I spent a little time today by a river reflecting on 2014 and setting my intention for 2015. The beautiful sounds and smells of nature reminding me how lucky I am just to be alive. 2014 has been a mixed year for me.
It started with the death of a dear friend who was just a few years older than me. Her death shocked me. She went from healthy and happy to very ill and eventual death in the space of 6 months. I was very privileged to be given the opportunity of spending time with her and her family in Germany in the last few months of her life and to have witnessed the love they shared for each other. It touched me deeply. It also made it very clear to me that life is short and that you can never take anything for granted. You have to live your life now because tomorrow may just be too late.
I made a bucket list for the first time and a commitment to myself that I would use the physical body I have, while I can. This year I think I have done that more than any year before. In February I took up running and was amazed to watch my lung capacity change from puffing and panting after a 2 minute run to being able to run for 45 minutes with just a bit of mild heavy breathing. I got back on a bike after 21 years and cycled the Great Western Greenway, 42km from Westport to Achill. My legs burned for 3 days. I walked the last 120km of the Camino. Walking between 16 – 25km 6 days in a row. A brilliant experience, one I would repeat, but also a tough physical challenge.
My bucket list wasn’t very long. Walking the Camino (check for that one), seeing the Northern Lights and doing a zip wire ride (both still on the list) were the only things on it. I guess I realised that for me its not so much what I see and do in my life that is important but how I spend every day, how I feel in myself and how my relationships are. Earlier on in the year though, this didn’t really sink in. It took some time and it actually took things going the opposite direction before I remembered that this is what I really value.
In the latter part of the year I was very focused on finishing a degree and for the first time in my life I struggled academically. Usually when I put in effort, I get the results but for some reason things haven’t been working out that easily recently. I’ve felt stressed, grumpy and a bit miserable. I fell back in to an old pattern. The more stressed I get, the harder I work and the more I start to reduce the other parts of my life (time with family, friends, leisure). There were also some other background stressors at the same time which I wont go in to, but suffice to say, things were happening that I’d rather weren’t happening but that I didn’t have control over. The latter part of 2014 lacked fun and magic and frequently felt like a bit of a trudge.
As I sat by the river today, I was grateful for all these experiences. Each one is a teacher in its own way. Some more welcome than others. It seems in the last year there was a pattern that at the time I wasn’t conscious of. I believe our life is the same. There is always a pattern, a journey that we are on, even if we don’t recognise it at the time. One thing leads to another. Every experience, good or bad, steers us slightly.
Had I not taken the time to reflect today I may not have recognised that my friends death had been the spur that got me to challenge my physical body more. Something I am very grateful for.
Had I not become stressed and grumpy in the last few months, I may not have remembered that it’s not my physical achievements (where I go or what I do) that are important but my experience of living each moment, how I experience myself and my relationships with others.
I started the year being so touched by the love and care I witnessed between my friend and her family and by her grace during her devastating illness. I ended it wondering how I could personally get so distracted at times from the things that are really important to me in life. Both the beginning and the end of the year are the same thing witnessed from different angles.
So as you may have guessed as 2015 arrives my focus is on relationships. My relationship with myself and my relationships with others. I want 2015 to be the year that I really learn to believe in myself. To become my own greatest supporter. This is something that at times I am good at and at other times I am not.
In my relationships with others and in fact in anything I do I want to actively choose in each moment to come from a place of love rather than a place of fear. In my experience, easy when things are going well. Not so easy when they are not.
I think these two resolutions will not be easy but they would definitely be life changing. By writing them here, I am less likely to forget them in a month 🙂
I wish you a very happy 2015. May you the lessons of last year enrich your life and may 2015 bring you everything you wish and hope for.