"Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don't really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way"
I love this time of the year when the final days are so close. Although 2020 seemed to have raced by, it feels to me that these final weeks are dragging and I cannot wait to see the end of 2020.
It's not because of the bushfires, or the pandemic, or even the rise in consciousness around racial inequalities brought on by the BLM movement or the ongoing uncertainty of the US election. I'm just ready to stop, take a deep breath and reset my internal system.
"There is work to be done. 2020 is our get real moment of walking the talk. It's a year to step into the arena, mindfully choosing to be an active emissary of LOVE".
I do not know where I found this quote, or who said it. What I do know is that it spoke to me all the way back in January 2020, so much so that I typed it out and placed in on my wall above my desk.
I've used this quote in previous newsletters throughout the year and I've referenced it in various interviews that I've participated in.
Little did I know how much work would have to be done or how real it was going to get in 2020.
On Sunday I facilitated my final workshop for the year, Thriving Through Adversity, A Reflection on 2020. This is the third year I've offered this workshop and it's always booked out, with 70% of these women attending each year. This means that there is an enormous amount of safety in the room and the women feel free to share openly, to laugh spontaneously and sometimes to cry when the need arises. 2020 and the experience of COVID-19 had a big impact on us all.
As we went around the room, women shared about feelings of loneliness, while others shared they had discovered that they loved being alone. Others shared how 2020 had taught them about the importance of the simple things and how they already had everything they needed or desired in their lives. Many shared about confronting fears, still more shared deep gratitude for the privileged position the COVID-19 experience dealt them.
Whilst facilitating this workshop I saw a sea of women who had the courage to step into the arena.
I love the holiday season because I love the few times of the year that humans are just nice to each other for no reason. Like Eid al-Adha, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, Christmas encourages gratuitous good cheer.
In the midst of present buying, planning and over eating, it's important to remember that this is a very challenging time for many people's mental health.
Women experiencing the first holiday season after separation can struggle with how to navigate who's going to have the children for Christmas lunch or dinner or at all. Maybe you're not speaking to your ex. How do you manage the children's expectations? All of this can induce a huge bout of stress and worry for an already overstretched single parent.
Many of you are dreading the obligatory family gathering. Although these are your blood relations, with little in common, they are not the family of your choice. Once a year, you are forced to spend time together because of tradition. These occaisions can trigger old wounds and trauma.
Like me, your family may live overseas and because of COVID you will not see them these holidays. This might bring on feelings of grief, sadness, loneliness or guilt that they are still in lockdown and still struggling with the global pandemic.
These are all tough feelings to manage at a time when we're meant to be happy and celebrating.
Now more than ever, I encourage you to utilise your self-care tools. Take time out when possible. Talk to your kids in an age appropriate way to manage their expectations. Choose your battle and offer the olive branch in situations where doing so will not put you or your children at risk.
Do your best but do not guilt yourself into overcompensating by over spending and getting into debt.
In situations where alcohol can fuel bad behaviour, arrive early and leave before the heavy drinking kicks in. Keep conversation friendly and on the surface in potentially explosive situations.
Where you are far from family or friends, arrange a video catch up across time zones with multiple family members.
Most of all, be kind and gentle with yourself. You cannot be everything to everyone and it's Ok to put your needs first even at this time of giving.
I will be taking a few weeks off to switch off and regroup in preparation for 2021. At this stage many things are still uncertain due to the ongoing global pandemic, so it's best to be rested and ready for how life will unfold.
My first workshop for 2021 is Living with Intention in 2021 and is on Sunday 17th January. After living through the uncertainty of 2020 the irony of setting intentions for a new year does not escape me. I guess the trick is to have goals and dreams while remaining open to the unpredictability of life. Anyway, I hope you can join me.
Thanks to those who have taken the time to complete the HOW CAN I SERVE YOU survey below. If you haven't done so yet, maybe take a moment during this downtime to reflect on what you want from my services and this community.
So I love you 2020, you taught me a lot about myself and I'm happy to see the back of you.
Take good care of yourself and as always, go gently
Attendees at the final workshop of 2020, Thriving Through Adversity, A Reflection on 2020