Reflections on the year that was
As 2018 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year that was. The achievements, the mistakes, the lessons, the moments of joy, the times of difficulty, the enlivening connections and the deepening of relationships. There is much to be grateful for, and much to accept and let go, for this year too shall pass.
I met with my Mastermind group a few of weeks ago and each member chose to share their top 3 achievements, mistakes we learnt from and unexpected lessons from 2018. It was a beautiful experience to share these moments with one another, so I thought I would document my list here in the hope that you may also find joy and value reflecting on your 2018.
My top 3 achievements for 2018
1. This year I was committed to writing a research article summarising the data I collected from a pilot project that I conducted in 2016, testing the effect of an 8-week online mindfulness training program on the stress, compassion levels and attitudes of rurally-based medical students. Once written, I submitted my paper to a scientific journal for publication. I received a couple of rejection letters (which you come to expect in the research world) and I am still waiting to hear back from a third journal about the progress of my submission. The process of writing, obtaining feedback from co-researchers then editing and re-editing was at times tedious, however the reward comes with that feeling of accomplishment when you finally press the submit button!
2. One of my great passions is working collaboratively with other holistic health practitioners in the South West to serve my community and provide person-centred holistic health care to my patients. This year, together with a team of hard-working practitioners, the Holistic Health Practitioner Network delivered our third South West Wellness Festival (previously Expo) in Busselton. I have just finished summarising the evaluations that we received from a number of people who attended the Festival, and the overwhelmingly positive responses reassured me that the many hours of organisation were worth it. We created a warm and welcoming vibe, provided a diverse and rich amount of information and encouraged attendees to try a range of different activities from yoga to drumming to dancing. We definitely achieved our goal of creating connection within our community, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
3. At the beginning of this year, one of my oldest friends, Justine, came to stay with us for a few days to celebrate the new year. While she was here, she suggested that we could work together on developing my website and digital marketing strategy. I was thrilled at the idea, and a little bit nervous, but I had faith that Justine would guide me through the process with confidence and competence. We scheduled some meetings and I got cracking with developing the content, and by July we had launched drsarahmoore.com Since then I have remained committed to maintaining the site as well as my social media platforms, and the response I have received from my small group of followers has motivated me to continue with this project. Being online has provided me with the opportunity to share my knowledge and ideas with a broader audience as well as interact with a range of people, both practitioners and others with an interest in holistic health care. I have learnt so much and continue to do so. It has been a such a joy and I look forward to where this journey takes me in 2019.
3 mistakes that taught me important lessons
1. You can’t expect your workload to reduce while continuing to take on new responsibilities. Although much reward comes from accepting new challenges and exploring different activities, these rewards come at the cost of time for yourself and your family. My lesson has been that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. Pausing before saying “yes” and acknowledging that sometimes “no, thank you” is the appropriate
response to “would you like to….?” will be a time-management strategy for me in 2019.
2. After the Wellness Festival this year, I failed to plan a day off before returning to a full week of work followed by a weekend of on-call at the hospital. Consequently, I ended up with a cold and no voice that lasted a week. Oh, the irony! Simple forward planning could have prevented this situation, along with an acknowledgement that I am not special, I do not have superpowers, I need rest like everyone else.
3. As someone with a pitta-constitution, my default mode when things aren’t going quite as I planned is to react in anger. This year I have learnt, time and time again, that this often leaves me feeling regretful that I didn’t pause and choose to refrain from reacting with rage. My mindfulness practice is helping me to allow the anger to be present without reacting. I will continue this practice in 2019.
3 unexpected lessons
1. This year has been one of change for our family. My husband returned to FIFO work after four years at home as the primary carer for our children. He has also been pursuing farming as his future enterprise. I’ll be honest here and say I’ve resisted this path for many years, and 2018 has been no different. This has created tension in our relationship and I have not made it easy for him to embrace this endeavour. To his credit, he has patiently and persistently followed his dreams and is now starting to reap the rewards. My unexpected lesson has been that despite all my concerns that farming is a high-risk business, it has allowed my husband to do something he deeply enjoys and hasn't sent us bankrupt!
2. Leading on from this lesson, there have been many opportunities for me this year to master the art of surrender and letting go. As a working mum who prides herself on being organised and efficient, there have been moments when I’ve realised that I’ve overcommitted and simply don’t have the time or space to complete every task on my to-do list. I’ve learnt that I am the only one who is looking at my to-do list, and if I re-prioritise a task to another day, or simply take it off the list completely, the chances are no-one is going to notice. The relief that comes with reducing the pressure of ticking off that list has made life a whole lot less stressful!
3. Finally, I’ve come to appreciate the value of my introvert-nature. After reading the book “Quiet” by Susan Cain a few weeks ago, I now understand more deeply the importance of retreating and spending time alone in my inner world, where creativity and contemplation can spontaneously arise. Although I am a long-time practitioner of mindfulness and yoga, I also thrive on networking and connecting with others. The challenge is finding a balance between the yin and the yang, appreciating that both are integral to living as a happy and healthy human.