2016 was another year filled with immense challenges, but also growth.
The massive amount of growth lead to more reading that I've done in quite some time. A few interesting reads I have stumbled across this past year and found quite inspiring in a variety of ways...each one entered into my life for a different reason yet had some core elements in common that pulled me into new opportunities to expand. I thought I'd share here, in case anyone is going through their own struggles and are interested in some inspiration. Often times we just need a hint of a new idea in order to open our hearts and minds that can transform our situations into opportunities rather than deep, dark holes that eat us alive. To the people/friends who either suggested a book on this list or inspired my research attempts that lead to a book on this list: Even if the reason behind it wasn't pretty, they were all mind blowing, so thank you.
- A Year to Live - Stephen Levin
- Move into Life: The Nine Essentials for Lifelong Vitality - Anat Baniel
- Rewired - Erica Spiegelman
- Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender - David Hawkins
- Why You're Stuck - Derek Doepker
While I am thankful for the growth and inner digging life has pulled out of me, it has usually been due to pain. I've discovered new levels of pain I wish I didn't know existed, but also new depths of love. And in almost every situation I am faced with, creativity eventually emerged to make some sort of art from the pieces.
The creative part is bittersweet - while I haven't especially enjoyed the painful parts, it really is amazing what can come from them. I've worn my wire heart pendant a lot throughout the past year, as a reminder that we can always make something beautiful out of the pain, the mess, the brokenness, life's "butt kickings"... A whole slew of new ideas are overflowing and itching to come to life. This road I've stumbled upon has not been easy, and I don't know where it is going. There have been many low moments, when it feels like giving up makes the most sense because this route just doesn't seem to work. Dreams have collapsed, been rebuilt, collapsed again, redesigned, only to continue to collapse. I've felt like I have followed a similar pattern. While it can feel discouraging, and like there isn't much - if anything - left, each pile of rubble seems to sprout new ideas, new inspiration, new perspectives. As long as I am alive, there is the chance that something new may grow.
I put a lot of effort into other peoples dreams and goals, into other peoples lives, for quite some time, though have struggled to put that much effort and love towards my dreams/myself. Calling myself out on this and taking responsibility to make adjustments has been quite the process.
"If your compassion does not include yourself it is incomplete." - Jack Kornfield
The past couple years, I have loosely toyed with a new "tradition" for New Year's Day. I decided it was a good day to serve as a starting point for what I'd like to fill the year/life with - to rethink priorities, to really consider what I want to spend my time on. Perhaps this deserves a solid effort this year.
I will have a few "announcements" regarding some of the ideas I'll be launching. Some of them I have mixed feelings on at this point, but why not give it a shot - I can always change my mind later, right? Some of these are along the lines of my New Year's Day "tradition" and some of my past challenges - a continued attempt to prioritize what I feel is important and what I want to fill my life with. I have enjoyed the challenges I've done the past couple years, and have one or five I'd like to try for 2017 - and would love to have you along for the ride.
"And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, 'This is important! And this
is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!'
And each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, 'No.
This is what's important.'" -Iain Thomas
So, with the new lessons I've added to my collection, let's see where this goes, shall we?