I have found personally and professionally that December can be equal parts joy and heaviness. I’ve talked about my mixed feelings about the month of December in a previous blog, and those still stand. I have also found a deep appreciation for utilizing December as a time to review your experiences, emotions, and relationships of the past year, and slow down enough to recognize all that has shifted in your world. It’s easy to be swept up in the chaos and joy of the holiday season, but maybe the time we spend reviewing the year is our opportunity to take care of ourselves, love our favorite people in the most practical ways, and really appreciate the beauty and messiness of our day-to-day life.
Many of the questions I’ve begun to ask myself and my clients are used well in journal format. I also love the idea of sitting with one of your closest people over a cup of tea and connecting around these questions. One of the concepts that has really hit home for me this year is that healthy connection can save us. Knowing there is someone there to call. Remembering we aren’t alone. I have clients share with me that the only way they got through the hardest parts of their lives (the birth of a child, the loss of a parent, coming out to a family who was not accepting) was by connecting with people who love them unconditionally. When we take a moment to contemplate this and recognize that all it takes is other people to navigate the most challenging life events, it’s mind-blowing.
The goal of this practice is to observe how much you have changed. Identify what has happened in your life since this time last year. Who is still part of your life? Who isn’t? What do you know now that you didn’t know then? About your relationships, about yourself, about how you handle the hard stuff?
Where did you spend the most time? With whom? What did your most important people remind you about yourself? How does it feel to answer those questions? Is there anything you would do differently next year?
What will you always remember about this year? Did it have a theme? Patterns? A color? An essence?
Putting these on paper or out into the world in a conversation with someone close to us can lift a burden. Reduce the weight we put on ourselves. Allow us to move forward with a greater sense of freedom. With your newly lightened load, take one step at a time. Get to know yourself. Ask yourself, what do I like? What makes me tick? How do I want to spend my time? Who am I now? These answers are important. They give you clues about your new path. It’s ok to fear the unknown. Just not so much that it stops you from claiming your new life. Because this is it, y’all.
Unpacking these questions can also be really hard. We can recognize ways we have hurt others and shown up as someone other than our highest self. But let me remind you: we are not above our pain, or causing others pain. In fact, if we live with any sense of freedom or truth, it is inevitable that we will cause a bit of harm or hurt. The best we can do is own our actions, take responsibility, and make it right. Then try our hardest not to do it again. Be better. Be more authentic and truthful about how we landed where we did, and where we need to pay attention so we can be in our lives and relationships with integrity.
Sometimes we find ourselves at the lowest low of our lives so far. We believe we deserve everything that is happening to us.
Here we are. Alive. Engaged. Different. Better. Wiser. More loved, if by fewer people. Still working. Still searching. Loving harder, with more caution. In the best way.
We can also see the ways we have truly succeeded, shown up for ourselves and others, and done the work we were put here to do. Often times, these joys are mixed with the sorrows. When we slow down to notice them, that’s when we are able to truly appreciate the delicate balance we are all striking in our short lives.
I hope you know how grateful I am for you. Your support and encouragement are a gift to me and our world. Thank you for doing your best. Thank you for working so hard, for loving so hard, and for being out here with me. I hope this December offers you the joy, kindness, and respite you deserve.