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I’ve dedicated this year to uncovering myself.
Not literally, of course, but spiritually.
Why do I call it an “uncovering” versus a “change”?
Because I think I’ve done about all the changing I’ve needed to at this point. You see, up until just recently I’d been living strictly for the approval of others, only ever seeing myself through their gaze.
I’ve changed, I’ve adjusted, I’ve tweaked myself, I’ve made myself into a better person to accommodate everyone around me. Was this change commendable, important, necessary? Absolutely, yes. I was a real damn nightmare to be around for a long time.
But that change also had a price – I had adjusted so much, I didn’t know who I was underneath. I have never really met my true best self, the one that was always there but covered by layers of life and expectations.
So this year, I’ve decided to unveil my true self without all that.
Now that’s not exactly an easy task, I’m not just going to whip off a cape or do a Sailor Moon transformation and suddenly be my best self. It’s going to take time, focus, and hard work.
Which is exactly why I’ve formulated my goals this year to give structure to my journey.
Check them out below!
Theme 1. Rethink Self-Care to Foster Spiritual Healing
In the past, my definition of self care was a bit skewed. I often used exercise and diet as an all or nothing challenge at best and a punishment at worst.
This year, I want to take control and redefine what self care means. I want to enjoy exercise without over doing it, I want to care for myself because it feels good not because I think I have to look a certain way.
Basically, I’m doing this because I want to create a loving foundation for the spiritual growth I’m likely to encounter in the coming months.
- Prioritize running as a way to control mood swings and connect deeply with myself instead of a way to lose weight or challenge myself.
- Find at least 5 fun new ways to get moving such as yoga, dancing with my husband, running on the beach, etc.
- Create and maintain fun and soothing skin and hair rituals weekly (hair wash day is my favorite self care day).
- Buy clothes that fit my current body type versus clothes I’m trying to fit into “one day.”
- Take days off of work to do nothing but write and draw.
- Make quality sleep a major priority.
- Eat a balanced diet of carbs, proteins, greens, and fruits (preferably some that come from our garden) while making room for indulgences.
Theme 2. Encourage my Creative Process without Feeling Guilty
If I’ve learned anything in this past year it’s that I’m happiest when I’m creating something. Whether it’s traditional art, writing, comic art or digital design, I feel renewed when I make and share something I think is cool.
In the past, it’s been so easy for me to tamp down the idea that I’m an artist because I didn’t think being creative would serve me. I’ve lost a lot of time trying to be the “regular” Maria I thought others would like instead of creative Maria with all of her “flaws.”
So this year, I’m focusing on encouraging that creative process in a variety of ways:
- Draw, draw, draw – draw on everything to stay in practice. Who cares if it’s weird?
- Start thinking of myself as a creative, develop my own style and creative identity.
- Focus on making and sharing things online, even if I think they’re “imperfect.”
- Make choices that benefit my creative process and preserve my energy (i.e. not overworking my day job, day dreaming more).
- Work towards embracing the idea that creative projects are a productive use of my time instead of pointless self-indulgence.
- Make contacts with other artists – collaborate and learn from other creatives. Start trading art with friends.
Theme 3. Create Financial Inertia by Working Smarter not Harder
I’ll just come out and say it – I’m a work-a-holic. It’s my drug. I get toxically attached to the feeling of being important to my job as well as the rush of making money hand over fist.
Don’t get me wrong – working so hard was a great coping mechanism when I was on my own just trying to survive. I really do believe my work ethic is the one thing that kept me some what sane through all the troubled times.
But now that I’m married and in a good place mentally and financially – I can see this behavior isn’t serving me anymore. So here’s some of the ways I’m going to challenge overwork in the new year:
- Be mindful of the amount of shifts I pick up/work in a week. Set a limit.
- Say “No” more than I say “Yes.”
- Only take shifts that are likely to make me money, less evening shifts.
- Think of how my family would be affected before making work decisions- make decisions slowly and wisely.
- Continue to exercise great saving practices and being frugal so if I need to take some time off work, I can do so without feeling guilty.
- Work on building our emergency savings as well as pay off debts steadily to maximize our income.
- Look towards finding freelance design/art jobs that I enjoy.
- Make smart, well researched investment moves to make our income work for us.
- Continue tracking profit and loss via spreadsheet.
Theme 4. Seek a Variety of Spiritual and Mental Healing Opportunities
This year is all about getting to know the person I seem to know the least about: me.
The real me that is.
You see, I’ve spent 90% of my life in survival mode, reliant on behaviors developed specifically to survive trauma. Now that I’m in a safe, stable place (finally) it’s time to figure out what how to who I really am underneath all those behaviors.
But to get there, I still have a lot more healing work to do in order to be ready to receive this new life, this new me. So here’s a few of the goals I’ll be working towards to get me to that point. Some of them may seem a bit odd, but bear with me here:
- Practice trusting that close friends and chosen family have good intentions.
- Putting myself in situations that flex my ability to handle uncertainty (i.e. sitting with my triggers and learning from them versus avoidance behaviors).
- Work towards being able to submit using “Power Play” in the bedroom. Weird as it may be to some, practicing submission works wonders for me. It’s incredibly difficult for me to give up control in any situation so putting myself so completely into someone else’s hands during a highly charged yet ultimately safe interaction is pretty cathartic for me. It helps me learn to let go of what I can’t control and builds a deep level of trust with my partner.
- Seek out new teachers, books, adventures and experiences that bring me face to face with some of my most difficult emotions.
So there you have it – my personal guide for the year 2020.
Let’s see what this year has in store!
Let me know how you plan to take on this new year in the comments below.
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