Happy New Year! It's that time of year again when I like to hit pause on the belly dance topics and focus on reviewing and releasing the year that has come to a close. I love the opportunity that the ending of one year and the impending start of the new year provides for taking time out for reflection and checking in with our own internal compass. It's an opportunity to see what worked well, and what didn't. It's a chance to wrap up the lessons that were learned and head into the promise of new beginnings and new opportunities. Yes, it's a magical time of year.
I started 2014, with this post about my goals for the year, which focused on my theme of "Triple G", with the "G" standing for grit, gratitude, and giving. Reflecting on the year, how did I do?
I was pretty gritty this year if I do say so myself. I completed my first half marathon, the Lululemon Seawheeze, and my first obstacle/mud run, the Warrior Dash. I'm pretty proud and pleased to say that I smashed my own expectation of what I thought I could accomplish and finished my half marathon in under two hours!
I also worked hard on my giving goal. I had originally hoped to be a Girls on the Run Coach, but there ended up being too much time required during work hours that I couldn't participate. But instead I ended up joining the Board of Directors or Finance Committee for the non-profit organizations of Humanities Washington, Sixth Day Dance, and Fremont Abbey Arts. I'm honored to be working in this capacity for these organizations and loving all the opportunities this allows me to give back to my local community.
And finally, gratitude. I've been keeping a daily gratitude journal wherein I write two to three items specific to the day that I feel grateful for. This is a daily ritual I've come to love because it really puts me in a positive frame of mind and helps me focus on the blessings in my life. This in turn puts me in a position to manifest and achieve my best possible life. Easy practice, powerful stuff.
My gratitude practice has been especially important to me this year, as I've had a really difficult year in some respects as well. I've been dealing with chronic health issues, as I discussed in this post. I am continuing to work toward a solution, and I am beyond ready to put these issues behind me and move forward into a year of radiant, vibrant health.
In regards to other things that occurred this year, I've also gotten back into ballet, as I blogged about in this post. And I got my first ever tattoo, which you can glimpse above! My tattoo is in Farsi and says "Dance when you're perfectly free", which is a line from a Rumi poem.
Our lives are ever-evolving and changing, and thus what receives our focus and energy is always shifting. This dynamic energy was a factor in my life this year, as some of my originally intended goals didn't get my attention at all, and other goals ended up modified as the year went on. I wrote approximately 50% of my intended non-fiction book, including the proposal, before deciding to table that project and write a novel instead. I'm already on the third chapter of the novel and have hopes to finish it by the end of 2015. I find that there's great peace of mind that comes from doing something that your heart knows you were meant to do, and I'm finding that spirit encompass my effort as I work on this novel.
I also didn't make it to Costa Rica this year, but the plane tickets are booked for March 2015. Pure vida here I come! Instead my husband and I headed to Hawaii's Big Island where we scuba dived, hiked, kayaked, zip lined, swam and laid on the beach. The picture on the beach above is of myself and a sea turtle at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park. My husband and I also did numerous weekend trips throughout the summer, including a lovely B&B in Walla Walla for wine tasting, and a stay in a treehouse in Fall City for our one-year wedding anniversary, the site of our wedding ceremony.
I also ended up reading a lot this year. I've always been an avid reader, but I really turned to books this year for solace and comfort on days when I wasn't feeling well. My favorite fiction books that I read this year were Amy Tan's Valley of Amazement, Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, and Paula McLain's The Paris Wife. For non-fiction books, I would recommend Barbara Sher's Refuse to Choose and Caroline Miller and Michael Frisch's Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide.
And as one final comment on the year, it turned out to be an epic year for concerts. I saw a total of 27 different bands, including Tool, The Pixies, Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails, Alt-J, Bastille, MGMT, Weezer and Imagine Dragons. Holy moly, lucky me!
It's been a year of both triumph and hardship. In many ways, not the year I was expecting to have when it first started, but that's just the nature of life. As always, I encourage everyone to take time out for themselves to release and renew at this time of year. Tie your bow on the year and let it go. Goodbye 2014!