Today, 29th December, exactly one year ago, I got the keys to my new home, the one I bought following my divorce. Three days later, on 1st January 2017, I officially turned into an independent business owner as the split from the family company became formal and I was now standing on my own. Six weeks later our family home of 17 years was handed over to its new owners. Homes, career and then, throughout the year, countless changes, adjustments, endings and new beginnings followed in quick succession, one after the other, in every area and part of my life. But, but – when I look back on this incredible, fully charged year of change, I can honestly say – I did it. I did it all, even if it took longer than I hoped or expected; even when it challenged me, and not always positively; even when it was hard to swallow and accept. I am ending the year knowing – now also in my heart and not just in my head – that we can all do a lot more than we think we can. A lot more. It is only our limiting thoughts that make us doubt our abilities.
Throughout this tumultuous period, I propped myself with positive people, affirmations, podcasts, films, books, cards, courses, readings. You name it – I wanted positive support wherever I could find it. Some make the mistake of assuming that positive thinking is just putting on rose-tinted, unrealistic glasses as in ‘oh my garden is so beautiful’ when it’s actually full of weeds. That’s a misconception. Positive thinking is the opposite of limiting thinking. It’s an attitude, an approach. At the start of the year my To Do lists extended over many A4 pages – there were so many accounts to close (and open), so many insurances so stop (and start), so many documents to fill in (and send), so many services to cancel (and start anew), so many items to throw out (and new ones to buy instead), so many decisions to make – and make happen. I could have looked at the lists in despair. I could have sighed deeply and complain endlessly. Instead I reveled at every line I could cross out of my lists, every task I completed, every item that left the list for good, never to return. Every day I’d look at the crossed-out items and congratulate myself for just how much I managed to achieve instead of what I hadn’t yet done. I kept the A4s, I wanted to see those crossed-out lines, to remind myself how much smaller the mountain was becoming. Somewhere towards the middle+ of the year I looked at the lists and thought – ‘my oh my woman, just look at how much you have already covered! Well done you!’. I could have looked at what there was still left to be done (a lot) and berate myself that 6+ months down the road those things were still unfinished. But I chose to be kind to myself, because kindness to oneself always yields better, sweeter, swifter results.
And since positive thinking is the opposite of limiting thinking, I also challenged myself in oh so many areas, did so many things that were new to me, learned new skills and, where my skills fell short, I found the right people to help. This year saw the expansion of my company, For Goodness’ Sake, from physical nutrition only to Mind, Body & Soul nutrition; the writing of a new workshop (‘The Happiness Mindset’) and its launch in the corporate world; the opening of an AirBnb studio in my beautiful home (busy non-stop); training as a Louise Hay Heal Your Life workshop leader and then coach; and subsequently leading three Heal Your Life workshops and taking new coachees on board. I unleashed my creativity in full, setting up a beautiful, warm, cosy home (a.k.a. Shanti) that is both my safe haven and a joy to share with others. And I took full control of my financials – not a favourite area but an absolutely necessary one, which has been in the hands of another for far too long only because my limiting thought in this area was – it’s a mystery to me, I don’t like it, someone else’d better do it. So I asked my friend Natasja, who happens to be an accountant, to guide me, and thanks to her advice and some good common sense I was able to see the full picture and manage my own affairs – a refreshing and wholly satisfying feeling. With every challenge that struck, I kept repeating to myself – ‘You can do it!’. And I did it! Or, if my guard was down, I was reminded I could do it, and do it well, by one of the positive, encouraging souls I surround myself with. We can never have enough support and encouragement in this area.
For many years now a beautiful saying has been sitting on my desk. I often look at it and marvel at its truth. “Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them”. In our mind obstacles are often WAY bigger than they actually are. We are so good at manufacturing fear, anxiety, worry, apprehension and sleepless nights in advance of tackling a task that, when actually undertaken step by step, in nowhere near as daunting. We?! I !! I can do it so well to myself, despite years of mindful positive thinking. If I let my belittling mind take over, it can be fantastically snazzy at manufacturing a myriad negative emotions with very little effort. Learning to rewire the mind does not mean it’s always tamed and always positive. Oh no. But learning to scan for positive does mean that my mind slips down the slippery negative road a lot less often and for a lot shorter span. The light at the end of the tunnel is ever nearer when you refuse to let the tunnel take over. It takes practice, but it’s been the best return on investment I have ever come across.
Looking back at this Mega Year of Change and Rebirth, I can honestly say, 80+% of the time I was able to adopt a bold, upbeat attitude and refuse to allow the tunnel to take over. Make no mistake: I suffered from moments, days and bouts of anxiety, pain and even despair. I accepted these unpleasant feelings for what they were, no longer ran away from them. And at the same time I actively sought help – it could be yoga, or a breathing technique, a good chat with a close friend or a loving hug, a wonderful tarot card drawn at just the right moment or a positive affirmation sent via whatsapp. I was kind to myself, reminded myself of my successes, complimented rather than criticised myself. I amazed myself with just how much I was able to achieve. I kept counting my blessings at every turn of the road and being continuously grateful to the wonderful people, events and things in my life. I looked for positives – and I found them. Anyone who wants to criticize positive thinking is welcome to do so. I happen to think that adopting a positive attitude, no matter the challenge, is the surest route to see the obstacle melt, often quicker than you’d think.
Having learned in 2017 that ‘I did it, I’m doing it and I will do it!’; having realised just how true this has been, I look forward to a fresh, new 2018. It’ll have its own challenges, for sure, but I now look forward to the challenges, as they force me to grow, change, develop and realize my full potential. And I look forward to helping you do just the same, should you wish.
Happy New Year, Everyone!