At this time of year (like most of us I suppose) I find myself pondering things in my life and seeking some clarity on how I should best set out in the new year, but also how I think I could better contribute to a more sustainable and just society. I have a self-reflective process I do each year and really look forward to it. This approach led me to this 'permaculture life' - to choose amongst other things to create a permaculture livelihood, live in an ecovillage, build my own eco-home and home-educate our children.
|Waiting for the kids program finish - another few moments to be quiet with my own thoughts....|
Over the past couple of weeks I have been taking moments here and there to ponder questions like:
- have I spent my year wisely?
- what do I feel I have achieved this year?
- what contribution did I make is there more effective ways I could make a positive contribution?
- what I am most proud of that I did this year?
- what things could I have done differently?
- is my life in good balance?
- am I happy/are we all feeling happy with the direction our lives have taken us this year?
- why do the wheels fall off sometimes and how could I respond to situations like this better?
(of course there are many other questions that emerge, but this is the general gist...)
After this period of contemplation, on new years eve I will mind map my collective thoughts and see what emerges. It's a bit of a tradition I started for myself when I was a teenager and I've continued without fail each year.
It can be really easy to get distracted, following paths that seem interesting, seem to be the right ones, but realising a little along the way that "woops - I really don't want to be in this space". Spending this time each year really helps me feel somewhat in control of where I am going, what I am doing, how I am making it happen, and what it is all for.
When I was a teenager, I remember noticing an internal gauge for my life direction. This gauge helped me feel if I was 'doing the right thing' physically before I acknowledged it intellectually. Without fail, if I'm off-track, I feel an uncomfortable sense of tightness in my chest, but a radiant warm glow if I'm 'in -tune'. I've listened to this 'inner voice' for as long as I can remember and it has helped me so many times to refocus and realign my thinking with my actions - connecting my head, heart and hands. I have been so grateful for it so many times in my life.
For me, it's not about setting resolutions, entering into the new year feels like a good time to contemplate my purpose and priorities, take a close look at where I am actually spending my energy, time and resources and asking "does that fit?" and "are my actions helping me to fulfil what I feel to be my life's purpose/direction?"
I also like to ask:
- what new things would I love to do in 2017?
- what things do I really not want to keep doing in 2017?
- which of my broader life goals can I work toward in 2017?
- what challenges can I set for myself in 2017?
I quietly write everything in my lovely little handmade book that I keep for this - reflections first on the year past, then new goals. I don't need to make posters or declarations. I find that having made the mental and emotional space to think about it and then taken the time to write it down is enough for it to be clear in my heart and mind.
Evan and I both spend time reflecting and when we feel clear, we chat and share ideas - with the kids too. The areas where we find most points of similarity in thinking is where we focus on first, but interestingly many great new shared ideas come from exploring the differences in our thinking. It amazing - the more we do this, the more we find we are able to grow our ideas together - but also feel very able to redefine our collective direction too, and communicate this to each other. After more than half a lifetime together, we keep dreaming together. I love it.
Of course, it would be great to be in a state of constant reflection all year - in some ways that does happen little by little. But I really do appreciate the clarity of purpose I feel going through this self-reflective process each year, and sharing this with Evan. It helps me to feel strong and clear in my own thoughts and actions, and strong in our relationship and understanding of shared directions.
Being reflective helps me to readjust when I need to. It helps me to refine my perception of what are the most important things that I can be doing in my life and how to make the best contribution I can.
Labels: community, conversations, education, family, happiness, parenting, simple living