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So here we are, still in a pandemic, with crazy politics, racism and other painful pieces of this planetary shift. And. We need to LIVE.

How do you make a year plan when there’s so much chaos?

It’s like Mother Earth is having an identity crisis, and we’re coming along for the ride.

Most years, I sit down at year end or even starting in October, which is Celtic New Year, and go back through the calendar to start off my year plan – and there are steps from there. But hey, times are crazy and we don’t know what will happen from one day to the next, so for me to say take steps 1-7 all in a row and everything will be fine. Uhhh. NO.

If you’re wondering how to plan for a year where you have no idea what might happen – I had to do that in 2018. After my son died in 2016, the murder trial was slated to take place in 2018, I knew that everything could change in a heartbeat. I knew that I didn’t know much of anything about how that year would go, except that I couldn’t count on anything except myself, my friends and knowing that anything could change. I had to make a plan for my own stability on all levels, even knowing that plan would most certainly be turned upside down, which it was. It started on my birthday in 2018 and ended up going halfway through 2019. So many shakeups and unpleasant surprises. It was like this pandemic.

Here’s how I planned, what I deemed The Year of Court, and how YOU can plan to make the absolute best out of 2021 and every other year going forward.

Honour your own way of doing things. I was talking with a friend about resolutions and year plans and she was like “What if I don’t want a year plan?!” I told her what I’ll tell you: Then don’t have one – it is totally up to you! I used to teach my clients effective time management, and it’s not like everyone has to be on board with google calendar. I like it. Some people don’t even want a calendar. So I suggested to one of my clients who loved making art with her kids, to involve her kids in her calendaring and to make it a big art project. Your calendar, your rules!

Don’t pressure yourself but do dream BIG! Let those dreams have a physical space to live in, not just your body but maybe a visioning board, or maybe your planner, a journal or your calendar. Our dreams are fuel for creativity, innovation, playfulness, fun and passion, all of which give us energy and help us to truly LIVE.

Go over your last year for “Celebrations and Do-Not-Repeats.” If you don’t have it in a planner or calendar, go back in your mind. What absolutely rocked that you feel is a celebration? What sucked? What was super fun? What brought you joy, sadness, laughter, tears?

What I do from here is really important. Once I have this list, I split it into what I want to repeat if I can, and what I would never ever want to do again. I especially do this for my business, but also my life. Celebrations and “Do-Not-Repeats”. Then if I ever get the idea to repeat a business strategy or something I did in relationship that actually caused pain or damage, do I really want to repeat that again? Of course not! I’m not talking about things beyond your control, like court or a pandemic. I’m talking about your actions, your responses to all the things happening that affected your life or work. For example, I totally will repeat the Picking Up the Pieces 13 Moon Program to help women grow their resilience through healing music, dance, meditation, spiritual teachings and sisterhood… but my seasonal invitations this time around will be short and sweet.

What do you FEEL like doing for this year? What feels good and right for you? What do you feel will bring you joy and get you closer to that big dream?

What planning process should you use? Whatever you want as long as it inspires you. I often use Danielle Leporte’s Desire Mapping process but I kind of do things my own way. I don’t follow other people’s formulas, maybe because I’m an entrepreneur and visionary. I recently took a workshop that took me around the Medicine Wheel for year planning. That was cool too, splitting your goals up into 4 different “directions”: mind, body, spirit and emotions.

I make my own formulas but I also use whatever teachings I’ve received along the journey… and only those teachings that feel aligned with my purpose and who I am.

Learning more about what makes you tick can be fun and also bring up other emotions, so give yourself time, patience and music. Listening to music that inspires you can help the creative juices to flow.

What about those goals that could be cancelled due to the pandemic? This is where backup plans, supports and intentions come in.

Intentions first: WHY do you want what you want? For example, I’m moving in a few weeks after living in the same place for 16 years. I hate moving! You know what’s worse than moving? Living in a place where mould has become a problem, and being stuck on a hamster wheel with my finances. But why will moving bring me joy? THAT is what I want to focus on the most.

Supports: Who are your inner, outer and higher resources? On what levels do you need support to create the outcomes you’re hoping for? I have a therapist ever since my son died, for example. I also have business mentoring and I belong to a few circles where all we do is support each other and learn from each other. When court was going on, I had certain people in my life helping me with prayer and ceremony, I had some people coming to court with me, I had my assistant running most of the business, and I created something in the business to help me get by during the trial. I also created a court schedule out of a google doc a friend had made to help me get through the loss of my son.

Resilience: Creating a support network around you, tapping into all possible resources around and within you, planning for a completely uncertain future… these are all forms of resilience. You’ve just been through one of the most challenging years in our human history. Trust me when I say you have a ton of resilience. You just need to remember to tap into it.

Instead of imagining the perfect year when we all know we are still in a pandemic… what if you imagine a year filled with innovation, creativity, resourcefulness and knowing what to do for yourself in difficult situations?

When my son died, I immediately reached out to my assistant and one close friend because I knew my tendency would be to isolate, and of course I needed someone to take over and cancel all my gigs.

Here’s the perfect 2021 planning question: What do you wish you had had in place for yourself to help you get through 2020? Implement that and you’ll be able to get through almost anything with a lot less stress and a lot more calm. It’s not like 2020 was a total joy that I would want to repeat, but I can tell you I knew how to get through a crazy year like that and like whatever this one will be, because of how I planned for that murder trial.

You got through last year. What will you put in place for yourself, like beautiful little surprises that pop up exactly when you need them?

Here’s a shortlist of what got me through the murder trial AND 2020:

  1. Immediately look for resources and supports.
  2. Ask for help as needed.
  3. Trust your intuition and get to know yourself and your own responses better.
  4. Ground yourself. I don’t care how – just do it.
  5. Set goals and do whatever inspired, aligned actions come your way.
  6. Affirmations and empowering messages. One word I kept repeating to myself kept me from losing it in the courtroom and I still use that word to help me through anxiety attacks or stressful days. What would you want someone to tell you when things go sideways? Write it down and put it somewhere you can easily find it.
  7. Be easy on yourself. Have compassion for yourself, especially now. We’re living in a world we don’t understand. We’re on very unfamiliar ground. Nothing is as it seems and everything is shifting. Knowing that, keep reminding yourself to LIVE, not just strategize for the best year possible but LIVE.

 

Love & Blessings,

 

 

 

Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman

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About Brenda MacIntyre

About Brenda MacIntyre

Known by her indigenous name Medicine Song Woman, Brenda MacIntyre has shared her evocative melodic voice and fusion of reggae, rap and indigenous hand drum healing music with appreciative audiences of 30 to 3,000 across North America. The Toronto-based Juno Award-winning singer has been featured nationally on MuchMusic, CTV, CP24, APTN and most recently, Global and the front page of the Toronto Star.

Powered by her grief from losing her son to murder in 2016, Brenda MacIntyre pours her soulful voice over a confluence of indigenous hand drum healing, soft rap and conscious roots reggae in her album “Picking Up the Pieces,” released in September 2019.

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