Looking Back, Within, & Forward: Part 1 of 4

This is a 4-part series through the month of December-- like the Flourish & Bloom Facebook page to see posts and weekly video meditations.

What's your favorite holiday or time of year? For me, it's New Year’s. While I do love New Year's Eve with its parties, champagne, and excitement, it isn't December 31 that I love the most. It's the whole season-- the ending of one year and the beginning of the next.

The main reason behind this is that I'm in love with reflecting. For me this usually takes written form. I've written in a journal ever since I was a kid, and in the last few years, I've realized that the process of writing helps to to think, to bring together my experiences, thoughts, and emotions in a way that begins to make sense, that allows things to process and move through. Too often when I think, I get distracted, but when I write what I'm thinking and feeling, I can follow the line better. I keep the pen moving and end up discovering things that I didn't know before. What's more, by writing, I have data, I have a record of my thoughts at different times in my life, for when memory fails me (which it often does.)

There is power in reflection. All too often, life seems to move very quickly. Events fly by, one day, one week, one month after another. We're constantly changing, constantly learning new things, taking on new habits, leaving others behind... Reflection allows us to pause, to acknowledge and investigate what is occurring. 

We do not learn from experience...we learn from reflecting on experience.
— John Dewey

When we take time to reflect, we make meaning out of the experiences of our life. We learn from ourselves, and we take a moment to mark, to acknowledge what has happened and who we are becoming. We marinate, we celebrate. Reflection is a type of alchemy that turns everyday life into learning, growth, and transformation. We say, "Ah-ha! Now I see!" We become the archeologist of ourselves. (And by the way, one thing I’ve learned is to leave more clues for myself! I journal more and check in more throughout the year, as I know that this is valuable information to look back on.) 

So, this leads us to New Years-- a time that lends itself to reflection, a time when many of us are reflecting on the way things are and the way things could be. The end of a year is an invitation to reflect, and more and more I am accepting this invitation. Last year I took a long trip in December, and during the trip, I read my journal  from 2016 and took notes. (What a scholar!) This year I'm taking even longer to reflect and remember, to come back into touch with my values and my priorities for personal and professional life.

Reflection is looking back, but its purpose is to help us in moving forward, to take our learnings with us in this moment and then the next. The month of December is a good time to do this, though we can do it anytime. Each week this month, I’ll post some ideas and tools for reflecting on the year and on yourself. Join any time, and let me know on Facebook or Instagram how it goes for you!

First up: Take a look back at the year of 2017.

I invite you to make some time for this. Pull up a comfy chair and get to know yourself and your recent history...it went by so quickly, and it’s worth a second look! What happened? How did you feel about what happened? Fill out this little form and I'll send you a printable PDF to get you going. This will walk you through my current end-of-the-year process.

Stay tuned for next week...a look at your core attributes and strengths!

Get the "What did 2017 bring?" Reflection Pages!

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