A Deep Bow to 2015 (and 6 Things I Know for Sure)

Doing some rear-view mirror gazing this evening and the reflection from the past year is quite something to behold. Magnificent, really.

Taking in the summits and shadows, vistas and valleys, storm clouds and rainbows, I vividly recall the bright and brilliant days, and that one dark night of the soul.

Champagne was drunk, humble pie was eaten, and there were side trips to stop and smell the roses (although not near as many as there should’ve been). It was a fast, smooth sail and a wild, bumpy trip.

Above all, it was an adventure of my own choosing.

More than anything, I’m grateful for every ounce of good fortune that affords me the freedom of that choice. Not a day goes by that I don’t give profound thanks to be a strong, healthy and free Canadian woman.

I spent the year navigating love, loss, trials, triumph, delight and disappointment.There were happy dances, ugly cries, breakthroughs, breakdowns and rounds of high-fives. I enjoyed some deeply meaningful experiences and endured some monumental letdowns. I forged some lasting, lifelong friendships, celebrated some significant milestones, and said some really hard goodbyes.    

But as I sit in the glow of this roaring fire tonight, with the tree lights twinkling and my Chai tea steaming, I’m intensely thankful for every messy, magical minute of it.

The lessons were plenty, the blessings were many, and there are six things that I now know to be categorically true without doubt:

Life can be a graceless dance, but we always get to pick the jam.

We’re all just doing the same clumsy waltz of thriving and surviving. Weaving our way between the moments of our lives – those we passionately live for and others we painfully live through – sometimes we soar and sometimes we stumble, but the music never stops.

As it turns out, we’re the DJ’s of our lives. We write the scores, create the playlists, and decide on the soundtracks. We fly and we falter, and we’re all in charge of finding our own groove.    

Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

While Jon Acuff may have said it first, this wisdom was graciously handed down to me from a friend and mentor for whom I have huge heaps of love, respect and admiration (thanks Rachelle!).

Following your passion and embracing your authenticity can be wildly fulfilling, but nobody really tells you that launching and building a new business can be an intimidating, lonely and frustrating experience.

Between the steep learning curve, the uncertainty of cash flow, the discomfort of self-promotion and those few people who aren’t exactly rooting for your success, things can feel more than a little overwhelming and exhausting at times. If you throw in relentless comparison to some peers or gurus along the way, all of a sudden you’re hosting the world’s most epic pity party for one.

Learning to be ok with where we’re at might be the most important lesson we can ever learn. This isn’t just true of business, but in every single area of our lives - including our health, wellness and relationships. Bloom where you’re planted, go a little easier on yourself, and decide to shine with the light that is yours.  

Joy over justice. Always.

Would you rather be right or happy? For many people, these can tend to be one and the same, despite the fact that righteous indignation isn’t sexy on anyone.

I’m the first to admit that there have been times in my life when I’ve exerted too much energy proving points and righting wrongs. I’m glad to say that 2015 was definitely not one of those times, and it was much more beautiful as a result.

Winning whatever war we might happen to be waging hardly ever feels as victorious as we anticipate it will. It’s very rarely worth it and you’ll generally find yourself more hurt, heartbroken or infuriated than you were in the first place.

The high road is always the right road. As Danielle LaPorte has candidly pointed out, sometimes you have to say f-off to your principles as a strict matter of health, happiness and wellbeing.

Generosity is the best response to everything.

Honestly, absolutely everything. If you’re aiming to make joy a final destination in your life, generosity is the fastest and surest way to get there.

There’s simply no way of knowing what’s really going on behind the scenes with people. Make compassion and curiosity your default responses. Assumptions, like expectations, are dangerous and destructive forces.

Reach out. Ask questions. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

By actively choosing generosity over resentment, we stand tall in our integrity, remain in the driver’s seat with our emotions and create the experiences we’d more prefer to have.

Grief can amplify gratitude.

Two weeks ago, a cherished childhood friend abruptly left the world. While it's been a few years since we last saw each other, he played a significant role in my earlier life, and his passing rocked me to my core.

As I poured through the many moving tributes that were offered in his memory, I came across this from one of his thoughtful friends:

“Life is more fragile than we think sometimes and it’s easy to overlook the ‘small’ things that really matter in this brief existence we have here on earth. Let us treat each other in a way that leaves no regrets.”

I found deep comfort in these words and my heart moved aside some of the grief to make room for gratitude.

I also thought of friends and family members who’ve recently been finding their own way through devastating circumstances and the loss of loved ones. Things do NOT always happen for a reason and the best we can do is to be better to each other. 

As Cheryl Stayed has said, “Grief is tremendous, but love is bigger. You are grieving because you loved truly. The beauty in that is greater than the bitterness of death. Allowing this into your consciousness will not keep you from suffering, but it will help you survive the next day.”

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

As this African proverb reminds us, the most enduring and worthwhile successes are always the ones that are shared. Birthing a dream requires a team. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness, but rather an indication of enormous strength.

In the absence of a cast of incredibly committed supporting characters, the show won’t go on. Or if it does, it’s never as good as it could’ve been. Sometimes we’ll be center stage, but often our richest contributions are those that are made in our roles as patrons behind the curtain or raving fans in the stands. But as we all know, nothing good ever comes from those loud whisperers in the cheap seats.   

We all just want to be seen, heard, acknowledged and encouraged; we all need support, sisterhood, and shoulders to both stand and cry on. Be brave enough to ask and give often.   

2015 was definitely a show beyond many of my biggest aspirations and boldest wishes. I was blessed to be held, propelled, inspired, ignited, celebrated, supported, and set straight by a list of people too long to name.

To my patient family and rock solid friends; my incredible clients and rock star students; my brilliant teachers and beloved mentors – thank you, thank you, thank you.      

To this year and to all of you, a deep bow.