Looking Back in Wonder at 2011
Rather than making predictions or resolutions for the coming year, I dedicated my latest newsletter to some of the unexpected changes that happened to me in 2011. I want to share it with you here. This is not a typical list of goals that I accomplished, but rather life lessons that presented themselves to me in a myriad of ways and resulted in a year that frankly, took my breath away.
Here are my top 10 – in no particular order of importance.
1. You’re never too old to learn something new, begin a new career and make new friends.
At 58 years old, I find myself more inspired to learn than ever. I wake up eager to study and practice what I’ve been taught, and I have to force myself to put it to rest at night. Along with the learning came the added bonus of amazing new friends who, coupled with the dear old ones, continue to support me and enrich my life immeasurably.
2. I traded in fear for wonder.
I’m still not sure what caused this shift (probably meditation), but I found myself free of the fear that always seemed to be lurking in the shadows.
3. I began to honor my own pace of doing things, learning to accept and respect the rhythm of my life.
For as long as I can remember, I have been spinning my wheels – always moving but seemingly going nowhere, while instinctively knowing that I don’t like rushing. So when turtles started repeatedly showing up in my life this year – in my dreams and in my waking state (I’m not making this up!), I decided that I needed to slow down. According to Ted Andrews in his Animal Speak Pocket Guide, when a turtle shows up, its message is to ”take your time in your pursuits. Trust in Mother Earth. You will have what you need”. Amazingly, the slower and calmer I became, the more things began to fall into place.
4. I’m pretty sure I found the purpose of my life this year.
So for those of you reading this who are in your 20’s or 30’s or 40’s or even 50’s and beyond, and have no clue why you’re here, relax, stay open and do what you love. Someday when you least expect it, the answer will come and it will knock your socks off. It’s never too late.
5. I embraced my Sagittarius destiny and began traveling like never before.
Five countries and six states in one year – are you kidding me??? Look out world, here I come!
6. I fell in love with nature again.
Clouds, oceans and lakes, sunsets and full moons, thunderstorms, sparrows and turtles and trees, oh my! I can’t get enough of Mother Nature. I just watched the PBS special Christmas in Yellowstone and put visiting there on my bucket list.
7. I learned to embrace silence and solitude.
Unplugged and alone, in meditation, prayer and reflection, I have been blessed to experience peace. And in doing so, number eight on my list occurred.
8. I met my soul.
Yes I did. And she’s amazing.
9. You can not only survive tragedy, but you can become stronger because of it.
The grief I experienced this year was undoubtedly the toughest but most important lesson of all. Even the most tragic things in life can have a silver lining – if you are open enough to look for it. Yes, my heart still aches for Ralph and when I saw the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and the skaters this year without him by my side, the tears began to flow. They’re flowing right now as I write this, but somehow I am able to smile through the tears. It’s hard for me to explain how this mingling of sorrow and joy can occur. Our souls were deeply connected and they continue to be. Ralph’s death led me to a belief in an afterlife and completely freed me of a fear of dying. What a parting gift he gave to me.
10. And last, but not least, I learned to receive as well as to give.
Many things happened to me this year that kept nudging me in this direction. Like many of us, I have always found it easier to give than receive. But when Ralph passed away, there was no longer an option. At my most vulnerable, I let go of past patterns and opened myself up to receiving love and care from loved ones and near strangers alike. It was a profoundly life-changing experience for me. So many of you reading this newsletter were on the giving end and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This is my list and I’m wondering if any of you might be so inclined to write one of your own. On the surface you may feel, like so many others, that 2011 was just a terrible year. But I challenge you to look beyond the obvious financial woes or personal tragedies you may have experienced to find the silver lining(s). And if you do, I would love for you to share them with me.
Wishing you many blessings in 2012.