Sunday, January 11, 2015

Expansiveness - year in review

Taken at the US National Arboretum

For more than a few years now, I have completed a review of the successes and lessons from the year before and crafted an outline to help guide me through the new year.   A few of my words from previous years include:  focus, serendipity, mindfulness and last year, expansiveness.  Looking back over my year of expansiveness, 2014 was full of  new adventures in learning through workshops, classes and exploration to nudge me out of creative stagnation and a feeling that I was adrift of my core values.  I am not one that naturally looks back to fully savor past experiences; I'm more of the kind that is always focusing on completing the current adventure while looking ahead and leaning full tilt into the next.  So, through annual reviews, monthly aspiration setting and quarterly check-ins, I am beginning to choose my adventures more wisely as well as embody my experiences more fully. 

For this reason, I have chosen embodiment as my word for this year.  For me, embodiment means to embrace, incarnate and take in with the eye and essence - to enjoy the journey.  Some supporting words will be simplicity, mindfulness (again!), passion and savor.  

I encourage you to explore setting your personal core values, conducting a year in review and guide for the new year. Although most of us instinctively know our core values, we may not be able to articulate them easily.  Having them accessible for reference has helped me make decisions much more easily when testing an opportunity against my values list.  It's less painful to let an enticing, but inappropriate choice go when I can see how it's not going to work with who I am and strive to be. 

Here are the resources I used for both exercises:
Living Your Values free how-to by Steve Pavlina
Unravelling the Year Ahead free downloadable workbook by Susannah Conway
Tranquility Du JourAnthology beautiful memoir and workbook by Kimberly Wilson

Citrus ready for juicing

Finally, I thought I would share some of the highlights of 2014 - my year of expansiveness:

Successful suburban gardening season from start to finish
Photography featured in an exhibition at Annemarie Sculpture Garden and Art Center
Got dressed up and went to high tea at the Mandarin Oriental with fabulous neighborhood girlfriends
Volunteering through One Brick at the Capital Area Food Bank
Attended an intro and two 4-week Zen Photography workshops at the US National Arboretum
Enjoyed performing at local cultural festivals with fellow dancers
Attended a week long Main Street Vegan Academy course
Said goodbyes to former coworkers when they put on a vegetarian farewell potluck (they rock!)
Was greeted by new coworkers with a vegan welcome lunch (they rock too!)
Posted some healthy cooking favorites:  collard green egg rolls and coconut peanut butter bites
Attended fantastic milestone birthday that included a scavenger hunt in an historic mansion
Attended a beautiful milestone birthday/anniversary party complete with jazz band and cabaret singer
Savored neighborhood cookie baking party and holiday caroling events

I hope your 2015 is off to a good start, and I look forward to sharing my adventures during my year of embodiment.

Thanks for reading!