Looking back…New Year’s Reflections 2021

Well, we’ve made it through the first week of 2021!  You may feel like nothing has changed but I’m betting that something has.  I chose this picture because it is a photo of who I used to be, not who I am now.  It was taken in August of 2019.  I was fitter, thinner, had less hair, and less awareness about myself than now.   I like this photo because I liked who I was then, and I like who I am now.  It’s all part of the continuum.  I find about now is the perfect time to reflect back on the last year, look at what has worked for me and what I need/want to let go of (these are often different things).  It’s time to create some clarity for what the heck to do with this new beginning!  The days are getting longer again and I can feel the time approaching to come out from underneath the covers!  Hibernation is nearing an end.  I’ve adapted these questions from a coach of mine and used them for the last 3 years or so, myself and with clients.  I’ve answered one of them myself below.  Maybe it will inspire you to contemplate them yourself.  I invite you to grab yourself a cup of tea, coffee or a glass of wine and take some time to sit down and consider the following questions, to mindfully and intentionally stoke the little fires on your path to Inner Revolution for 2021! And I definitely invite you to share any of your thoughts on the questions here.  I’d love to witness your growth and intention for the New Year!  Bring it on 2021.

  1. What did this year teach me about myself?

Whew.  This year taught me about the C-word.  Not the 4 letter C-word, and not Covid, that 5 letter C word.  That’s right people…Codependency is what I’m talking about.  Yuck.  I remember having a conversation with a very close friend of mine, years ago, about this topic and thinking well that doesn’t apply to me!  Ha.  The Universe was literally laughing its ass off at that moment, just waiting for me to figure it out, and realize that it does, in fact, apply to me…in every relationship in my life until now.  Gawd.  It really started at the end of 2019.  Kev and I went through a spiritual crisis.  We dealt with issues that were self-imploding.  To face them and come out the other end, I could no longer remain the same person.  The person that I was pre-October 2019 no longer exists.  We had to face the usual marital challenges, nervous breakdowns, the threat of the loss of our financial security, and childhood trauma.  It was not the celebratory bringing in of the New Year that we were accustomed to.  And 2020, completely independently of Covid, proved to be the spiritual crucible that we, as a couple, had to enter into if we were in fact going to not only stay together but help heal ourselves and one another.  We spent thousands of dollars and probably weeks worth of hours in counselling to work through all of these underlying issues that have existed since long before our marriage started, or we even met.  That saying that if you don’t heal one relationship, you just bring all that baggage into the next became glaringly clear to me this year.  I had to look at how I was enabling certain patterns in not just our relationship, but in our home, and in all of our relationships outside of it too.  I had to face the fact that my own choices and decisions were making me more angry, insecure and bitter…dare I say even desperate. I hate that word but I know the feeling so intimately that it is entirely accurate.  I had to quit blaming the people around me for how I was feeling and face that how I was feeling was my own creation.  I remember the first time that I said NO to something and how scared I was of what it would mean for me.  I have based my whole life on saying YES to my parents, my boyfriends, my husband(s), my family, my teachers, even my own children as a way to secure love, acceptance and belonging.  And worse, I had to admit that no matter how many times I said YES, it didn’t guarantee that I would find any of the things I so desperately craved.  I had to risk all of what I thought being a YES-woman got me, and take time to consider whether or not I actually wanted to say YES, if I had the energy, or the capacity, whether it was serving myself of the people in my life.  I came to realize that most of the time I couldn’t even actually tell.  It took months and a lot of support to learn discernment around this.  It took time, energy and a lot of candour to determine if my decisions/actions/behaviour were in service of growing myself or aiding my family in their growth.  It is still a struggle some days for me to say NO to a request in my family.  If my son ever reads this he will know it to be true.  He has even said that he knows that he can get what he wants from me, even after I’ve said NO.  He can pout or make jokes about something and I will finally come around to doing as he wants, instead of what I might want/need. And all this because I want to be the “best” mom, the “most liked” mom.  And it’s not that I think that those titles are inherently bad, I just know that the motivation behind me wanting those titles is dysfunctional.  I know it comes from feeling invisible in my formative relationships in my life, and I can pinpoint exactly the moment, with the first boy that I ever loved when I started doing this.  I was only 15 years old.  And from then on I have continued this same behaviour.  I will say YES, spend money on, and sacrifice my own time/mental health for the ones I love and want to be loved by.  I’ll share an anecdote that explains this pattern perfectly: Just this past Christmas Kevin bought me a jacket I have been coveting for years…the Arcteryx rainproof parka!!  I love it.  I had gone into Valhalla about half a dozen times and tried that jacket on.  It fit like a glove.  It would be well used.  I walk the dogs every day, in the West Coast Canadian weather.  It is freaking wet and cold.  And when I opened it I was thrilled and also riddled with guilt.  Kevin said to me “God Cathy, if I didn’t buy it for you, you would’ve gone into Valhalla for the next 6 years trying that stupid coat on every couple of weeks. You would never buy it for yourself…but you have no problem going into Costco and dropping $600.”  This statement is SO very true.  I would have never bought it for myself.  I stood there, in the kitchen, and defended this position just last week…”it’s for the family though, that’s different.”  Even my kids looked at me sideways.

So, to answer the question above, I learned that I am co-dependent.  I have learned to recognize the ways that it shows up in my life.  I am to practice discernment, discover if it is in MY best interest to do/say/act something.  I am to put myself first sometimes.  It is my work to notice that as I say NO to something a little one in my spirit gets worried, scared, and anxious that she will be abandoned and alone, that she will be unloved and unloveable.  It is my work to comfort that little one myself.  It is not someone else’s job to comfort her.  It is my work to come up with the antidote for that fear.  My antidote today is that I am loveable.  I am worthy of love.  I am worthy of respect.  I am worthy of time and money.  I have value because of who I am, not in spite of it, and not because of what I can give others.  And now…I am off to Lululemon to drop a G on yoga pants!  Just kidding.  But I am working on it!

Here’s the remainder of the questions:

  1. How am I going to use this insight to ignite my Inner Revolution in the coming year?
  2. What is no longer serving me? And am I ready to leave it behind?
  3. What is my SPIRIT calling me to DO this year? To BE this year?
  4. What are 3 things that make my SPIRIT light up? How can I regularly bring those into my days this year?
  5. Who brought me nourishing connection this year?  What relationship do I want to cultivate this year?
  6. What relationship/relationships have been depleting me of energy?  And am I ready to let go of them?  What do I need to do/heal before I can let go?
  7. What am I more clear about than ever before?

Looking forward to your responses!  With much gratitude. In body, breath, spirit and heart, Cathy.

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