2013: Looking Back

It is that time of the year, when we take a look, back over the past 365 days and what we’ve accomplished and how far we’ve come.  I found a great set of questions, for reviewing the year, on Sandra’s blog at Always Well Within.  I’m going to use her questions to review 2013.

1. Describe your year in a single word, sentence and paragraph.

I realized that, all along, I had been wearing the ruby slippers that would bring me home.

2. Look back at each month of the year.  Write one sentence to describe each month.  Or, write a sentence that elucidates the most important lesson learned each month.

January: Everything hit the fan, and it didn’t kill me.

February: As things continued to hit the fan, Rob and I chose to celebrate Crab Day on the 14th.  (We shall continue to celebrate it next year).

March: Moved into awesome kitchen classroom, but continued to work on resume.

April: Really began to face (perceived) unworthiness during spring break, and started applying for jobs in Texas.

May: After 12 minute Skype interview, accepted teaching position in Houston.

June: Began impossible task of decluttering house.

July: Achieved goal of homelessness by last week of the month.

August: Arrived in Houston on August 1; spent month exploring our new world.

September: Began bicycle commuting to work.

October: Disappointed to realize that moving did not remove all of my challenges, and that my brain followed me here.

November: Began reading “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach and began the process of radically accepting.

December: Finally began to find peace and acceptance, in a number of areas in life.

3. What were the highlights of your year?  The low-lights?

The highlights: The tremendous growth and self-discovery, the realization that everything I had assumed about everything was inaccurate, watching the walls fall down and being able to be vulnerable, and the new life we’re creating here.

The low-lights: Not many, because the seemingly impossible challenges I’ve faced were necessary in order for the highlights to be a reality.  I feel guilty, at times, for relying on others so much and not seeing my own ability to overcome.  But even that was necessary, in order for me to learn what I needed to learn, and I can assume that it was also necessary for my friends to learn what they needed to learn.  Life is too short for regrets.  I guess not launching Moonraker was a low-light.

4. Read through your journals, highlight the juicy bits and compile a mega list of lessons learned.  Then whittle your list to your top 3 life lessons from 2013.

I’ve written lots of posts on lessons I’ve learned.  Here, here, and here  are some of them.  If I had to whittle it down to top 3 lessons, it would be this:

1.  Learning to love and understand yourself is the key to doing anything that you want to do in life, including loving and understanding others.

2.  We can’t control life, to the extent that we want to.  And we waste a lot of energy in our efforts.

3.  Being abandoned, or truly being separate from each other and from love, is impossible.

5. Who/what were the significant people, events, and places during the past 12 months?

Here and here are posts about significant people.

I think the places and events are pretty obvious.  😉

6. What would you like to forget about this year?  Do you have any regrets?  Anything you would like to have done differently?

Absolutely nothing.

7. What was the emotional tone of 2013?  What were the dominating emotional patterns?  Don’t forget the good ones!

Absolute devastation and absolute bliss.  It was an emotional roller coaster of a year.

8. Capture your year as a color, a taste, a feeling, a visual or a smell.

Wind, fire, and light.

9. Look through your photos and chose the ones that best represent the year.  Write an evocative headline for each.  Create a photo collage that represents the essence of your year.

collage

10. What did you accomplish?  What challenged you?

Understanding reality and facing fears were my challenges and my accomplishments.  Also, learning to stop trying to control and change everything in life.

11. List your most important insights about your body, emotions, mind, spirit, work, finances, and/or relationships.  And, any thing else important to you.

I’ve learned to love, understand, and accept everything about myself.  I’ve realized that I was very self-unaware, especially about my body.  One day my mind was drifting, and I realized it was because I hadn’t noticed that I had a sliver in my foot!  I’ve learned to observe my thoughts and emotions without getting sucked in, and this has led to a great deal of inner peace.  My marriage has become stronger, as a result of this personal growth, and my relationship with my daughter has, as well.

12.  What lessons, insights, perspectives, and new behaviors would you like to carry forward into the new year?

I’ve started a daily mindfulness practice, that I definitely would like to continue.  I would also like to continue to become more self-aware, and to notice when I become overwhelmed and need to rest.

13.  Is there anyone to forgive, including yourself?

Only myself.  But I think I have been able to let go of the regrets that I have had, over last winter.

14.  Did you choose a single word as your guiding star this year?  If so, how did it go with your word?  Did you remember it?  Did you bring it alive?

My one-word theme was Love.  This word truly was my guiding star, during 2013.  I came to understand love in a deeper and more profound way than I even believed was possible.  I now see that love is all that exists, all that we need, and all that we are.  It is the only thing we need to do, and it is something that we can’t help doing and sharing.

I strongly recommend that you use these questions in your own journaling or blogging, so that you can find the lessons that you need to carry with you, into 2014.  It’s been a great year, and I’m glad that you were along for the journey.

2 thoughts on “2013: Looking Back

  1. Lots of good questions and I will hang onto them. I will not have another quiet moment to myself until January 5. The apartment has been filled with company since last weekend and I’m trying hard to maintain peacefulness with all the different rhythms and energy levels.

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