End of Year Review

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Run my dear, from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings.―Hafiz

 

Dearest Reader:

I’ve just returned to DC after a few days in the woods watching movies and reading fireside, wandering, and sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping. Although I had big plans for productivity and creativity, my body had other needs—deep rest with spurts of to-dos.

Preparing for and taking last week’s 3-hour and 52-minute licensing exam—not that I was counting—took everything I had and I’m grateful to be back to life again.

Returning to the quiet of a typically bustling city and home is a beautiful thing. Tim and our three furbabies stayed in the woods, so I’m solo for a few days and plan to bask in the silence between appointments and teaching.


So here we are at the end of 2016. Another completed chapter in our life’s book. A new chance to spread our wings. On Friday night, I’m going to share a peek into my End of Year Review process with our next Facebook Live event and hope you can join!

I like to tie a ceremonial bow around each year and explore the evolution—highlights, lessons learned, struggles, dreams, experiences, losses. Each of these played a role in the year’s unfurling.

According to Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters and Tranquility du Jour podcast #181 guest, “The end-of-year review process is very similar to sowing seeds. When you plant a garden, you don’t sit and stare at the seeds until they sprout. You know that some will germinate and some will not, but it is not up to you to make them grow. All you can do is set the conditions for their growth with good soil, adequate water, and the right amount of sun. And that’s what this exercise does—and while you are sowing seeds during this period, you can be enjoying the fruits of the previous year’s harvest at the same time.” Consider:

  1. How did you spend your time? There are 168 hours/week and 8,760 hours/year. Where did yours go? Break it down into categories such as family, creativity, work, spirituality, etc. Compare where it went to where you’d like to see it go next year.
  2. What journeys did you take?
  3. What were your accomplishments and disappointments?
  4. What lessons did you learn?
  5. How have you grown from this time last year?
  6. How do you hope to show up this time next year?

To get a head start, grab writing tools and paper. Sip a sparkling libation and list what you recall from the year in no particular order and answer the above questions. Capture big moments (e.g. completed graduate school) along with tiny ones (e.g. hosted a friend for tea and made lemon lavender cookies). Let the list flow.

When I’m out of moments, I flip through my Daybook to find forgotten events. Then I’ll scroll through photos for visual cues and review cards, ticket stubs, conference swag, and/or exhibit brochures kept in a shoe box wrapped in pretty paper and labeled “memories.”

If you’re more visual, print an assortment of photos and create a collage. Or if you’re more techie, use a photo collage app to assemble an electronic history that can be your desktop image, shared with loved ones, or used to sum up your favorite 2016 experiences.

I’ll often paste a beautiful full-page magazine image into my art journal and list memories on it with a Sharpie. This reminds me of the year’s ups and down, allows me to express gratitude for what transpired, and honor the evolution.

After this process (which can take days, by the way), review your answers, images, hopes, and dreams. Light a candle to honor losses. Acknowledge how every experience has made your year unique.

Set an intention for what you hope to see unfold next year. Allow this process to nurture who you are and who you are becoming. Sans judgment, simply observation filled with loving-kindness for yourself, those who cross your path, and even those who don’t.

Spread your wings and fly. Bisous. x

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