About six months ago, I was curled up on my sofa, sobbing. These moments of deep sadness coupled with occasions of overwhelming gratitude and joy have been my life this past year. At the beginning of 2015, I set my intention to deepen into a woman of style and substance, because one without the other doesn’t interest me. I want my life to tell the story of a woman who continued to evolve as a woman, stretching my limits and opening my heart more than I thought possible.
As this year comes to an end, I’m happy to report: mission accomplished.
But, it didn’t unfold as planned. (It rarely does, right?)
When you set an intention like this, expect that life will hand you everything you need in order to stretch and grow, and it hurts. At the same time, it’s a glorious experience.
I am so darn excited about the New Year, but before I start sauntering towards 2016, I need to pause, reflect and consciously decide the narrative I want to tell about 2015.
I highly suggest that you do the same. Here’s why:
How we tell the story of this year will impact the next year and beyond.
What story will you tell?
Here are a few of the facts of my year:
I’d wake up at 3AM with my mind racing.
The next day I’d be belly laughing with friends.
I dreamt things that normal people don’t dream (vicious nightmares).
The next night, I’d dream of heaven.
I lost 10 pounds on the stress diet (not a diet I’d recommend, BTW).
Instead of waking up with cheer, I was waking up with panic attacks.
My friends were making frequent house calls because they were worried about me.
Yep folks, that’s a snapshot into my year.
Fortunately, I have a deep awareness of what’s going through my head during this season of my life. Martha Beck calls it death and rebirth – shedding of the old identity and birthing a new one.
And, as this stage suggests: death and birth is painful and beautiful.
Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes, it’s downright difficult.
But, guess what? We are capable of hard things. And, I truly believe that our willingness to experience everything that life has to offer makes us more confident, strong and successful women.
When you French Kiss Life, more than anything, you are committed to your own growth as a human being. Growth doesn’t happen when you avoid disappointment and fear. It happens when you stand up and declare: bring it.
When you take that kind of courageous stand, be ready to have yourself torn apart and everything that’s holding you back exposed.
This may scare you, but as a woman who has experienced this many times, I’m here to tell you that it’s one of the most sexy, powerful and life changing things you will do.
This leads me to how I choose to tell my story for this year. You see, m’friend, it would be SO easy to tell a story of story of doom and gloom. But, how would that serve me? It wouldn’t.
Plus, it’s not true. I have lived with more joie de vivre than ever before.
Here’s my story for 2015
This year has been one of my best years yet. Not because everything went as planned or because of my exotic travels. Not because my company grew tremendously or that I have a great guy…
…But, because I have grown so much as a woman.
I have let go of many things that no longer serve me, such as my belief that I must always keep it together. (Exhausting!)
My confidence has soared, not because everything fell into place, but because I didn’t give up when it didn’t.
Even with all the growing pains, I made a commitment to myself to enjoy the sweet, simple moments. I still cooked beautiful dinners, lit candles each day and kept fresh flowers in my home.
I took exquisite care of myself, because I needed the extra TLC more than ever.
I didn’t abandon myself. I still showed up for myself, followed through on commitments and priorities. I didn’t back down from my own life.
I spent weeks getting rid of clutter that was suffocating my life, from clothes that represented me 10 years ago to kitchen gadgets that I’ve never used.
I was kind and gentle with my own heart, not bullying myself because of my difficulties but loving myself because of them.
I took a bold step to get my finances in order, with regular meetings with my accountant and investment manager. I was scared at first, but now, on the other side, I see the liberation in a woman looking at her finances and declaring dominion over them.
I have learned so many beautiful lessons that have shaped me into a more compassionate, strong woman.
I have met new friends and nurtured old ones. I have laughed beyond belief, and cried to the depths of my soul.
I have become a much stronger woman, not by being more perfect, but because I allowed myself to be ravishingly imperfect.
I have touched a more divine place in my own being, and forever, I am deeply grateful for this beautiful, messy and glorious year.
Perhaps, you can relate to some of the things I’ve experienced. Maybe this has been a truly tough year for you too. If so, I’d like to offer you a reframe.
Every woman I deeply admire has had hardship. Her grace and elegance has been shaped from the ashes.
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote:
The women whom I most admire in the world are those who have lived long and survived much. They have been through love, amazement, loss, catastrophe, sorrow. Most of all, though, they have been through DISAPPOINTMENT — and they have each individually found a way to live through it. Not only have they lived through disappointment; they came out on the other side much stronger as a result, having earned perspective, endurance, and wisdom through their trials.
I couldn’t agree more.
Without tough years, we don’t grow.
Without heartache, we don’t visit the depths of our being.
Without challenges, we don’t become strong.
Without obstacles, we don’t learn how to navigate life.
Without sadness, we don’t appreciate those moments of pure bliss.
So, 2015 handed me everything I needed to live my intention: to be a woman of substance and style.
My closet has never been a truer reflection of the woman I’m becoming, and I’ve never felt more deeply strong in my being.
The beauty of all of this is: I have a deeper wisdom to share with you, and now that I’ve been through this, here’s what I believe: everything is happening FOR you if you have the willingness to stay with yourself.
What a fabulous year!
2016, now I’m ready for you!
What will your 2015 story be?
Leave me a comment below.
I’d love to celebrate 2015 with you.
(P.S. I deeply encourage you to tell the story of all parts of your life in a way that makes you feel stronger, more grateful and as the heroine of your own life. Are you with me?)
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