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A Time for Reflection

“Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- 

not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” 

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings

The end of the year is near and the silly season is approaching. This time is undoubtedly one of the busiest times of the year. I know I barely have time to tie up my shoes! But this is all the more reason why we need to take five and look back at the year that’s passed. 

There are years when we’re really happy with ourselves and what we’ve achieved, and other times when we feel disappointed. I know I often think about the goals I didn’t achieve or the time I wasted. But instead, this year, let’s try and change this pattern. 

Let’s take a minute to consider the blessings and beauty of 2016 and what we’re looking forward to for the coming year. Sound a bit daunting? Why don’t you try this; start by finding a comfortable place you won’t be disturbed.

Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and focus on the rhythm of your breathing for a few minutes. 

Bring your attention to the top of your head. Do this for 10-20 breaths. Next, bring your attention to your heart or the centre of your chest. See if you can sense your heart gently pulsating.

Put one hand on your chest and one on your belly. When you breathe in through your nose, feel your stomach pushing out with your chest following slowly.

Using your imagination, think, hear or picture all the things you are grateful for. It can be anything from experiences and people, to gifts, opportunities and even compliments. Try to reflect on this with as many specifics and details as you can. As you visualise these things, feel the love radiating from your body. There is no right way to do or feel this. Just go with the flow and allow whatever comes naturally to just be. Embrace the experience. 

How did that feel?

During this time of reflection, you might like to have some questions available that you can focus on. Writing them down can be helpful, as it helps to put them into context and makes them more concrete. Some people have even said that writing them down can be quite powerful in acknowledging the gifts they have received and solidifying their goals for the year to come. 

So, since I’m trying to lead by example and focus on some important aspects of my year, I am going to share my reflections with you. 

What are your goals for 2017? To get into a Postgraduate program, and start my journey as a psychologist. On another note, to move out and renovate the house with my partner. 

What can you improve on? Communication and listening to the needs of my loved ones. We often listen but don’t hear. 

Did you have a standout moment this past year? Going to Japan! The culture and people were amazing, and oh my…the food!!

What are you grateful for? My family - we have been through a few ups and downs this year, and although these are inevitable, I am grateful that we still have an unmistakable love for each other. 

What did you learn that can contribute to your overall wellbeing in the coming year?  Yoga. It was my New Year’s resolution a couple of years ago, and lo and behold, I didn’t stick with it (although I did try it for a couple of months). I have now re-joined a yoga class, I’ve bought myself a new outfit (sometimes you need a little extra motivation) and have even reigned in a friend to do it with me. So far, so good :) 

If you didn’t achieve what you set out, does it really matter? In hindsight, no. Although I may not have achieved what I set out to (such as getting into Postgraduate study or attaining a permanent work position), I have achieved other things that weren’t even on my radar. I have taken on a more active role in the ADAVIC Facebook service, I have attained another casual position in an area I never thought I would (research) and I have travelled to a country that was never really on my “bucket list”. 

“Reflecting on Life”

Take time to stop today
Take time to stop a while
Reflect on how life changes
Then take the time to smile

Know that as the days go by
These things that challenge you
Will one day just be memories
Of times you have gone through

Look back now on yesterday
And all you have achieved
Recognise the strengths you’ve gained
The blessings you’ve received

One day in the future
You will think about today
You’ll see just how these challenges
Have helped you on your way

Written by Michelle Tetley

Try it yourself. Your own answers to the questions above can help to give you some perspective on your achievements in the last year, as well as some focus to achieve the goals you have set for next year. 

Written by Tanya, ADAVIC Volunteer

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