And it is here – the last day of the year 2020. I had been spending many moments of the last few weeks in silence and in a couple of retreats reflecting on the year and I had this realization that reflection indeed had been a major theme of this year for me. Limited external stimulation meant a lot of time with my own self and a beautiful strengthening of my relationship with myself that I had written about here and here.
As I sat with the words that best described my year, the most prominent ones were overwhelming, exhaustion, joyful, transformational, grief, sadness, pain, climate change, patriarchy, capitalism, surrender, love, and family. I am incredibly grateful that our family was minimally impacted in terms of health or income this year and the primary struggle for me was around working without any kind of childcare and I am grateful that even though it was hard, we made it work. The suffering in the world, the overwhelm that came with it combined with getting through my own workday added to so much of the pain I experienced.
And then there were other struggles and challenges and alongside were just as many gifts and learnings that came from the pain. My post today is more on the impact of this year on my own values, leadership, and ways of being. I will write another one capturing some of my memories and day to day experiences in this very strange year.
I went through a lot of pain with two very close friendships and as the year went by, there was healing and I was able to see more clearly my own role in my pain, my own triggers, and unmet needs. I am ending the year with a new sense of love and compassion for both of these friendships and powerful lessons that I will carry forward in all my other relationships.
I made significant progress toward my coaching certification and honestly that work – my cohort and the learnings, the people I was coaching, and being coached was what kept me grounded and connected to my purpose through this year. I learned so much about myself and humanity at large through the stories of all the wonderful humans, I had the privilege of coaching. I learned that true belonging starts with belonging to myself and that my needs matter and I have full permission to ask for what I need including taking a 6-week break from work (that will be its own post!). I learned to sit with all of my big feelings, my grief, and discomfort, and being able to discern what I needed to feel vs. over-analyze and ruminate. I also felt more connected with my rebellious and rule-breaker self. I also noticed a lot of judgment in myself with COVID -19 choices around me and it took a lot of courage to witness those thoughts and choose forgiveness and compassion instead.
It was also a year where I felt deep healing and comfort in my body. I slept well after many years of not having good sleep. For the last 7 years, I had either been pregnant or breastfeeding for almost 5 of them. 2019 included neither but for a multitude of reasons, my sleep was very negatively impacted so this year, despite the chaos outside my body, I almost always felt safe and seen in my body. I also “tried” to take good care of her with movement, meditation, and nourishing food (though there was a lot of chocolate this year!) and embracing a lot of curiosity around my body. I took a lot of rest and really tried listening to my body as best as I could. I learned a lot more about the menstrual cycle and the impact of my hormones on my day-to-day energy and mood.
It took giving myself some space to make sense of the racial injustice, white supremacy, and patriarchy that exists in the world. I had to learn and unlearn so much about my own identity, limiting beliefs, and how little effort I had put into educating, empathizing, and really thinking deeply about this topic and how much is yet to be done and how little I had done. It was both recognizing how much privilege I had and the marginalization I had faced in my life. Similarly, climate change was felt in a very visceral way with all the fires in California. I do not have all answers on my role and way of contributing but I am reflecting, educating, exploring alongside taking actions that contribute to solutions to all these massive challenges in the world. I had this fascinating realization mid-way through the year as I looked through my client roster and realized I primarily had people of color or minorities that I was working with and it was a moment of deep humility and responsibility to amplify the voices, dreams, and longings of people whose voices aren’t always heard at the table.
As a parent, I understood my kids a bit better, their needs and triggers, and learned how to both accept them more fully while managing my own triggers and coaching them to access their own wisdom and make choices that are meaningful. I failed, I stumbled, cried a lot but I am ending the year with more answers, hope, strength, and courage in my parenting.
I do not have big plans or rather any plans at the moment for 2021. I know I will pen them down but for now, I will be ringing in the new year with a deep commitment to love, belonging, surrender curiosity, and kindness.
Pic Credit – Kira auf der Heide