Lessons from 2016
This year was especially rough for me. I lost my grandma. If you know me, I talk about my grandma, like a lot. I still feel like I’m in a dream-like state. There have been nights I miss her so much it hurts. Every year I saved up money to visit her. Thailand = grandma. She will always be a hero. Six months after Grandma’s passing, Thai people lost their King/Father. As a Thai American I try to be as connected to my Thai roots as possible. In the U.S. being able to see a woman on the presidential ballot was an empowering moment for me. I’ve been reminded that anything is possible. Needless to say 2016 was a pivotal one.
Despite monumental losses in my life, I have also experienced the most personal growth, based on a few habits I’ve formed. These practices, when done consistently, led me to a more satisfying, calmer life.
This was the year I read the most books and listened to the most podcasts than ever before. I was hungry for knowledge. I found much comfort in holding a book, smelling a book, and reading a book.
This was the year I grew my meditation practice and committed to a daily practice. I found peace and happiness when I looked within. I’m less fearful and less caring of what other people think of me. I’m more understanding and choose to focus my energy on action instead of thought.
This was the year I opened my heart and found new, enriching relationships. Despite initial fear I quickly realized what mattered most to me – quality time/relationships with those I care about.
This was the year I was most patient and compassionate, especially toward my loved ones. Progress may be slow, but to me they are worth it. There were days I felt that our family was making one step forward, then three steps back. I tried my best to be there, show up and support – to show that I cared.
This was the year I’ve started to let go of my expectations of others and JUST. DO. IT. I spent less time worrying and launched a new website, advocated for my work schedule, and tried to make time for what matters most to me. Although I was busy, I found meaning in what I spent my time on. When I wasn’t as busy, I questioned myself (is it because in the Chinese zodiac, I’m a horse and horses are suppose to be hardworking?). It’s been a process for me to sit in the discomfort of not having a schedule on certain days. I’m still working on it, but I’m getting better.
Of course there were days where I felt overwhelmed, depressed, misunderstood and lonely. This is part of life and living. I’ve learned to be more forgiving to myself. I can be my own worst’s critic. There were many nights I cried myself to sleep. The difference is that I’m more aware of when it happens.
As this year comes to a close, I invite all of us to truly be mindful of the lessons from this year. 2017 is just around the corner. It’s waiting for us with open arms. It will challenge us in many ways, but we have daily habits/tools to make life a bit calmer, which starts with feeling your in-breath and out-breath right now.