I don’t know about you, but 2013 has been all about getting ready for an amazing 2014. As you’ve read in my posts, I had some unexpected twists and turns in my journey, that had me digging deep into the concept of faith.
Things did not unfold as I had expected and planned (what is that saying? that every time we make a plan, God laughs…). But I could tell things were still unfolding as they should, for some higher purpose. This made it easier to lean in to faith, because I had lots of signs that things were good. It was like I was driving a dark road at night, and there were lots of curves that prevented me from seeing too far ahead. But I continued to have lots of great sign posts along the way that told me I was on the right road.
And now, as 2013 is coming to a close, the road has straightened and I can see where I am headed with much more clarity and conviction. And it turns out that it’s not just me.
I recently hung out with 3 amazing women in our masterminds group. We call ourselves “evolutionary buddies” because although we talk about our lives as professional leadership educators, we are also each on a journey of growing and becoming. All four of us had similar experiences in 2013. Old things fell away, new opportunities and challenges arrived, and all without a clearly defined or seeable destination until recently.
All of our roads are straightening out and the destination is both exciting and profound. How about you? Are things becoming more clear? Did you also have a year that required some shifting, embracing change, and leaning into faith?
Now would be a great time to take stock. Every year at this time, I engage in an intentional process of reflection, which guides the intentions I set for the next year. I’ll share with you my process in case you find it helpful in crafting your own.
My annual tradition is to start a new journal on January 1st — it becomes a wonderful way to capture my journey each year. I begin the journal with my intentions and objectives for the year and as the year comes to an end, I am able to not only reflect on my progress but the challenges and aha moments that I gathered from my journaling throughout the year.
So the first part of my tradition is to get my outgoing journal and read through my intentions and highlights from the year’s musings. Next, I use a set of questions that guide my year-end journaling (to be done on the last pages of the outgoing journal). I wish these questions were mine but they are not — they came from Santa Barbara’s Center for Spiritual Living.
I light candles, put on soothing music, brew some yummy tea and allow myself quiet time to reflect.
Questions to Reflect on 2013
- What has been the underlying, unifying theme of your year? 2013 has been the year of…
- What is the symbol of your personal journey in 2013? Close your eyes and see what image comes to the forefront. What does it mean to you?
- What are your 8 greatest successes and miracles of 2013? (it’s OK to have more than 8…)
- What was a key challenge of this year and what did you discover about yourself in meeting this challenge? What gifts were received?
- What three people had the greatest impact in your life this year? What has their presence stimulated and awakened in you?
- What are three key lessons you’ve learned through your experiences in 2013?
- What are some of the most joyful moments of 2013?
- Is there anyone whom you need to forgive? Forgive means to release judgment and blame that causes your heart to close down, resulting in unnecessary pain. Who is it? What quality do you need to forgive them for? Can you find that same quality within yourself to any degree (your mirror) and love yourself anyway?
- What “risks” (taking action though fear is present) did you take this year and what greater freedom did you discover in the process? What did you learn about yourself in taking these risks?
- In what key ways have you been of greater service to your human family this year?
- What are the greatest blessings of 2013? Those people, experiences, gifts, conditions, awarenesses that fill your heart with gratitude…
- As you stand upon the firm foundation of all the learnings, shifts, insights and awakenings of 2013, what wise counsel would you give yourself as you move into 2014?
- Now, articulate your intentions for 2014. Consider having at least one for each area of the Wheel of Wellbeing: Self, Relationships, Health & Healing, Career & Calling, Happiness, Creativity, Environment, Community, and Spirituality. You may wish to write these in your journal, and post them in various places where they will remind you of your focus (home, care, work, wallet, etc.).
- If you wish, you can also create a vision board for 2014 that captures the essence of your intentions.
I do this ritual alone but then gather with my dearest friends who share this philosophy of life. We have a wonderful evening sharing our insights and intentions. This connects us, not only this one evening, but throughout the year.
I wish you a wonderful time of reflection. I know that your next trip around the sun will bring you all that you need to reach your highest potential.