Friday, December 30, 2016

10 Gifted Learnings from 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, I offer you a gift. A gift not of physical substance, but of thoughts, feelings and actions over the past year of publishing a new book, moving out of my house, dropping my son off at NYU for his first year of college and taking a 3-month sola (but never really alone!) odyssey throughout Europe, that I have experienced, learned from and am so thankful for. Perhaps these will lend a spark to your inner or outer fire as they have for me. Blessed beyond words. 

1.   Take risks for things that matter to you. Even if they’re scary (like scaling a tower’s ladder or a towering peak!). Ask yourself: “Might I be sorry if I don’t do this? What might I gain if I do?” 

2.   Don’t wait for life to fulfill you; take 100% of yourself into whatever you do. That practice in itself is fulfilling. (Take yourself to your edge.)

3.   Smile at people. Sincerely. With your eyes as much as with your mouth. If they smile back, what an added joy; if not, no matter. Enjoy how your smile makes you feel. 

4.   Laugh everyday. It’s easy, particularly when you pay attention to life’s everyday happenings, and when you don’t take yourself too seriously. (Oh, that risqué country of Croatia and Kentuckian Austin and my Thanksgiving turkey offering in Barcelona, somehow stuffing ourselves and my suitcase and backpack into Rafaella’s tiny electric car, Miró chair)


5.   Treat yourself to something special everyday. It needn’t be costly or exotic. Or, it may be. Smell a flower. Eat an octopus,  Amada’s paella, Marc's and Sarah’s divine dinners, vino tinto, queso and jamon topped with foie gras with Ana and Davide, fellow CELTA certificate students.


6.   Stop. Throughout your day.  Notice. Your breath. Your surroundings. People around you. That will reconnect you with yourself and with all the marvel that is. (Like a sunset swim in Mallorca with my friend Elvira and experiencing Chagall’s multimedia exhibit in a 25meter high quarry carved out under the town of Les Baux, France.)

7.   Commit yourself to something, no matter what. For me, it's to be open, everyday. With great anticipation; but not expectation. (Like being encouraged by my Backroads pals, Tony, Karen, Jackie and Richard, to ride back up the long, steep hill we’ve recently descended, and making it to the top! Or, going on Meet-Ups where I met new, now life-long friends like Vandana, Greg and Hilda while foraging for mushrooms outside of Paris, and Karen (pictured with Hilda, left) who started a wine/food Meetup in St. Remy, Provence). 

8.   Be generous: listen to others, honor their thoughts and feelings as well as your own. Share your bounty. (Gaudi masterpieces)      

9.   Use your intuition coupled with evidence to guide you. (Jaume Plensa)(Ocean tornado) 

10. Say Thank You whenever you can. I thank YOU, Hvala, Gracias, Merci, Grazie, Shokran from the sands of Morocco's Sahara and CA (with my son, Jack)!