I stepped off the grid to be present with my loved ones over the holidays. We took the week before Christmas to visit family and ski at Whistler, British Columbia, returning home on Christmas Eve.
Traveling before Christmas was a departure from our usual routine. It was a little chaotic getting organized, but fun to shake things up a bit. I hope your holiday experience was also joyful and in alignment with your intentions!
One of my 2017 goals was to maintain a healthy balance between work and family life. As a solopreneur with a mobile office, it’s easy to try to slip work in when you think nobody’s watching. I made an intentional decision not to do that on our trip. I unplugged from social media and email. I took a break from my weekly blog post (I hope you were too busy enjoying your own holiday to notice).
Along with connecting with my family more fully, the break allowed my head to clear enough to reflect on my journey over the past year since the establishment of Damselwings, LLC.
The funniest ah ha moment I had on our vacation was on the ski slopes. I’ve been skiing my whole life, lucky enough to have lived or had family to stay with in some of the most incredible ski areas in the world (Colorado, Europe, Whistler). People tell me my technique is good. I can make it down pretty much any run without falling.
But I’m not fast. (A theme that comes up often here.)
I have actually trained myself to be a slow, controlled skier so that I could easily remain at the back of the line with my family in case anybody fell and needed help. Now everyone is grown up and can ski (or board) just fine, so they don’t need my help. I don’t have an excuse to be slow anymore.
Except that I simply don’t like to ski super fast.
It doesn’t feel good or particularly fun to me. My ah ha moment was to realize this fully and embrace it, even while skiing with people who enjoy speed and view it as a goal.
It’s not a matter of not wanting to push myself. My enjoyment declines when I try to stay ahead of other people. It’s just not important to me. I’m also severely directionally challenged, another very practical reason to let others take the lead on the slopes.
Skillful skiing is fun for me, connecting me with my body and nature, giving rise to gratitude for my health, fitness, and the opportunity to spend time in stunning natural surroundings. I maintain a pace that allows me to be present with these feelings. Just like mindfulness allows me to live life skillfully, keeping it fun through all sorts of terrain.
I share this story because it reflects yet again why I am so drawn to the damselfly, the inspiration for Damselwings, LLC.
As I have explained here before, damselflies are not as fast as dragonflies. They don’t fly in straight lines. And, unlike dragonflies, damselflies are not carnivorous. But they have nevertheless survived since prehistoric times.
And since we just returned from a part of the world rich in totem poles and indigenous peoples’ other symbol-laden artwork, here’s what shamanic traditions have to say about the power of damselflies (the power animal attributes apparently apply to both damselflies and dragonflies):
Damselfly/Dragonfly’s Medicine Includes – Mastery of life on the wing, power of flight, power to escape a blow, understanding dreams, power of light, breaking down illusions, seeing the truth in situations, swiftness, change, connection to Dragon, transcendence, winds of change, wisdom and enlightenment. (source: www.shamanicjourney.com)
Whatever language you’re comfortable with—science or symbols—we’re still talking about mindful living.
So as I take a moment to reflect on the past year before diving into 2018, I feel good. Actually, I feel really good.
A quick scan of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year shows me that I reached most of them.
Review of My 2017 Goals
- Show up early through better preparation, organization, and intention-setting. GOOD PROGRESS in many areas, but still have room for improvement (A+ for my own events, but B- for my fitness classes).
- Work in alignment with my purpose. ABSOLUTELY!
- Think bigger, braver, and inspire others to do the same. YES!
- Work smarter, not harder. YES!
- Maintain a healthy balance between work and family life. GOOD PROGRESS but still tweaking what this looks like as an empty nester.
- Deepen my training and personal mindfulness practice, including meditation and mindful life skills. YES!
- Deepen my photography training and practice. PROGRESS, but more time went to learning the business side of photography this year with the new website launch.
- Reduce suffering (starting with keeping my own in check). KEPT MY OWN SUFFERING IN CHECK. Hope my work supported you in this area!
- Live authentically. YES!
- Expand my photography line to continue to inspire people to slow down and notice the beauty in their midst. YES!
- Write a new book (words AND photographs!). NOPE – and that’s OK. I had bigger, timelier fish to fry this year such as new programs and the new photography website. Another book will come, but not quite yet.
- Remember that the universe has my back. YES!
- Take naps and baths (I recently learned that Picasso would research an idea then take a bath to process it. Yay!). YES!
- Take care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. YES!
- Grow my garden (thereby allowing my garden to grow me). Maintained well enough given my plant-eating dog, but hope to do better in 2018.
- Publish a blog post every Thursday. I posted 47 out of 52 weeks in the year (this one will bring me up to 48), but not always on Thursday. Mindfulness has taught me to be OK with good enough, and I’m happy with this as a solo operator.
- Support the breast cancer community. LOVED holding my home art show in October to support METAVIVOR.org!
- Let go of fear-based thinking and embrace my value. YES!
- Help more people develop their own mindfulness practice through new offerings. YES! From my 30-Day Mindfulness Meditation Challenge programs (next one starts on February 1, 2018) to Mindfulness in the Workplace talks to workshops for empty nesters and holiday stress managers, it’s been a year of creative new offerings beyond what I could have imagined.
More is in the works for 2018, so stay tuned!
Just a reminder that my posts next year will be divided between this site and my photography website subscribers. If you want to receive all of my content, make sure to visit damselwingsphotography.com and sign up. If you do so by New Year’s Eve, you’ll be entered into my drawing for a free print!
In the meantime, I wish you all the best as 2017 comes to a close and 2018 emerges as a clean slate with the promise of new opportunities for growth, fulfillment, and joy. Thank you for your support and encouragement as we travel this road together! I’m honored and grateful to have you as part of my circle.
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