2016 in Reflection
I’m not big on resolutions, so instead, every year I create a theme. One word that focusses on the big picture and guides me. My word of the year last year was Abundance. And it really was.
Although I unexpectedly lost a job, I’ve found so many silver linings I can’t even keep count. I didn’t land an amazing new job. I didn’t make much money at all, in fact. But I did get to pursue my own passions. I did get to enjoy every minute of my work day and start to create the future I see for myself. I did make my first sum of money from my website. (An international transaction, no less.) I did write my first invoice, incorporated myself and became a sole proprietor, and learned how to sell my handmade goods at my first craft shows. We didn’t get our house completely organized and in order. But we did remodel two huge rooms in it. Through it all, I did have the love and support from friends and family I needed to encourage me. And for those things, I am both proud and humbled. And mostly grateful. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and change is incremental. I didn’t get engaged, but I did fall more in love with my partner through both ups and downs. I have felt so loved and supported, even through tests and stressors. I didn’t travel the world. But I did get to take three amazing domestic trips and create memories to last a lifetime. I’ve felt the positives far outweigh any negatives, and it was truly my year of Abundance.
My 2017 Mantra
And from this, my 2017 New Year’s mantra was born. My word for this year is Attention. To focus my attention on all the things I do have and capitalize on the little victories and small blessings in my daily life. Shifting my attention and perspective to the right things is going to be key this year.
I have everything I need. This past year, I was blessed in a multitude of ways and my needs were always provided for. For example, I got two speeding tickets, but somehow my insurance didn’t go up. My personal relationships have never been stronger. Not once did I feel a sense of worry about the future of my personal life. If was like this blanket of peace came over me throughout all the times of uncertainty and I absolutely know things will be fine. That’s hard for people to grasp – “How can you be so calm?”, I hear. It’s hard to describe, but focussing on the good is incredibly powerful, and I’m learning to trust in more than myself alone. In a year that could definitely be seen as a defeating year for me, I felt like I thrived personally and feel so much more comfortable with who I am and what I want from life.
I wish I could say the same for my outlook on the world at large. It’s impossible for me to not see all the tragedies this year has brought, and feel for all the people suffering. Negative thoughts about our future come up in my mind more often than I’d like to admit. These things weigh heavily on me. If you’re not concerned about the state of our nation and world, frankly I think you need to wake up. But there’s only so much we can control, and that feels crippling. But I must remember to be my best in the areas I can control. That I’ve met so many generous and good people who inspire me and give me hope for our future. To invest in people and always remember to focus my attention on the good. And focus more on the here and now, and less on the future.
It seems whenever I’m feeling down, God reminds me to look up. A neighbor kid will come over at just the right time and instantly cheer me up with their smiles and inherent sense of wonder and goodness. With something awe-inspiring in nature, like a flock of pheasants or coming face to face with a deer while getting my mail from the mailbox. Or an encouraging email from a friend amongst all the spam. But it’s up to me to be present and aware of all the wonders and blessings right in front of me. And I have no one to blame but myself if I don’t. Attention.
So what do I plan to do? I want to fill my days with positive affirmations. I’m not sure yet what they are all going to be, so please feel free to share ideas. 🙂 I want my first thoughts in the morning to be of gratitude. I need to remind myself often of God’s promises and remember how He’s been so faithful. That I am a child of God and my value is in that and nothing else. That He goes before me and makes my path smooth. That I will not suffer or go through trials unless He allows them. And even then I am not alone and that He uses them for His purpose. That all His plans for me are good and He never wastes a hurt. These are a few things I try to remember when I’m feeling discouraged or afraid. I want to shift my attention every time I start to think a negative thought and replace it with an affirming one. If you have specific verses, mantras, sayings, affirmations, etc. that work for you, I’m all ears! I believe our thoughts play a huge unconscious role in shaping our future.
I also want to fill myself with positive people and influences. I’m looking for good podcasts, books, magazines, daily devotionals, practices, rituals or whatever else will fill me up with with energy each day. I want to focus my attention on things that will set me up for success each day. Yoga has been such a replenishing practice for me over the last few years – it centers me and allows me to focus on the moment and grounds me. I love the element of mindfulness and awareness of your own breath and body – It’s an essential part in focussing your attention.
A few of my long-running virtual sources of inspiration have been:
- Marie Forleo
- Eagle Brook
- After the Jump
- Influence Network
- Clarity on Fire
- The Purpose Driven Life
- Inside Quest
These are all business + spiritual. Oh and I love to see when all of you succeed. Nothing makes me happier. I hope to be a resource to others more this year as well.
Goals for 2017
A few specific personal and professional goals I have for myself:
- Start an Etsy shop
- Be more strategic about the craft shows I participate in
- Be more collaborative and meet other entrepreneurs and makers in the community
- Take some pottery throwing classes
- Travel more
- Grow vegetables
- Supplement my income in multiple ways, diversify with investments etc.
- Pay off one student loan and make one additional house payment
- Join a book club
- Work on my photography skills
Those are my open and honest hopes and goals for 2017. To focus my attention on all the good. And there is so much good. I hope you all have a safe and happy new year!
What are your 2017 resolutions or mantras? How do you start your mornings?