice. I want to eat badly because it’s easy or tasty. When tired or worn out, this is the first thing I drop.It would feel good to me if I made this a major priority. If I cared enough about myself to not drop this anymore.

    2. Another challenge, especially in the second half of the year has been figuring out a schedule with my new changes. With the evening hours and daytime hours and volunteering and driving the kids to school/shuttle. I haven’t found something that feels solid yet. My life feels a bit out of balance. I need two things here. One is to make a bit more time for myself. For exercise+art+journaling. 20 mins of each would go a long way. The second thing is to organize my time better. Make specific lists for the pockets of time I have so I feel like I am using them well. So I do use them well.

    3. The third challenge is a never ending one. My patience, my kindness, showing up my best self, especially around the kids. Not yelling. Being generous. These things I crave and wish for every day but I fail at often. I will keep trying here. I will never give up.

  15. Describe your favourite day, moment or occasion of 2016 in words and pictures. What did it taste like? Smell like? Sound like? Who was (or wasn’t) there? Where were you? What were you doing? What was awesome about it? And most importantly, how did you feel? There were many good days in this year. But the one that comes to me in this moment is walking from Bronte beach to Bondi beach in Sydney in the summer (their winter) and listening to my audiobook as I did it. I loved seeing the breathtaking beaches. I loved being alone. I loved listening to my book and seeing as much or as little of everything I wanted.

  16. Gentleness alert! Did anything happen in 2016 that needs to be forgiven? Maybe it was something someone did or said to you. Maybe it was something you did or said to someone else — or to yourself? Maybe you feel you let yourself down in some way. Here’s the thing — we are all beautifully fallible human beings doing the best that we can with the tools that we have, so where can you give the gift of forgiveness to yourself or to another? Oh the health issue through and through. I am really sad about my body. Not just the weight but how tired I feel. How worn out I am. How weak, etc. I am forgiving myself. I know I can make this better for myself. I know I have what it takes.

  1. So we’ve dug into our accomplishments and challenges, remembered our favourite moments and considered who we need to forgive. Now I invite you to close your eyes for a moment and think about 2016 as a whole. As you cast your mind back over the last 365 days, consider the gifts that 2016 offered you on your life’s journey… What stands out the most? 2016 was full of gifts for me, full of brave work, kindness and hard work. Here are some things I did:

    1. I helped David get into middle school.

    2. I was the president of David and Nathaniel’s school’s parent association.

    3. I transitioned my project from Zurich to Sydney and picked up five other teams in Seattle the process.

    4. I did a lot of travel in 2016. Much of it was for work. I went to Zurich in January and April. I went to Sydney in July and October. I went to Seattle in July and September and I went to an offsite at Yosemite in May. I also traveled for fun to Istanbul in June and Boston in August and Canada in December. Looks like February, March and November were the only months when I didn’t travel.

    5. I mentored several women in my organization.

    6. I hit the ground running in David’s school and volunteered with the Book Fair as well as signing up for a regular volunteer slot in 3-4th grade Lit Club which pretty much takes up all of my Thursday mornings each week.

    7. I was really into the election this year and watched countless hours of CNN as well as teaching my kids about the primaries, electoral college and debates.

    8. Before I dropped it on the floor, I did run daily, I did 7min exercise for months and I walked 10K for many days in a row.

    9. I helped write and edit over 40 college essays for my sister’s two boys. One already got into his first choice and the other will soon!

    10. I already mentioned this one above, too, but I helped change the way my kids eat.

    11. I was the journal advisor for the Tech challenge for David’s team.

    12. I also volunteered in both kids’ classrooms and took them back and forth from school every day. I made lunches, breakfasts, and dinners.

    13. I did a Udacity math class with each kid.

    14. I took ten online classes.

    15. I read over 126 books.

    16. I made over 240 pieces of art this year. (20 a month.)

  1. Describe 2016 in 3 words: change, busy, proud

  2. If the events of 2016 were made into a film or a book, what would it be called? This is Life.

  3. Before we finish with 2016, take a few minutes to write out anything else you need to say to the old year in the box below. You might like to say some final goodbyes and thank yous… This year, more than ever, I saw how my life and work are integrated in crazy ways. How I work at odd hours and how I am not working during traditional hours. I am eternally grateful for being home with my kids and being able to volunteer at their schools. For being able to go to book clubs in the middle of the day. For being able to travel for work to beautiful places. For having a job that challenges and really fulfills me. For my kind and understanding and patient and loving husband. For my loving parents who are incredibly generous and always there for me. For my sister who is so loving and inspiring. For my nephews who are finally moving to America. For books. For puzzles and TV and audio books. For music. I am just so grateful for all I have. For this crazy life that is full to the brim. May it always be so layered and rich and fulfilling. I am thankful with all my soul.

Thank you 2016, you are now complete.