It’s weird when something devastating happens in your life. I have wanted to plan my 2017 and yet, after my son being murdered 11 months ago, I’ve been almost afraid to believe my plans can happen. I did most of my year planning late in the year, whereas in 2015 I was working on it all year long and then in November that year I had a VIP coaching session to solidify everything. It was amazing… and then of course, when my son died, all those plans felt useless.
When a major loss or any kind of a dark night of the soul strikes, all plans go out the window because you’re sort of thrown into survival mode. So what do you do to get back on track? How can you make the best of everything when you’re feeling lost or broken or like the wind has been knocked out of your sails?
That’s most of us right now to a certain degree, after 2016. So many world events and losses as well as personal losses have happened for so many of us that we need to now pick up the pieces.
That’s why I decided to write this month’s article. Now, when I say “magical year”, it’s because this is a year of the Magician (in the Tarot). It’s a number 1 year because the number 1 card in the tarot (at least the Motherpeace Tarot I have) is the Magician. It’s also a 10 year, after the 9 year we just had (2+0+1+6=9). 9’s are about completion. 10’s are about transformation and 1’s (1+0=1) are about new beginnings. I’m sure we can all use some transformation and a new beginning, right?
I know for many of you, 2016 was a difficult year, where plans were thwarted due to difficult circumstances beyond your control. I’m not saying 2017 is going to be all perfect because we are still definitely going through a major breakdown of mainstream systems… and we are “taking off”, so to speak, which means we need a lot more fuel right now than we will once we’re soaring. So get ready for the ride and know that things will be lighter and more ease should come in, if we tap into the magician within and practice extreme self-care and self-love.
10 TIPS FOR A FRESH START TO 2017:
Redefine Success. Some days, success means letting the tears and anger out and doing nothing else. Some days, success means hearing the voices of women in song and laughter at a workshop or drumming circle I’m giving. Sometimes, success means getting the support I need and throwing everything else out of my schedule for the day. A lot of your energy and focus gets taken up by a dark night of the soul or any kind of major loss. Your body, emotions and mind are probably not exactly at their best because grief and shock affect the whole human system, physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. For each of us it is different, but it’s important NOT to expect of yourself what you did before you were hit with the grief or dark night of the soul you’re experiencing.
Always give yourself way more time than you think you will need. Making room in your schedule allows you to have whatever support appointments or downtime you might unexpectedly need. If you don’t even have a calendar and have never used one, get someone else to help you manage your time until you’re feeling better. Or if it feels like a good project to take your mind off of what’s going on, create a calendaring system. I love Google Calendar for its variety of features and for my business, I used Calendly to let my clients schedule themselves for their appointments.
Create a Self-Honouring Policy. I did this for myself in 2016 after my son died. It’s an agreement with yourself that takes into account your real experience and helps you to have wins without self-sabotage. This might include giving yourself permission to cancel social or even business appointments at the last minute. Of course if you are an employee, you’ll need to get creative and maybe talk to your boss to see if you can get Compassionate Leave or work out something else. Depending on what you’re going through, you may have had to give up your job. Part of self-honouring is making sure you’re financially taken care of, so get whatever support you need to make sure that happens. You don’t want to get caught up in a downward spiral but you also want to give yourself space to spiral up at your own pace, and to have rest periods in between. Just know that grief can take up a LOT of energy and focus, so again, don’t expect yourself to be able to do all of what you were doing before the dark night of the soul hit you. It takes time, support and self-care to recover from that hit, and it’s very individual in how long it takes. Go with your own flow. Accept the unexpected and be extra loving to yourself when you need to shift your schedule, take time off or drop a project. You might want to tell loved ones, clients, colleagues, your boss if you’re not your own boss, or anyone who might be affected by your schedule that you may have to cancel plans at the last minute, or that you might need more time to complete a project etc.
Do what lights you up. Simple, right? But not really. Sometimes when a dark night of the soul or loss hits, nothing lights you up for a while, and then it might be that what you used to find energizing and fun no longer is. You might need to create a new “Love to Do List” of things that light you up and start doing those, little by little.
Strengthen your boundaries. Only say yes to doing something when it feeds your whole self, or the results of doing the activity feed your whole self. Saying no frees you up to more space, time and the ability to say yes to the most amazing experiences.
Ask yourself WHY you want to do, be, have or experience something. That will help you to put in place ways to create those experiences, but also, you can often find ways in the moment to create how you want to feel.
Use Your Intuition and Intentions Creatively. Throw out conventional year planning and use a Tarot or oracle deck to help you plan your year, or to make it even easier, get a reading with someone else. If you want a Medicine Song Oracle Reading™, you can book one with me here. Trust your intuition and when you set an intention, rather than making it a goal set in stone, create a practice of going back and checking in with any intentions you set, and adjusting if/when necessary. The more you align your intentions and intuition with your inspired actions, the more likely you will create outcomes and experiences that feel good.
Be gentle with yourself. Personally, I have to be so gentle with myself that I have cut my workload in less than half. Remember what I said about giving yourself more time than you think you need? Yeah, that.When we’re used to being able to do certain things in a certain amount of time, and suddenly that just isn’t happening, it can be really disheartening. Little tiny things can set you off too. You might suddenly find yourself in a mess of tears out of the blue, or you might feel really angry and wonder why. Don’t get down on yourself for that. The more you let yourself feel whatever comes up, the less your body will store it as pain.
Be flexible. You might wake up feeling like you’d rather stay in bed, or like you have no motivation to do anything. That’s why the Self-Honouring Policy. Sometimes you really might need to stay in bed and do nothing. Other times you might have an urge to go do something. Take advantage of those bursts of energy and make space in your heart for those times when your energy or motivation are low.
Don’t chase the Joneses or beat yourself up for your lack of perceived success. Remember, when you notice a colleague having the major success you wish you were having, it does NOT mean something is wrong with you. You each have your own experiences, background and life happenings. Your measuring stick of success needs to have nothing to do with anyone else. Remember, success could be that you got out of bed one day, and another day it could mean you just completed an amazing project that got glowing reviews or lots of sales. It’s all relative, and as long as you don’t let the downward spiral swallow you, you’re good to go.
Year Planning or even just regular scheduling/calendaring for those of you who are grieving or going through a dark night of the soul can feel next to impossible. Conventional planning probably won’t work very well for you right now. It might instead make you feel like failure, and/or put you in the position of overwhelm, major stress, and not enough self-care and self-love. Since this is the year of new beginnings, try NEW ways to plan and create your year and not just now but as you walk the wheel of this year.
By the way, if you’re going through that grief or dark night of the soul right NOW, I want you to know that all the hard work I’d done in 2015 on my 2016 year plan did NOT go to waste. Yes, a lot of the plans had to be thrown out, but so many of the ideas and the way we organized them were very useful for when I was able to work again last year, and I’m even using some of it this year.
One thing I’ve learned is this:
Thanks & Blessings to you.
Brenda MacIntyre – Medicine Song Woman