I often find that taking time to pause and reflect at the end of each season really helpful with the transition into the next. It helps to maintain clarity, wider context overview, gratitude and committed action to those all important yearly goals set out at the beginning of the year.
I have adapted the recommended format by James Clear (www.jamesclear.com). I would like to mention Jonathan Foust who inspired me to write using this format after reading his. Jonthan Foust and his wife Tara Brach are a huge inspiration to me in their aproach to life and work.
The review explores 3 questions and you can make it as detailed or simple as you like. I would recommend spending no more than 30mins on the whole thing but that’s just me. Find what way works best for you and how to like to reflect. So let’s jump in!
What went well this summer?
Slowing Down and Living in the Countryside
Intentionally creating space to slow down and immersing myself in the garden, the woods and the expansive life that surrounds us living in a national trust park. Our house is everything we could have hoped for to experience as our first home together as a family (Jonathan, Basil and I). It’s deeply touching to have your own front and back door, stairs, the flexibility of having the back door open all day after many years of city life where space is limited. I am deeply grateful for this space that we get to cultivate and take care of. It’s been a challenge to slow down. The woods and forest are so healing for me to spend time in as I comfort my grief process and take care of myself generally.
Health and Wellbeing
This has been my main focus this summer. Anyone who has grieved before will know how deeply physical it is. I am jogging up to x3 per week and still working towards joining the park run crew here at Blickling on Saturdays. At present we watch from the breakfast table and take our coffee back to bed. Both are competing values and so I keep working at it and to get healthy generally. I commit to regular massages. My body is a temple and all that jazz.
More Health Tweaks
Improved nutrition - eating more plant based foods.
Alcohol - reducing alcohol to special social occasions. Not sure even then that the hangovers are worth it.
Sleep - bed early and usually asleep by 10am. I prefer this so I can get up early. The early hours are a sacred space for me to either exercise or greet the day with sitting meditation.
Reduced caffeine - I have been drinking decaf drinks since end of May. No energy spikes and I feel calmer.
Simplifying - Creating diary space to breath more, grow and enjoy our own fruit and vegetables, marvel in the sunshine, not over stretching with commitments, letting go expectations to do lots of creative work based writing and connecting authentically and wholeheartedly. I also turned down facilitating training in London in Sept because I would over stretched myself. This was a tough but important decision.
Wishing Others Well - Daily practice of offering silent wishes of good will and care and gratitude towards others. Being kind costs nothing but goes a long way. I have really made the effort to hold the gate open for riders as they pass the house (and have a lovely sniff of the horses :)) or a door in the car park for others. I have reached out and congratulated others on their work and developments. Doing this with an open heart and letting go of any unnecessary comparisons. We are all on our own path.
Connect With The Homeless - I make time time each month to stop and have a chat with homeless people on the street, stroke their pets (I met a wonderful ferret) and give £10 in food or money.
Savouring - My relationship with light, the orchestral sounds of dawn/dusk with the windows/doors open, cleaning our windows in prep for Autumn so to capture it in it’s fullest, daily check-in time with Jonathan/family and good cup of tea.
Travel - Had a staycation and enjoyed exploring the North Norfolk coast.
Serving - Nurturing the business as it evolves at a pace that feels healthy. Offering our practice space freely every fortnight to the Norwich OCD Peer Support (NOPS) Group (https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/support-group/norwich-ocd-peer-support-nops-group)
Other Creative Exploration
As Oprah says, “ We only get in life what we have the courage to ask for”. I love this because for me, it can be just about getting started with things especially when it comes to writing, photography, putting the business out there, taking risks to reach out or send that important email and also knowing when to say no and knowing it is not the right time. Here’s some of things I’ve done this summer.
Writing - Started to write more openly and freely from my own voice for the business rather that feeling the need to hold back in case I sound a bit other there. I am embracing all of it in the service of myself and the business to grow authentically. Feedback has been really helpful.
Pacing - totally taking the pressure peddle off the need to be anywhere other that where we are and at the same time to work towards a flexible timeline.
Absorbing - Staying open to exploring new reading and podcasts.
Photography - Finding our voice gradually as a business with image exploration. Also just playing with the camera.
Connecting - Reaching out and connecting with others that I really admire in their field which has been really inspiring and helpful. People are really so helpful. Making new friends.
Contributions & Training - I had the honour of working along side world class therapists as conference committee member as part of the Association for Contextual Behavioural Science (ACBS) World Conference held in Canada. I did the work remotely and contributed to the review of workshop submissions. To see my name amongst some people I hugely admire in the field is just amazing. Next year it is in Dublin (yes!) I went to the British Association of Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) annual summer Conference in Glasgow and attended some really great workshops and symposia. I also signed Jonathan up to IDEO training which felt very exciting to encourage him to nurture his gifts.
What’s Didn’t Go So Well?
Holidays - I had sporadic days off here and there. I want to try and work at having block time off going forward.
Marketing - I am still trying to talk less like a clinician when it comes to the lifestyle stream of the business. Sometimes I can talk using jargon which reduces my opportunity to connect with our wider growing community. I am really working on this as I get really helpful feedback along the way.
Driving - Had planned to take my driving test this summer. I never made time for it. I will keep driving with Jonathan in the meantime. It doesn’t feel so important right now.
Writing - That book I keep talking about and developing MML products, talks and events. I decided to hold back, take my time, let others help, enjoy and involve others in the process.
What Am I Working Towards?
Embracing the life that is here fully with an open mind and heart no matter what
Daily immersion in nature
Daily immersion in the creative process
Daily quality time with Jonathan and Basil
Cultivating intimacy and authenticity in my relationships
Continue to work towards balanced living
Continue to solidify the business model
Writing that book
Creating talks and events
Collaborating with others with similar values and interests
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify