A birthday, my 2014 year in review + thoughts on living with intention

love!

Having a birthday that falls close after the new year is something that I get really excited about.

I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m so forward-moving or perhaps because January has that “fresh start” feeling in the air, but my birthday always brings to mind the excitement and anticipation of a new start. This is the time when I get inspired to reflect and review the past year, celebrate how things went, what I want to do differently this time, how I want to spend my next year being a new, older (hopefully wiser!) self.

In celebration of both my birthday and the new year, I thought I’d share with you my 2014 year in review, as well as my theme word for this coming year.

As I reflect over everything the past year has brought, one feeling keeps coming back to mind – GRATEFUL. It’s hard to believe that just a little over a year ago I couldn’t walk. I spent the majority of 2013 incapacitated with a serious health condition — one that eventually left me bedridden for months and full of worry and anxiety over what was happening. In fact, I spent most of that year operating out of FEAR – fear over foods, fear of entering into the unknown, fear of letting go, fear of failure. 2014 was a completely different energy for me. This past year has been all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Embracing the unknown and walking towards it with open arms. I really carved out my independence over the past year, made some major shifts in the way my life operates and have experienced so much more happiness and health because of it.

My big intention over the past year was to live life intentionally — to do the things that are important to me, even if they’re not easy. Instead of drifting through life and dealing with things as they come my way, I wanted to intentionally choose, seek out and DO.

Last year I decided to pick one word that would serve as a theme for the coming year. Choosing an intention word like this is super powerful. It serves as a sort of guiding light – keeping your intention word in mind throughout your year, you are always gently reminded to choose those things that fall in line with your theme. You start to attract experiences and circumstances that align with what you’re seeking.

My word for 2014 was FREEDOM.

How has this magical word shown up in my life over the past year?

Travel

One of my big dreams was to have more freedom to travel extensively and I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to make this dream a reality. Over the past year I’ve traveled through 8 countries on 3 different continents, all by myself! I met and became friends with people from around the world and had some amazing, life-changing experiences.

Swimming with elephants - one of the best experiences ever!

Swimming with elephants – one of the best experiences ever!

I was overjoyed to taste foods from around the world (and re-create some of those recipes), discover more of Scandinavia, and fall completely in love with gorgeous Thailand. I also got lost numerous times, went sleep-deprived, dealt with loneliness, spent countless hours waiting around in transit centers, struggled with language barriers, got sick overseas, had tons of panicked experiences from operating in unfamiliar territory – just keeping it real.. travel is not all fun and roses! But the feeling of persevering and overcoming all of the above is simply priceless. If you have never traveled solo before (especially solo in foreign countries), I highly encourage you to do this — alone is where you discover who you really are. I have learnt so much about myself from these crazy, whirlwind experiences.

Health

It’s not until you’re very sick that you realize just how important it is to be well. After everything that went down in 2013, I’ve been committed to taking care of myself and doing whatever it takes to support my health. The past year has been health-wise my best one yet — I’ve felt more energised, positive, capable, stronger, calmer.

hiking joy

Everything from my digestion to skin to hair has improved drastically and I feel like I’ve let go of a big bag of health concerns. As someone who grew up as a sickly child and spent almost all her life plagued with various health ailments, this freedom from illness feels both weird and wonderful. I do feel grateful to have gone through so many health obstacles though, as I’m positive that I would not be working in wellness otherwise. Experiencing and overcoming sickness is what makes so many of us passionate about helping to heal others. In this way, we turn our struggles into gifts.

Foodie Freedom

I developed so many random food sensitivities in the first half of 2013 and I was beyond thrilled to find that these all cleared up by 2014, vanishing as suddenly as they had appeared. I’ve now been able to enjoy olive oil, raisins, cashews, beef, and my beloved avocado again! I also discovered whilst traveling that I am not gluten-intolerant. I can’t tell you how much it means to have food freedom and to be able to eat most things if I choose to do so. This past year was all about me tuning into and trusting my intuition regarding foods. Listening to my body and what it’s asking for instead of external sources telling me what I should eat. I believe it’s no accident that when I mentally got myself in a better state of health and significantly raised my vibrations, my food sensitivities vanished as well. Now I want to help others find this freedom around foods… it is totally possible!!

Freedom in Movement

All the yogis out there can attest to this – a regular practice gifts you with so much freedom in the body. Coming back to yoga after healing my feet and re-discovering dance last year has allowed my body to stay limber, open, and strong.

dancer

The benefits of flexibility are far and wide but for me it’s all about the inner feeling it brings. Being flexible and limber makes me feel beautiful, expansive, empowered. I feel open and receptive and light. I’d be lying if I said that I always look forward to going to yoga and dance class. Sometimes I don’t want to; some days I need to push myself. But this feeling of total body freedom afterwards, that’s what keeps me going.

Free Time!

I carved out an abundance of free time for myself this past year, time that I’ve been able to spend doing things that are really important to me — meditating, journaling, cooking, writing. This past year I was thrilled to feel like I was fully participating in life for once, something I desperately desperately wanted. I tend to be a big celebratory person so for me that looked like enjoying all the seasons to their fullest extent. I went apple & pumpkin picking in the fall, rock-climbing, nature hiking, and took part in some fun seasonal activities like haunted houses for halloween. I filled my spring and summer with weekend trips to the beach, swims in the ocean, quiet sunny days spent meditating by the water, and retreat time away in a cozy little cottage by the sea. Time to enjoy and love life — THIS is what freedom is all about.

pumpkin picking

fall!

friends

Hello, Creative Freedom!

I don’t think I fully realized the impact this blog would have on me when I started it up. I have had such a strong urge to create for a long time and I struggled with giving myself permission to indulge in this. It’s only been with allowing myself the freedom to create and be creative that I’ve realized how essential this is to feeling well. As Brene Brown says, “Unused creativity is not benign.”

The past year has seen a SOAR in my creativity (and productivity!) with keeping this site going and all that blogging entails. From writing and reflecting, to designing graphics, organizing photo shoots, revising website layout, recipe-creating, newsletter-making, and learning how to code(!!) for my site, the creative achievements have been incredibly gratifying to say the least. This blog has been one of my biggest undertakings yet — it’s forced me to get myself on a regular schedule, to be consistent, to bust through procrastination and indecision and laziness. It’s been one of the most rewarding/ authentic/ challenging/ frustrating/ nourishing/ soulful pieces of work that I’ve put out into the world. I’m so incredibly grateful for all of YOU who have joined the tribe and are following along. Thank you for being a part of the journey, for reading my posts and all the wonderful feedback… it means the world to me.

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So there you have it — my highlights of the past year, a truly freedom-filled 2014. And I believe this is no coincidence. When you intend for something to happen, your mind kicks in and finds all these little ways to make it so, to align you closer with what you desire. All of which has made me realize – we get to choose. We can absolutely get what we want but we do have to get crystal clear on what exactly that is and put the intention and energy out there.

So what’s my new word for 2015? I’ve decided this year I want to focus on CONNECTION.

This year I’d really love to connect and collaborate with some like-minded ladies, form some soul sister friendships, and also connect with and embrace myself on a deeper level. I’m not sure yet where this will lead but I’m putting it out there! Can’t wait to see how this manifests in the coming months :)

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And I come to you now as we kick-off a new year of exciting possibilities with this one message – don’t let life pass you by. If there are things you want to experience, if there are feelings you want to feel, get out there, find a way to experience them, make them happen. Feel the fear but do it anyway. If we don’t take life by the reigns and make it fully ours, the time slips away unnoticed. We get stuck in our routines and comfort zones and become complacent and before we know it, a huge chunk of time has passed that we can’t even fully account for. We think this is all there really is to life, a series of responsibilities, more of the same. But my darlings, LIFE! Life is so so wonderful, so vast and magnificent and life is meant to be LIVED! Please do this for yourself – I promise you won’t regret it.

So I ask you now: what’s your big intention word for 2015? How do you want to spend this year and where do you want it to take you?

I’d LOVE to hear what your word is in the comments below!

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