Life is filled with endings and beginnings, last week that hit home. On Monday 12/28/16, a dear friend and former colleague passed away unexpectedly. She was 83 and had not been in the best of health, but it was still a shock to find out that she had passed. We had spent Thanksgiving together as we often did and she was doing well. I met my friend Leslie twenty years ago this month. We were colleagues at a staffing firm in San Francisco. We only worked together for about a year, but we stayed in touch and she became like family to John and me.
Leslie had been navigating through some tough health challenges over the past few years. She had been in constant pain and I am grateful that she is no longer in pain. I sure am going to miss her though! She was smart, extremely well -read, sassy and she had a great sense of humor. We enjoyed each others company and she was one of my key role models for aging gracefully.
Leslie with her dog Lulu and our dog Mariah
When my mom passed away in 1999, Leslie looked out for me and was always there to offer me advice, both personally and especially with my business. I learned so much from her and she encouraged me to learn from some of her mistakes. Over the years, she had shared some amazing stories about living in San Francisco in the 50’s. She used to hang out in North Beach with the poets who referred to her as a “Baby Beatnik”. In the past week, I have heard some new stories too. She lived a very full, engaged and colorful life. She will be dearly missed. May she rest in peace.
My husband John and I had different plans for last week. We had cleared our calendars to do a personal retreat together to mindfully review the year and prepare for the new year. I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, but I do love taking time at the end of the year to complete it. I find it helpful to review the year and acknowledge my successes, achievements, lessons, and identify the areas in my life that are ready for change. I had planned to do a blog post last week to talk about completions and new beginnings, but found myself knee deep in the depths of grief. Hearing the news about Leslie hit me hard. I expect it is going to take some time to fully grieve this loss. Grief tends to come in waves and I have been riding the waves this past week.
Instead of diving into a full week of strategy and planning we allowed ourselves some time to grieve and process the news. Towards the end of the week, we were able to begin our end of the year retreat. We focused on completing the year by reviewing the successes, challenges, and lessons learned. We adjusted our timeline a bit and are allowing ourselves the month of January for more planning. We set some goals for the year and had a quiet evening at home on New Year’s Eve. I brought in the new year with a deep sense of gratitude.
This week I have been focusing on Gently Moving Forward and embracing the new year. The beginning of the year is always an exciting time. New beginnings. Fresh slate. January is the perfect time of year to spend time going within and asking ourselves questions to help us gain clarity in our lives and to translate that clarity into solid intentions and goals for the year. It is also an opportune time to look at our desires – what we really want in our lives. If you are interested in exploring this further, I highly recommend Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. I love this book and it has changed the way I view my goals and intentions. One of the key tenets is focusing on how you want to feel in your life. She calls these core desired feelings or CDF’s. My CDF’s are currently: Love, Gratitude, Joy, Peace, Freedom and Abundance. I plan on playing with this more and am curious to see how they evolve over the year. I’d love to hear what your CDF’s are -leave me a note in the comments section of this blog post.
I spoke with a friend earlier this week and she asked me if I had chosen a word to reflect my intentions for the year. I hadn’t really thought about that and told her I would get back with her. I have been thinking about my intentions for the year and the word that keeps bubbling up for me is Presence. I want to make sure I am bringing all of me to my life – so that means making sure I am keeping myself in the present moment and not getting stuck in the past of future tripping on what is going to happen next. I want to bring more awareness and presence into my life. I’ve got more to share on this topic and will be back next week talking more about what presence looks like to me and in my life this year. Do you have a word of the year? Do you find it helpful?
Here’s to a happy and healthy new year full of blessings.
Gently Moving Forward,