We are rounding out of this spiritual cleanse just in time for the holidays. This time of year is always one of deep reflection and coming off a retrograde it's probably a bit heightened at the moment too. I have been starting my inventory about my approach to the year and some of the events that have defined it. I divided my year into quarters and gave myself goals for each quarter. I ended up doing maybe a piece of what I set out to do. I can't say that I got busier than usual but on paper this year has been a failure. Even though I have written a novel, 2 small picture books, about 30 poems, have made over 60 pieces of art, read countless clients and may even finish another novel by the end of the year still, on paper, things did not go to plan. And that's O.K.
Years ago I would have been furious at myself for not achieving my own unattainable goals for myself. Goal setting as a whole became in itself an exercise in self punishment and shame. These days, as I set all of my intentions I actually give myself a very clear permission slip. I've even written it down sometimes like a note you used to give your teacher in school when your mum said you couldn't do gym! It's a permission slip to walk away from everything for the sake of emotional and physical well being. I've done the whole thing of pushing through physical and mental illnesses and on the whole it ALWAYS does more harm than good. What comes first and foremost is my relationship to peace. If I am not creating or existing in that space then the work I do is always below par.
I needed that permission slip this year. Stu got sick and came out of work for a bit and I needed to take care of him. Then I had the worst anxiety attack I have ever had. It was so bad that it partially collapsed my lung and even though it was nearly 4 months ago now I am still in active physical recovery from that. I got fit at the beginning of the year and lost a bunch of weight and I think I've put half of it back on and, more soberly, I had news of an old mate who has not made it to the end of the year with us. With that in mind, with life throwing many curve balls into the mix, completing even a fraction of what I have this year is a win for me but my real success is that I know in my heart that I did my best and showed up for as much of what happened as I could.
Life is going to happen no matter what goals you make for yourself. If no one else has I want to applaud you for even daring to show up in the middle of whatever has been happening to you. Please, as the year wraps up, do your best to be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself for not knowing then what you know now. Forgive yourself for understanding that you don't have it all figured out yet. Take your hand out of the fire of self criticism and self blame. This random, toxic, weird version of adulthood that we collectively co create now prides self solely on self sufficiency.Human beings are interdependent. We need each other. We need to reach out. We need a friend's shoulder to cry on or a pep talk, a reminder of our bright and wild natures.
As my inner clean up begins and my yearly review starts I know already that I am not the same person that began this year. I am more compassionate. I am gentler. In some parts of my life I am more certain than ever and in others I have embraced uncertainty completely. I have been ushered into a space of completely prioritizing my health and well being in a way that is not a ticked box. I have been ushered into a space where I have to be O.K with only being able to do what I can do and in a space of complete forgiveness and gentleness for myself. I really have learned a lot this year, so far and I am unpacking more. How about you? What have you been guided to learn? To re learn? To learn at a deeper level. Where could you be gentler with yourself? Friendlier to yourself? How could you like yourself more? Contemplate these as you unpack this year. It has been a big one, for me at least and from our interactions in my readings room, it seems it's been a big one for you too.
Ryan James x
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