As I walked through the neighborhood of Matagalpa, Nicaragua, seeing all the familiar faces from exactly one year ago, the first comment I heard from everyone was, “You’re back!!! I can’t believe a whole year has already gone by.”
From one year to the next, as we look back, we probably have the impression that the year just seemed to fly by so quickly.
For most of us, we remember all the goals we hoped to achieve, the promises we hoped to keep and problems we hoped to resolve. Somehow, life kept getting in the way again and we got caught up in all the distractions of every new battle or struggle of each new day, week and month. It’s like time purposely slipped through our fingers, mocking us.
We look at our lives now and feel we’ve gotten nowhere. We feel like once again we failed to make the changes we wanted to improve our lives from last year or the year before or the year before that.
Doesn’t it make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed? Like you’re trying and doing everything just to get your head above water for a breath and yet are still living the same old battles, struggles, conflicts over and over.
If you’re nodding your head or just yelled out YES at the top of your lungs, first thing, take a deep huge breath. Breathe all of it in, everything that has exhausted and overwhelmed you in the past year. Hold it for a few seconds and exhale it ALL out!
Now, instead of letting your thoughts tell you what you should have or should not have done by now, instead of beating yourself up for not being the person you promised you would be, instead of labeling yourself as a failure for not accomplishing all you hoped for, take a deeper look at yourself throughout the course of the past year.
Can you really say you’re the same person?
Take the time to reflect and truly see the answer reveal itself.
Do you see that you probably don’t have the same interests, same beliefs or same perceptions as you once did?
Yup, you’ve experienced CHANGE!
Here’s the icing on the cake, all those struggles, circumstances and conflicts brought about that change. Instead of judging or criticizing and getting all worked up about them, listen carefully and pay attention to the valuable lesson each one is trying to tell you. They are all trying to point you down an unforeseen path toward a life purpose that makes sense for you.
Before making another list of all the things you should or should not do that will improve your life,
Stop, Look and Listen to what’s in front of you now.
Don’t resist the change that’s already within you. Allow it to guide you to the next small different, right step of your personal path.
Shut off all the background noise and ask yourself these questions:
- What lesson did I learn or need to learn from my struggles, circumstances, or conflicts?
- How have I changed and grown because of them?
From here, do you need to let go of a belief, a past hurt or your resistance to your change? And, focus on your next small step forward. ONE small step at a time, NOT the picture perfect end result.
One of my dear clients, Ellen Apostolou, wrote a passage during her Creative Writing class about what she calls her “lightning bolt moment.” To get us started, I’ve asked her to share it with us.
A Lightning Bolt Moment by Ellen Apostolou
Aha! Eureka! I get it!
It’s not my pig, not my farm. Not my clown, not my circus. Not my dog, not my horse, nothing.
“I am responsible for only myself”, said the little old lady. For years everyone had been coming to her for healing and wisdom, to care for and to sort through everyone’s problems, dreams and wishes. One day she woke up shaking and shivering from the night sweats. Burning up some more stuff again, she thought, an everyday occurrence since The Change.The major change from young to pissed off.
This morning it was different. She felt a new kind of knowing. She was burning off her own hurts and dramas, old scripts and should’s that were never really hers in the first place.
She rose from her bed, overwhelmed, yet lighter somehow – confused and yet focused -aware and clearer than she’d ever been.
Caring and helping others in the village was what she thought would be good for them and for her.
But worrying about everyone was not.
Allowing others to be, was going to be the new guide. Putting it back on them to find their own answers was the way to help. Not by solving their problems or, drawing conclusions for them or stating the obvious. It took too much energy from her.
She padded to her front door, pushed past to open the old wooden screen door. The welcome mat was lifted and set aside in the house. She took one of the chairs from the veranda and put it inside beside the stone fireplace in the parlor. She left the rocking chair and little table where they were, went back to her kitchen and made herself a cup of tea.
How about you? What is your lightning bolt moment from the past year?