Sunday, 25 January 2015

word of the year

If you read my post "screw you New Year resolutions", I'm staying true to my word and sharing the word I chose for 2015.


Last year's journey with the words "self-care" in the forefront proved to be a deal-changer and beamed me to a more confident space of guiltlessly caring for myself appropriately.

"Self-care" must now be tattooed betwixt lobes in my brain.  I'm sure it would show up on a MRI-- no we didn't find a tumour but you have a giant SELF-CARE emblazoned on your frontal cortex.

And maybe it's how this "choose a word for the year" thing works.  

We can change our life--for good--one word at a time.

Our word becomes part of us.

Part of my journey last year also included exploring the concept of "career" for me.

In 2013 I had an enriching year of teaching counselling at the local college on a temporary placement. While the students were lovely and the work rewarding, as I ventured out into agencies supervising students on placements, I was met by the woeful message of seasoned practitioners lamenting that there really weren't jobs for the future students. The field was going down. How can you really be putting more counsellors out there? And since the program has closed.

As enlightened as New Zealand is in so many ways, it is not holding space for the field of counselling/psychotherapy/family and couples therapy, etc.

To keep my US licensure and certification I stay involved in continuing education. Having attended "coaching" courses before for continuing ed, I decided to attend a coaching certification course and found it to be a very enriching experience, personally and professionally; the biggest gift was walking me through a process of honing in on what it is I really want to do professionally.

That's when my 2015 word began to surface.

Having stranger-in-a-strange-land-itis, I can easily get wrapped up in, "who am I to come in to a new country and offer my services . . ."

Americans aren't always seen in a positive light here due, in part, to the reputation of the US consistently telling smaller countries how they should be running their countries, while seemingly not looking in their own back yard.

As I went through the process of intention setting and exploring what I feel I could give back the word BELIEVE kept resurfacing.

Yes, in capital letters.

But it's not just about concrete career-like thoughts.

BELIEVE, for me, is about trusting my inner voice. 

It intertwines with last year's "self-care" theme: BELIEVE that it serves you AND those you love to take that bit of extra time to self-care.

I had to embrace BELIEVE before I could practice self-care, but I realised there were many other areas of my life where I needed to believe more.

Doubt and second-guessing myself resurface?


Exhale confidence.

My word of the year is my friend. 

My catalyst for growth.

My companion.

What's your word for the year?

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Screw you New Year resolutions: Starting Fresh.

Happy 2015.

I reckon the New Year really doesn't start until February in New Zealand. 

With the combination of heralding summer AND the holidays AND school breaks, experiencing our fifth summer here, I can say that it's all a much bigger blur than in the states.  

And it's not because of dancing the materialistic shuffle commandeered by the likes of shopping and gift giving.

Largely responsible for the chaos is the mass exodus of the entire nation to the beaches for the ritual of reconnecting with families and friends. (that's another post)

Today, I want to talk about the New Year and I shared the above information to say that with the buzz of activity and energy during this time, I find it challenging to pause for my typical reflection on the year gone by and mindful planning of the year ahead.

Enter guru Jane Cunningham (who herself is magic-- click on the link to take a glimpse into her world and find her also on Facebook HERE if you want her magic in regular FB doses) who made mention of someone's work to check out for picking "your word" for 2015 and other help in looking at the year.

"Unravelling the year ahead 2015" is a free offering by Susannah Conway (click on name or title to get to that link).  

To say that I am finding this gift an invaluable tool that makes the space for some heart-centred planning and retrospection on life and living is an understatement. I highly recommend checking it out.

Last year I picked a theme for 2014-- it was "self-care." 

I cannot tell you how invaluable it was to have set that intention and how it gave me permission to look after myself without judgment (am i being selfish?  should i really take this time for me?). 

Doubts were vanquished because I mindfully set the GOAL of "self-care"-- not a passing thought or another "should," but a strong intention.

Some of the things my chosen words or intention brought in 2014 included me taking an in-depth online creative journaling class-- The Gifts of Imperfection-- with Brene Brown that was honestly worth 5 years of therapy AND had me playing with art-- a recommendation I had been ignoring for years.  

I made some sacred space for myself by joining the afore mentioned Jane Cunningham every week for a creative journalling women's group which has been moving and magical and a very meaningful addition to my life.

Knowing I was working on self-care, I was able to take centering or rest time when I felt I needed to, instead of pushing through, because I had to if I was going to be true to my intention.

And with an amazingly chaotic year of moving and renovation and sitting on a murder trial and other drama-- taking that time to explore what I needed to focus on and putting it in practice, I believe, saved me (and my health).

With an intention of "self-care" came a huge dose of self-compassion-- and can't we all use a bit more of that?

So I encourage you to take the plunge and use this generous free tool to REALLY come up with what your theme for growth is this year.

And I'd love to hear what you discover and what your word for 2015 is . . . 

I'll share mine in another post.

Oh, and the photo above is my current view for this writing day.  And the 2 teeny people up by the water are a 60 year old couple, who travelled the 32 hour journey from England, that have the room next to us.  Last night he stated, "Life's too short. We've had friends die unexpectedly. The time to explore is now.  You can't keep putting it off . . ."


The time to SELF-explore is now.

And let go of the "what? haven't i blown it already? the new year is less than a month old and i haven't followed my plan . . ."

Yes. I hear you.  Let go of that silly idea.

Every day starts a new year.

And a new you.