It’s here. The world spun around the sun again, and we’re buried in the darkness of winter. Sun rises late, lazy, making my head ache in the morning while rising. We look back. We reflect on the year past, we look at the year ahead, we wonder how so much changed and yet all stayed the same. The internet is a parade of round-ups and reflections, thoughts and wishes. I join in: I love remembering and reflecting.
This year, I want to let go. To let go of past selves, of old habits, of things no longer serving me. We have a few more weeks left in the year of the Snake before we hit the year of the Horse. They say that the more you shed during your snake year, the faster you can gallop in the horse year.
I’ll hold on to a few things: things I’ve learned, relationships I love, habits I want to continue to cultivate.
What will you keep from 2013? What will you get rid of? What can you take with you? Here’s what I hope to keep:
13 things to take with me from 2013.
Here’s what I want to carry with me:
1: Move every day.
When I don’t move, I start to cry. My animal emotions build up inside of me and wreak havoc on my body, brain, and sensibility, and I start to get angrier, sadder, and more worried. Movement calms me down. I want to say yes to more morning walks, yoga teacher training, giggle dances, random push-ups, and play dates at the trampoline park. Every day I somehow seem to forget how important movement is, but when I look back at 2013, my happiest times came when I built movement into my schedule.
2: Stop driving.
This year, I sold my car and I’ve lived car-free in two cities where I rarely drive. It’s fantastic. I take buses, subways, cars (if I have to) and rent a bike. I read for 30-45 minutes on the subway each time. I talk to people I’m with. I go on walks. Each time I get back to the crazy expressway I realize just how insane (and dangerous) it is to put large vehicles in the operating hands of tired, sleep-deprived people who can’t even see the road in front of them.
3: Live with less.
I gave away more than half of my stuff this year. It feels freeing. Light. Two truck loads to the dump, five gift days of giving things to people who could use them, and at least a dozen trips to the goodwill and the recycle. I just don’t need it. There is so much we don’t need, yet we get wrapped up in the buying of things as a band-aid to our feelings. Less of that. Live light.
4: Live within my means.
Financial trouble is anxiety-inducing for me. I spent a lot of money in my early twenties on a graduate education. I spent more time ignoring how much money I was spending. Last year I paid down a ton of debt, and I learned a lot about money. I want to keep this and up the ante: live with less, spend less (or spend consciously), delight in smaller spaces and fewer purchases, and stay free by reducing my debts to consumerism.
5: Eat a lot more green stuff.
I shifted from processed carbs and wheat to a gluten-free diet with far fewer processed sugars and carbs. I eat grains and starches in the evenings, and limit them during the day–mostly because I learned how good it feels. I paused in November for a detox and raw food retreat and learned new recipes, skills, and knowledge in eating well. Nourishment comes in the form of putting beautiful, healthy food in my body, and I thrive in it.
6: Push the boundaries. Find the edge.
One of the best decisions I made in 2013 was to push my edge and join Yoga Teacher Training. Twenty hours a week of reading, learning, lessons, physical practice, spiritual reminders, and inner reflection. It’s not easy to spend every Sunday doing it, but my body and mind have already shifted. It was a push to join, and each weekend is a refinement in reaching my edge. In life, it’s important to push towards your edges and find your limits. Lean. Grow.
Rest your mind, your body, and your soul. Each one needs rest. My mind needs more rest. Take vacations. Say no. Move slowly. Do one thing at a time.
Learn as much as you can. Our brains are thirsty for knowledge and ideas, and we can learn so much more. I want to learn multiple languages, more systems, more ideas, more projects. Keep learning.
9: Craft beautiful partnerships and invest in good communities.
Investments of time in good people pays off. I am so thankful for the beautiful people in my life and how rich they have made me–in ideas, health, accountability, and joy. I spent two years building a partnership with a man I’m now going to marry, and we work and talk every day about how to keep making it better. Invest in (good) people with your love and your time. Sign up for new events to meet more of your right people.
10: Build beautiful things. Make art.
Use your hands, build beautiful things, string together delicious words. Humans make things–projects, products, crafts of art, things of love. I am happiest making.
Two quotes I love from last year:
“The antidote to consumerism isn’t minimalism, it’s art.”
“Believe it to be beautiful or know it to be useful.”
11: Go deep. Listen to your feelings, even if you don’t understand them.
That twinge that says something’s not right, even if you can’t figure out logically? It’s SUPER IMPORTANT. Listen to it. Be a witness to your feelings.
Some feelings are your ego and the whack-a-doo voice in your head, and you can practice being witness to it (not jumping when it says jump). Other things–little intuitive notes, flavors of feelings, hints at gut reactions–take a while to learn how to listen to. The best way is to start listening. I listened when my arm tingled lightly in 2009 and it turned out my arm was telling a story about a large blood clot in my chest. (Thank God I listened). I didn’t listen early enough when I should have ended a relationship and a job. Listening to feelings matters.
12: Practice gratitude and joy.
Gratitude and joy. They are muscles and habits just like anything else. The more you practice, the greater it gets. Practice what you want more of. Happiness, joy, laughter, light–they require practice. Seek them. Rehearse them. Indulge in them. Remember them. Record them. Build them up.
13: Choose freedom.
One of my guiding lights over the last year was growing towards more and more freedom. Living with less means I need to earn less money to support my lifestyle. Needing less money means I don’t have to work non-stop. Building products and classes lets me scale my impact and reach more people. Earning more money allows me to hire more people and leverage more impact in the world. Earning more money but spending less means I create resilience in my life and my business. Eating healthier frees me from seeing the doctor so often. Not spending money (or consciously spending money) lets me feel financially free.
When making decisions–about things, money, life, love, friendships, work, and more–I like to ask,
“Will this let me feel free?”
How was your 2013? What lessons will you take with you?—
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