Inspirational Lessons: What Last Year Taught Me
It seems like only a little while ago that I started this microblog. It doesn't seem like, it really was. I started this blog after I was gifted with a word that has literally changed the trajectory of my life. That word inserted itself into my heart and soul exactly one year ago when I was preparing for my new year ritual, the setting of goals and revising of the past 12 months. The word was authenticity and has since been the bane of my friends and family's existence as it precedes and pursues every sentence that comes out of my mouth. I was excited because being a girl of many words, I have never distilled my long list of resolutions into a single word. Truth be told I rarely distil anything into a single word so it was with curiosity that I embarked on a journey using authenticity as my filter. With that in place, I started to sift every thought and intention with a test of authenticity. I developed the audacity to be myself and the lessons I have learned have been inspirational! 1) Clear the Clutter I discovered that when you're not being yourself there is a tendency to adopt other people's opinions as yours. For me, that evidence showed up in my inbox as well as my facebook wall. It also showed up in the form of indecisiveness. Do you find yourself unable to make simple decisions? The noise caused by clutter drowns out the sound of your own creative voice and it becomes a struggle to make a decision you used to make quite easily. Clutter hides and wraps up the real you and you find yourself living someone else's life, or living your life through other people. It silences the voice of your intuition and denies you the pleasure of living your life to the fullest. 2) Recognise your Gifts Everyone is gifted, but our gifts sometimes come wrapped in layers. As we journey through life we unwrap that gift layer by layer. Unfortunately, experiences can also cause us to add more layers instead of removing them. I discovered that the practice of authenticity helped me to recognise and honour my gifts and that of my children. Admiring the talents of others does not mean we're diminishing the value of ours. You must believe that you are the best you for the job you were created to do and you were born with the resources. 3) Acknowledge your Teachers I learned that there are lessons in every single challenge. The benefit of challenging situations begins when you open up yourself to learn from the experience. But you wouldn't do so if you do not think of yourself as having a need to learn. Authenticity permits you to recognise your fears and flaws, which then readies you for learning when the teacher appears. Much of this is down to choice, we can choose to stay down when knocked off course or choose to get up. I learned that the old Tao saying is true, 'When the student is ready the teacher will appear.' 4) Choose your Focal Point What you focus on, magnifies. This was an interesting lesson as I discovered that my time, thoughts and energy are given to the thing that I focus on. It explains why there were times that I wanted to do something creative but couldn't, even though I had carved out time for that project. My energy had found solace in something else, mostly something negative or worrying and it simply wasn't available for me to use it creatively. The inverse is also true. My joy and happiness became palpable when my focus was on something I enjoyed doing, and the more I worked on it, the more beautiful it became. 5) Denounce Negativity I find the word negativity to be an annoying cliche, it seems to show up everywhere, especially on social media. Although I wanted to tune it out of my vocabulary, I had to explore its meaning. I discovered that the news of choice for a lot of media houses is the salacious and the scandalous. Sometimes bad news is spinned and presented as good news. If you don't set a filter on what goes into your mind you will most certainly take in a lot of junk that does nothing but to weigh you down. Our world interestingly is also filled with a lot of good stuff, but that tends to be pushed to the sidelines. In 2014, I learned to drag my attention away from the negative, especially that which I couldn't change, and focus on the positive. I cannot physically do anything for the uncelebrity that snatched someone else's husband and now parades our TV screens attempting to shove her skewed opinions down our throats. I wouldn't spend my time reading her diatribe or dissecting her viewpoints. I learned to guard my heart fiercely while looking out for the beauty that surrounds me. I also prefer now to share good news that uplifts the hearer as opposed to the negative. 6) Adopt a Gratitude Attitude Thank you is one of the most important and game-changing expressions in any language or culture. It is more than a phrase that reflects the fact that you have been raised well, gratitude surprisingly does your soul good. Bringing yourself into a state of thankfulness enables you to drag your eyes away from the things that steal your joy, and pull them to focus instead on what's going well in your life. Heard the phrase 'life is short'? I don't like it very much but what it says to me is that there are so many awesome experiences we can have that life isn't long enough to fit them all in. With that said, I need to make sure my life has as many wonderful experiences as possible. Gratitude keeps you in that state of 'wonderfulness' even when you're going through an unpleasant situation. This year, the plan is to add more beauty to my life by attending more galleries that show off creative talent, festivals that celebrate life and events that bring together good people and great food! We are powerful enough to create our own worlds where beauty and the good life are in cohorts. I have a growing list of riveting books that I can't wait to read, I am excited about speaking opportunities that have been penciled in, some exciting design projects and spending more time with my beautiful family. Much as I wish I could keep my boys little forever, they have insisted on growing. I am thankful I can be there to witness every inch as they creep up past me. How was 2014 for you? Did you make resolutions for 2015? Please share!