Thursday, May 4, 2017

Highlights from 2016

Farm view - Rural Retreat, VA

Well, they say it's better late than, I'm finally getting to complete this post started many months ago.  For me, 2016 was shadowed by my sadness over my mother's passing away in February of last year.  I spent much of the rest of the year just taking things as they came as I realized that I wasn't going to be in control of things the way I usually like to be.  As I incorporated the responsibilities of settling an estate into an already busy schedule, I had to come to grips with the reality that grief makes you move at a slower pace through life.  I had to let some activities go in order to cope.  Despite that, there was still plenty to celebrate during the year.  The year was also filled with plenty of personal reflection, and I marked the end of the year by doing a look back to celebrate the highlights from 2016, picking a word and setting goals for 2017 as I have been doing over the past 10 years or so.

Here are some of the highlights from 2016:

I started and completed 1/4 of the coursework in a graduate school program in transpersonal psychology.  This partial stack of school books in the photo below kept me busy during the year.  My coursework has a large experiential component requiring a great deal of inner work.  My personal meditation practice has become even more consistent as I explored a variety of both Eastern and Western techniques.  I delved into a journey of self-discovery uncovering the mythologies of childhood and culture that are influencing me today, and immersed myself in discovering the science behind the powers of the human mind and the the mysteries of our dreams.  I've included a resource list of some of the books I explored in class and some others just for fun in case you are looking for something to add to your reading list.

Because of my studies, the garden didn't get as much of my attention as I would have liked to have given it.  However, the harvests still offered an abundance of fruits and vegetables plus beautiful flowers for bouquets.

I attended a weekend program on intuition and dreams at a farmhouse called the Big House in Rural Retreat, VA.  In addition to gaining new knowledge, it was a weekend of much needed rejuvenation, beautiful scenery, and making connections with a like-minded community.  After the program, the road trip continued with visits to family in Kentucky and Indiana before heading home and back to work and my studies.

The Big House in Rural Retreat, VA

Other highlights for the year included:

spending time with my brother and his family
a photography workshop with my favorite zen master
high tea at an historic inn with some of the ladies in the neighborhood
a fun summer evening at a traveling carnival with a girlfriend and her family
performing dance at a charity function
a special night at the 10-year anniversary celebration of  the release of Hip Tranquil Chick
my husband taking me to a performance of Love Letters by Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal
a beautiful local Christmas light display
monthly volunteering with my son at the local food bank

As I have done for many years, I completed Susannah Conway's Unravelling exercise of reflection for the year past and set aspirations for the year ahead.  Last year's word was IMMERSION, and that came about when I dove into my studies and also coped with being unexpectedly immersed in grief.  For 2017, I have chosen AUTHENTIC as my word to explore as my knowledge and worldview expand with my studies.  I'm looking forward to watching the rest of 2017 unfold and the adventures it might bring.

Thanks for reading!

Reading list:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Personal Mythology: Using Ritual, Dreams, and Imagination to Discover Your Inner Story
Dream Solutions! Dream Realizations: The Original Dream Quest Guidebook
Extraordinary Knowing: Science, Skepticism, and the Inexplicable Powers of the Human Mind
Meditation for Beginners
Living Deeply: The Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life
When the Soul Awakens: The Path to Spiritual Evolution and a New World Era
The Secret History of Dreaming
The Essential Edgar Cayce
Succulent Wild Woman - Dancing With Your Wonder-full Self!
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

   Rose in full bloom in my garden