Reflection and Renewal based in Self Compassion.

26 Jan

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In the theme of reflecting on the New Year I started an activity inspired by Giselle Theriault and Drew Dudley. Last year I went to a 3-hour yoga event that granted myself time to review the past year and write intentions for the upcoming year. This gathering allowed me to define what I desired for the following year and giving me clarity to identify and seize these opportunities when they arise.

It’s like going to the grocery store with a shopping list. You are able to easily define what you are looking for, and get those things in your shopping cart!

These reflections and renewal exercises come in four parts, reflecting on the past, renewing desires for the future, putting action to events you want to accomplish, and putting action to emotions you want to cultivate.

Part One- Reflecting on the Past

I first started to review the year that had past. Thinking of all the things that had happened in the span of a year. I thought about the courses I completed, graduating from yoga teacher training, conferences I attended, vacations I enjoyed, jobs I started, and jobs I ended. Some points were stressful, other points were joyful, but in the end everything worked out.

Side note: There was a study done on students who were applying to different universities. The researcher would ask which university they wanted to attend more, and checked back in from time to time to see what actually happened and what their reaction was. Throughout the study the research found that no matter what university the student entered, the one they wanted or the one they didn’t want or if they didn’t get into any universities at all, 6 months after the choice was made, the participant felt happy about the situation they were in.

Which makes me want to give a high five to the power of being adaptable in situations and learning how to make the most of it. Making decisions can be hard, and there are many different tactics on how to go about it. You can read my other blog on making choices here. Reflecting on my year, I am proud of the lessons I learned, and so grateful to know in the darkest of my moments there was always a light that sparked a way.

Part Two- Renewing desires for the future.

The next phase of the activity, I asked myself what I wanted to let in for 2015. I wrote down things I wanted to accomplish like blogging, reading books, teaching yoga, meditating, facilitating Spoons workshops, and completing my website for Spoons. Intermingled in this list were emotions I wanted to cultivate. Emotions like joy, faith, confidence, compassion, humour, and presence. Similar to a blog I previously wrote about the divide between who I was being and what I was doing, I noticed the theme of the two divides were there.

I wonder if a better question to “What did you do today?” would be “How were you being today?” Putting the focus on how we were being with ourselves and others in the present moment, rather than the activities we accomplished.

Part Three: Putting action to events you want to accomplish

 

I took another crisp clean white paper and folded it in two. On the top of one side I wrote Event, and the other I wrote Action to Support.

Event Action to Support
Reading/Writing Reading each week for 30 minutes/writing a blog each week
Yoga Doing yoga 5 times a week
Meditation Meditating for 20 minutes a day

By doing this exercise I was able to take my desired accomplishment, break it down into an action that I could commit to. I gave myself a simple step that described the action needed for supporting the event I wanted to accomplish.

If you are interested in taking this further, I would suggest reading Danielle Laporte’s book, the Desire Map, which talks about asking yourself what emotions you want to feel by accomplishing your goals.

For example; my desired feelings are peace, presence, and joy; thus, I am pursuing goals that include meditation, yoga, reading, and writing. These types of practices help to ground goals into something that has a stronger purpose, a stronger “Why” for why you should stick to this goal. This also allows you to be aware if the goal you are making is not actually getting you the emotion you desire, and it allows you to see a different route you can take to accomplish this desired feeling. Really interesting! Check out her book to learn more. Also check out Simon Sinek for the power of why!

If you are interested in taking this one step further, print out a calendar, write out the events you want to accomplish, make a start date and an end date and track progress on your goals. Please be compassionate with yourself through this journey. There are days when you will do everything on the list and days when you do nothing. But in the end, please be gentle, change takes time, and mastery is in the practice. The most important thing is that you are loving yourself as you are, and as who you are becoming. If you could wake up each day with words of love and support towards yourself, thinking about things you are grateful for in your life, that would be beautiful. Check out this amazing Ted Talk for the power of finding happiness in our present situation.

Part Four: Putting action to emotions you want to accomplish

This event is pretty similar to the Part Three. I folded a lovely white sheet of paper in two, wrote the emotions I wanted to accomplish on the left hand side and what actions I was going to do to support this emotion on the right. I wrote things like:

Emotion Action to Support
Laughter and Joy Smiling, and finding/creating moments of play.
Faith Being aware of thoughts of doubt and switching them to thoughts of faith. And journaling to be aware of these thoughts.
Compassion Meditating on Loving Kindness, and reducing stress in my life.

From here I did two things, one, on the same calendar I had before I decided I wanted to focus on one emotion for two weeks, instead of trying to cultivate all the emotions at once.

I suggest focusing one at a time, and if two weeks is too short or too long for you, change the length for something that works for your soul and wellbeing.

The last activity I did, as inspired by Drew Dudley. Was to write out questions that if I answered them, I knew I was supporting that emotion I wanted to cultivate.

Emotion Question to support
Laughter and Joy Did I smile today? Did I find time to play? Did I make a joke? Did I find humour in a hard situation? Did I dance?
Faith Did I pray today? Do I trust in the process? Do I believe in myself and my abilities? Do I know I can overcome obstacles that come my way? Do I believe that the universe is here to support me?
Compassion Was I kind to myself? Was I kind to others? Did I help someone in need? Did I listen without judgement? Did I compliment someone?

In Drew’s method, he creates alarms on his phone and writes the question in the alarm label part of his phone, so that every three or four hours his phone goes off to remind himself of the emotion/value he wants to cultivate. In that moment when the alarm goes off with the question posted on his phone, it brings him awareness of the habits/thoughts he is supporting.

Another idea would be to have these questions posted on your bathroom mirror, or put them in your journal to reflect upon before bed. Which ever works best for yourself. As we are all individuals, try different situations out and see what works best for you.

The exercise really helped me to reflect on all the things I was doing and the growing interest to explore who I was being. It also presented me with some clarity of what I wanted to focus on.

Living in Toronto and being surrounded by innovators and entrepreneurs, the amount of causes to get attached to are endless. This process helped me identify the projects I want to pursue for the long term, and create well balance schedule that supports peace, presence, and joy. My mantra has been, I can’t do everything right now, but I choose a small number of things to do really well.

Throughout the journey of self-improvement and exploration, please be gentle. One cannot pull on a plant’s leaves to grow, instead it takes a healthy curiosity, self-compassion, and perseverance to create change.

But I believe in you. =)

If you have a reflection process that you enjoyed,  please leave it in the comments below! Would love to hear from you!

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One Response to “Reflection and Renewal based in Self Compassion.”

  1. Kathleen Sisson February 11, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    I especially like this ” I can’t do everything right now, but I choose a small number of things to do really well.” When I finally mastered this, my life got richer and fuller. It’s the same thing with people around you. I now surround myself with people who value me and who support me in accomplishing my goals… like you!

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