2017 has been a big year! In fact if I had to look at it objectively some time down the line I would probably say it would rank among the most significant years of my life. I got divorced, saying goodbye to a marriage of 23 years, and I bought a house, the first I’ve owned by myself. And of course, being me, it’s a fixer upper, and I’m now in the early stages of a huge renovation project! New me, new house, big renovation projects both inside and out?
At the beginning of this year I completed the Brave Girls Club course Soul Restoration, which signified the start of an inward journey to clean out and restore my Soul House – ‘me’. It’s not been easy to go through my life with a fine tooth comb and sort through all the stuff that has caused blockages to happiness, wellbeing and authenticity. I have had to own some painful stuff and admit a lot of things about myself that it’s been easier to cover up over the years and just keep going. But I understand now that if something is not real then it’s fake, and there is no satisfaction in living a fake life. So here I am moving into 2018 with a new agenda…to live authentically and accept everything about myself and others, looking for the good, and accepting the not so great. It’s a constant daily challenge to take notice of repeated behaviour patterns I get stuck in, to be mindful of the emotions that trigger them and channel my energies in more positive directions. As this year ends I can say for sure that I am tired. It’s been an emotionally draining twelve months.
But despite this, the year has been punctuated by really positive things too. I attended a wonderful retreat in Italy with a very special friend, creating a travel journal with Lisa Sonora, a teacher I’ve been following for a few years now and wanting very much to meet in person. Of course the journal turned out to be as much about my own inner journey as much as the lovely town or Orvieto, but hey – ‘wherever you go…there you are?’. It was intense, but cleansing and healing too. Art journaling is now my ‘go to’ therapy of choice when it comes to working though difficult stuff.
I was also finally accepted to train as an Instructor with Brave Girls Club and am now officially certified to teach Soul Restoration to others. I went to Star, Idaho, and spent an incredible 5 days in The Art Barn under the tuition of the wonderful and inspirational Melody Ross. This has been exciting and terrifying in equal measure! Initially I doubted I had the capability to teach this work. I have no qualifications in this area, just my own life experience. But the calling to share all that I had learned and experienced was too strong and I kept going forward regardless. I had much encouragement from both new and old friends for which I am most grateful. And so a couple of weeks ago I held my first 4 day retreat, and it seems from the responses I received that it was a worthwhile success. It felt wonderful to share with other women some tools they can use to help them live their best lives too.
Helping others is definitely the best antidote to a spot of the blues or a dose of self pity. My weekly sessions volunteering at the mental health recovery centre have been testament to that for me. I have witnessed real transformation in struggling souls though inspirational creative projects. It takes a chunk out of my week to put the time aside but it feels good. The same goes for the evening journaling classes I held during the second half of this year. The energy required to stay alert until 9.30pm was a challenge, but the reward was to see people come alive doing creative soul work and leave the sessions glowing.
So I think I can say that the negatives were at least matched by the positives this year. There was a lot that was difficult but I stayed brave and survived it. I have so much to be grateful for, my gorgeous sons, family and friends who have been supportive and encouraging, my adoring pugs and even the vocal and somewhat annoying Siamese cat! I have good health and a lovely home. My ex husband and I are still trying to be apart in the best way possible. I feel very blessed for my beautiful messy life!
Happy New Year and wishing you a perfectly imperfect 2018!