I can’t do it all: Reflections on 2018
I can’t do it all!
I think January is the worst time to make major life changes—it’s a dark and cold time of year. What I DO encourage is a mindful reflection of the past year. What worked? What didn’t? Use these simple questions to surface the shifts you want to make in the year ahead. I’m not talking about major overhauls— just creating new habits that better feed all aspects of you.
Here, I share my own 2018 reflection.
What worked in 2018
Last year, I maintained the bare minimum on overall balance for the things I value: family, fun, work, learning, quiet alone time, nature, and time with people I care about. I want to celebrate that I kept that mindfulness—even if it was the bare minimum—because my body is very sensitive. When I don’t have that balance it tells me loud and clear with headaches, migraines, fatigue, chronic viral infection flares, eczema, and more.
So, how’d I do it? A few things stand out. First, I made time for vacations and shorter weekend trips in nature. That was really important because when I took the time to deliberately let go and recharge, I was able to be my best self, and give the most to my self, family, friends, and patients.
Having a space to express my voice—literally and figuratively—challenges me, but it also feeds me. In 2018, I sang with the Aurora Chorus for a second year, which kept me connected to my tribe of women every week—in rehearsals and our live performances. After one concert, an audience member thanked me for singing and offered to give me a hug. Another said attending our concerts inspire her to be a better person. That felt amazing to hear! Writing these blogs and recording videos did the same—gave me the space to express my voice while also pushing me out of my comfort zone, sometimes in a good way, sometimes a bit too much.
My daughter left for college this September, a huge step for her and a huge change for me and my husband. She and I continued to share an activity that’d become just for us—indoor rock climbing. This not only gave us something to share during this really big change but also really fed my confidence. I moved in other ways too. Now that my office is closer to home, I walk in a few days a week through a beautiful neighborhood that keeps me connected to nature. I found myself paying attention to every detail—the birds, trees, squirrels, clouds, and sky.
What didn’t work well in 2018
Throughout 2018, one thing rang true over and over—I need fewer demands on me and my time. Nothing was more draining on me than putting myself ‘out there’ with a new practice, new community, and launching my personal brand—I was literally putting my heart out there in blogs, videos, and lectures. This put a strain on my emotional and physical health—and boy, have I been feeling it this past year.
When I’m spread too thin, I tend to focus on what’s right in front of me, and like so many other people, I stop tuning in to what my body needs, day in and day out.
Being spread too thin also affected my ability to stay consistent. Reading recharges me. While I read a few good books last year, I didn’t do much regular reading for pleasure. While I got out in nature a bit, I didn’t bike and hike regularly. And, my schedule didn’t make room for daily solo meditation sit and consistently joining my sangha bimonthly—practices I deeply value.
I’ve often asked my patients, “Are your values reflected on your calendar?” When I’m spread too thin, those values don’t make it to my calendar either.
Habits I’d like to shift in 2019
Finding balance and nourishment is my number one priority in 2019.
My own naturopath, acupuncturist, and bodyworker all tell me the same thing—my body is trying to stay caught up with my life. Lately, I’ve asked a lot of it. I’ve challenged old ways of thinking and I’ve stretched my boundaries—all great things, but they require mindful attention and support.
In 2019, I want to continue my own growth to improve my health and confidence. I want to come into my own voice, both professionally and personally. And that means keeping my values on my calendar. The more time I spend deeply tuning into my own self, the more clarity I get on what I need, as well as what my patients need, and what my students need. Simply put, I’m more productive when I feel more in balance—everyone is, really.
Overall, I’m so grateful for the life I’ve created for myself here in Oregon. No life is perfect. We’re all human, all perfectly imperfect. There are always areas to pay more attention and strive to improve.