1. Where did I thrive?

Two areas come to mind: Focusing on my feelings, and financial wealth.

For the first time ever, I decided not to have any 2018 new year’s resolutions, and “no goals” was my goal.

I read Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map, and instead of reading my goals document on a monthly basis, I created and pasted a sheet with my core desired feelings, intentions, and values on my desk. Looking at it before meditating each morning really helped with improving my mindset, and this is an area I’ve struggled with for a long time. Years.

I ended up creating a few personal goals anyway. One was feeling my core desired feelings (as per above) and the other two were related to caring for and spending time with other people, and I’m glad to say I slayed these.

I also decided to close my agency and start earning money for my time. While I’m starting from the ground up with my two main contracts, I’m excited about future opportunities, and my earnings are finally allowing me to pay off my overdue debt.

2. Where did I struggle?

I am a patient person, but when it took 3 months to progress on my new agency website, I realized that I was losing the patience, energy, and vision for my agency’s expansion, and I decided I could no longer keep it up. It wasn’t so much a struggle as a realization, but I’ve been struggling financially since early 2017. I believe that you should never live life with regret, but this is one dream that I had to give up, and I feel ok with that decision. I’m proud of the 13 years I’ve put into the marketing game and what I’ve accomplished.

I also learned that my intolerance for lack of emotional intelligence is growing. One of the reasons why I decided to close my agency is that I realized it doesn’t matter what kind of company I’ve built or who my clients are; everyone’s still prone to reacting inappropriately, or being ignorant when it comes to doing business consciously. I vowed that I wouldn’t ever put myself in a position where I’m at the whim of emotionally reactive people at work. And thanks to this struggle, I have a new dream for my professional career.

3. Who was important in my life and why?

No one stands out, but Leo once again has been my rock during what’s been quite a year of change for me. We went on a couple of small trips that made for amazing memories, and a blog post on the importance of travelling.

It’s why I’m so motivated to slay my debt and do more travelling, so I can learn more about myself and the rest of the world. And have good stories to tell afterwards.

Recently, one of my friends lost her father suddenly, and it was a wake up call about how life is so short and we can never take our loved ones for granted. For the last few years I have been trying to help my father treat his medical condition with natural and cannabis remedies. It’s been hard to influence him and my mom (his caretaker), but I remind myself that it’s also up to divine timing.

I’m also so thankful for my business network, which made it easy for me to find my current work roles.

4. What lesson am I grateful to have learned?

I’m grateful to have learned that you can’t rely on other people — even ones you trust most. No man’s an island, but when your life or work aspirations rely on others, you’ve either got to give people a time limit to perform, or figure out ways to accomplish your goals without those people.

After the first attempt to teach myself to knit in December 2017, I finally learned how to knit slouchies. I made a lot of items for others for practice, so I’m now just working on the second one for myself.

I also had two divine lessons in patience and judgment while travelling. The first was on Bowen Island when I spent an hour (more, if you include the preparation time) kayaking with a senior woman from Vancouver, and the other was from a Vancouver mom that we drove up with from San Diego to L.A. who helped us when we were in a bind to get home. I judged both of these women initially, and there were lessons I learned after spending time with each of them, so I learned that I have a long way to go when it comes to being more compassionate and empathetic to others. I believe 100% in my soul that this is the reason why we are on this planet to travel — there are some lessons you just won’t get at home.

5. Where and how was I courageous?

When I decided to close my agency down in July, instead of finding work right away, I decided to use my remaining months to try out a new business, one that would be my dream career: Editing. I’m not talking about book editing, but rather proofreading, editing already-written copy, fixing grammar and spelling errors, and generally making content look and sound amazing. I gave myself three months to see if I could make a living doing this, and I contacted hundreds of companies, including ones in China and Japan. I was lucky to have one client needing work recently, but one-offs aren’t enough to feed myself, so that’s when I went job hunting in September. Below is one of the Facebook ads I put out. When you click on it, you’ll see that I’m still available for one-off projects.

6. What brought me joy?

My youngest niece, Chantal, is almost 3 years old and is just learning how to talk. Not only is she cute as hell, but she’s hilarious and finds everything funny. I wish she stays that way for a long time. I also got to spend more quality time with her sister Aaliyah. I took her to the Vancouver Art Gallery for the first time to see the Takashi Murakami exhibit.

I learned about the secret island that people in Vancouver talk about, but not too loudly to spoil it: Bowen Island. My sister took me for a less-than-24-hour excursion to Nectar Yoga B&B as a birthday present in April, and then we returned with friends in the Fall. Bowen’s a really special place, and it’s so close to downtown Vancouver. It’s no wonder why people move there, or spend their weekends (even just evenings) there to get away from the city.

Above: 2 year-old Chantal.
Below: The first trip to Bowen Island with the sister.

Above: Making crafts at the VAG.
Below: 2nd trip to Bowen Island with the gals.

In a more subtle way, treating my ongoing stomach issues and finding out I was sensitive to dairy was my key to becoming fully vegan this year, and I’m so proud of myself for finally reaching what was an 11-year goal. The vegan community in Vancouver is thriving, and I feel like I’m part of a tribe I can really connect with.

I also attended what was probably the best party of the last decade at my friend Romeo’s place, when he turned 36 in October. Leo and I left his place after 2am, and the party was still going pretty strong!

7. How did I treat my body, heart, spirit, and mind?

Body: I’m happy to say that after a difficult time with my stomach pains earlier this year, I was able to survive my cleanse, continue eating vegan, and successfully avoid most of my sensitivities. I haven’t had a painful episode in the evening since, and as soon as I feel like I’m getting bloated, I have a routine to treat my body. My friend Gail gave me DoTerra’s Zengest Oil Blend for my birthday, and I start applying that when I felt the bloating coming on. If it persists, I use my heat pack, and sometimes I’d put my small amethyst crystal in the pack. It’s hard to say if that helped, but I feel like it did.

Heart: I put my emotional organ through a lot this year, but I know I’m the better for it. In January I let something my husband said spiral my thinking into a depression that was so low, I felt like taking my own life. That’s when I knew I had to start digging into the books that were on my reading list for a long time that always took a backseat to business books. Along with the sheet on my desk and listening a lot to my intuition, I put myself first this year and I’m really excited to take this practice and my core desired feelings into the new year.

Spirit: After attending a satsang in April — where I saw a shamanic healing for the first time — I learned that my life’s purpose is to teach. Which was surprised me, even though I know I’d make a good school teacher. The spiritual healer said that I have to listen to the wisdom of trees, and even though I did less hiking this year than I wanted to, I started a new habit of touching and hugging trees when going on my weekly walks. I feel like my walks are intuition training. I take 3 deep filling breaths when I step outside, I notice the leaves, I try to feel into the character of certain trees, and I hug them to thank them for wisdom, even though I don’t quite know what that wisdom is yet. (I started taking walks in 2016 upon the guidance of an intuitive.) My walks, in addition to my desk sheet and daily journaling practice, keep me connected to my guides, and I get constant reminders that I am perpetually blessed when I see triple numbers. If you’re interested to learn about the soul of nature — even inanimate objects — read MacHaelle S. Wright‘s Behaving As If the God in All Life Mattered (and tell me if you’ve read any of her other books!).

Mind: In addition to my desk sheet, I read two game-changing books this year: Jeff Olson‘s The Slight Edge, and Mark Manson‘s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. I’m also grateful for my new practice of listening to podcasts this year. After closing down my company, I removed many of the business-related pods and all of the marketing pods from my repertoire, and I added a lot more popular personal development ones. I stopped watching Gary V and Marie Forleo‘s vlogs and added their podcasts as I can get through a lot of them while I’m working at home. All of this has helped with both my mental and emotional growth this year as I’ve started to strip away worries about shit that no longer matters.

I have two new gurus whose work has influenced me so much that I now want to become a (hypno)therapist. The first is Marisa Peer, whose Mindvalley talk I watched on YouTube, and Dr. Joe Dispenza, who I first heard on Lewis Howes’s The School of Greatness podcast. I’m reading his second book right now, and it’s absolutely blowing my mind. Below are the talk & interview I mentioned.

8. How did I show up for the people I care about?

This is an area I know I can really improve in. I spent a lot of time on growing myself this year which I’m proud of, but that also meant not being there for others as much as I wanted to. I wanted to spend more time with my nieces, and one of my besties when she moved to another city. But I made a few small strides: I hung out with a new (vegan) friend more, took my aunt out for lunch on her birthday, helped my friend when she lost her dad, and spent a lot of time with Leo at beaches during the summer. So I have to give myself props for that.

Going topless on Wreck Beach was one thing I thought I’d never do in life after getting scared about the idea in high school, but I showed up for the task (along with Leo) and got ‘er done!

9. What situations trigged fear or discomfort? Did I move through them? If so, how? If not, why not?

After my low point in January, I decided to tackle two of my related fears through a social media #FearlessnessExperiment, and after six months of exposing my earnings, savings, debt numbers, and a secret, I just stopped caring. It’s amazing, the transparency that the Internet gives you. I also learned that some people care more than I thought they would, and others didn’t. So you can never do anything based on how you think others are going to react. It’s best to ALWAYS act according to what’s going to help you grow.

 

Friday, June 15 was the day I decided I might be done running my agency, and my side hustle. I had two moments triggered by others who were expressing anger toward me, and — so I don’t sound like I’m completely blaming them — I found it difficult to handle emotionally. Instead of deciding to quit then and there, I decided to give myself two weeks to see if I still felt the same way, and July was when I knew. I’m thankful that I have patience, cool-headedness, and intuition to help me move through times like this, because I know there are going to be more as I get older.

10. Which rituals and habits served me well and which ones didn’t?

I’m still meditating twice a day, reading and journalling nightly (on two things instead of four), keeping up with my exercise routine, and taking walks outside for fresh air. I’m excited to update my desk sheet to continue my mindset training, and blogging on all of my vegan recipes next year.

Critical self-talk still doesn’t serve me very well, and I learned that big time earlier this year and again recently when I was triggered during the holidays. I also know that I have a habit of walking away or hanging up the phone when having certain discussions with my parents, and although I want to be loving and patient with them, it’s difficult. So I’m going to try and work on this more next year.

 

Wishing you all the joy, abundance, and wisdom 2019 has to offer.

Sandra

 

If you’d like an e-copy of The Desire Map, contact me and I’d be happy to e-mail it.

Click here for my 10 questions reflecting on 2017.

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