Every so often, it’s helpful to see how fare we’ve come: to give ourselves some credit and identify where we still have room to grow. Here is a practice I like to do to clear out the old and make room for the new.
It’s a writing practice, using the free-writing technique I use to solve many of life’s dilemmas. Get yourself a pen and some paper and block out some quiet time. Sometimes I like to go out and sit in nature for this type of thing. It also helps to do this after a good long meditation practice-whatever works for you so your mind is settled and clear. Then…
Do a free write to answer these 3 questions:
What Has Worked in the Past?
Take a look at all the things you feel good about in the past 12 months. How did you show up for yourself or others? Did you have any successes? Where did you grow?
What Did Not Work?
Where did your expectations fall short? Were there mistakes? False starts? Wrong directions taken? This is not an excuse to beat yourself up, but rather to look at the less inspiring aspects of your year and learn what isn’t working.
What Can I Let Go?
Where can you conserve energy and release out-dated ideas? What thoughts, activities, and beliefs hold your energy hostage? How can you create more ease, space and harmony in your life?
Spend a good chunk of time with each question–say 20 minutes–and see what surprises arise. Often right when it seems like there is nothing more to say on the subject, an interesting twist will reveal something you never realized you knew.
Failure is just change with a self-destructive label.
This exercise helps put things into perspective. Rather than labeling events or relationships as failures, we can shift our view to see that certain situations simply do not support our growth. We have other things to focus on. This is quite a relief.
Evolution Is Another Name For Change
Change often induces fear. Maintaining often feels safer and easier than facing impermanence. But impermanence can be good news when we are faced with situations that sap our energy. Change is good. How can we otherwise grow?
It takes courage to start over. And yet without the opportunity to begin again, our growth stalls. This is one think I will let go of: comparison. I invite you to join me on this.
Stop comparing yourself to others or to who you think you should be and allow your own unique path to unfold.
When I get out of my own way and surrender to the situation of the moment, things feel more workable. Rather than struggling to keep up with the Jones, or the expectations I may have, accepting what is encourages evolution. I relax into something unforeseen, unexpected and often wonderful.
This is easier conceptually than in actual practice! But doing this exercise shows the places we can evolve by letting go of ideas that no longer serve our growth.
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