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2022 Reflections: A Year in Review

As this year comes to an end, I'd like to celebrate - not just what I've done with Free Flow Botanicals & my teaching / coaching business, but also the lessons I'm continuing to learn and work through.

Proud moments of 2022

women healing event self love growth compassion community class teaching collective Banyan Tree Women

However, 2022 was not an easy year. 

Navigating a very difficult year

2022 has been one of the most difficult years of my life.

And yet, I look back on it with immense gratitude because it paved the way for tremendous growth and healing.

2022 gave me a chance to sit in the darkness, to face my shadows - long standing ancestral trauma and deep childhood wounds - head on, and to shine a light on the parts of me that still needed to heal

To give my inner child / myself what she needed most but never received - to feel loved, seen, heard, and free to be her authentic self

And most importantly, 2022 presented an opportunity for me to reclaim my power and step back into the light - stronger, wiser, more resilient, loving, and compassionate than ever before

meditation healing growth childhood trauma survivor

Top 3 insights of the year

1) INSIGHT #1: You gotta feel it to heal it

A great spiritual teacher and author, Michael Singer, writes in his latest book “Living Untethered,” that many of us want a nice, clean home.  

So we go out and buy pretty flowers, beautiful furniture, and spend lots of time and energy decorating it – all to make our home environment as pleasant and comfortable as possible. 

But we’ve forgotten one important detail. That inside our home, there’s dust & debris we’ve yet to wipe down and garbage that we haven’t taken out.

So the question isn’t so much “how do I make my home nice?”, but rather “why isn't my home nice?” 

For the analogy lovers: the home in which we live is analogous to our inner environment, our body so to speak. 

We generally wish to live a peaceful, joyous life yet our energy isn’t spent on clearing away the debris and garbage.

Why?

Because doing this inner work is difficult. It’s unpleasant and painful. It stirs up feelings of fear, discomfort, grief, and sadness

So we avoid the pain at all costs and turn to coping in whatever way feels good – shopping, binge eating, substances, gambling, dissociating, etc.

If this resonates with you, my dear, are definitely not alone.

I’ve been there.

I’ve spent most of my life avoiding the garbage and debris, until finally realizing (not without plenty of internal resistance) that I needed to FEEL all the pain and stuck emotions until they eventually moved through my body. 

Since I started my healing journey ten years ago, I received this reminder once more:

You need to feel it to heal it. 

Now, you might be thinking “ten years?! that’s such a long time!”

And here comes the beautiful reminder that the process of healing is not linear, it’s actually a spiral

As you move down the spiral you return to the same spots (ie lessons) with a deeper level of awareness and understanding that continually feeds into your growth and evolution. 

This year, I've tapped into amazing support tools: 

  • Started EMDR with my therapist
  • Returned to journeying with sacred plant medicines
  • Deepened my meditation practice
  • Joined two beautiful communities

2) INSIGHT #2: Remain in a high vibrational state

For me, to remain in a high vibrational state is to focus on the things that bring me joy while continuing to do the inner work.

These aren’t mutually exclusive but rather go hand in hand. In other words, I’m clearing out the garbage and debris, while also bringing home beautiful flowers and decorations. 

What has brought me immense joy this year?

Practicing radical self-love - caring for myself and committing to healthy habits around diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. 

Doing things that light me up - spending quality time with people I love, building community & connection, tending to my skin through daily rituals, learning from &  working with medicinal plants, cooking nourishing meals, baking cookies, dancing, snowboarding, hiking, reading, traveling, teaching classes, and holding space for my clients & bearing witness to their incredible transformational journeys.

Radical self-love also means valuing myself enough to set boundaries to preserve my health & well-being.

Being willing to walk away from toxic situations & people –  limiting or cutting off contact altogether – to allow the space necessary for healing to occur. 

And, forgiving others for their actions & behaviors while sending them love & compassion from afar.

Also appreciating that those who inflict the greatest pain upon us happen to be our greatest teachers.

3) INSIGHT #3: Surrender in order to relax and receive.

This last insight aligns so beautifully with the two previous ones.

Surrender and relax into it all. Believe in yourself. Trust your journey and the timing of how it all unfolds.

When fears and doubt start to creep in (they will!), welcome and observe them with compassion and curiosity

These fears and doubts are often accompanied by endless mind chatter and/or unpleasant physical sensations (e.g. tight chest, tense muscles, shallow breaths, increased heart rate)

This is completely normal and expected  – your ego is terrified of change & growth 

But please remember that you were brought onto this Earth to serve a purpose, one unique to you and only you, and that is to heal, learn, grow, and glow...

So you can inspire others to do the same.

May your light glow so brightly that it illuminates the path for others on their own journey

clinical herbalist healing growth transformation light empowerment women

As Yung Pueblo writes: "let your growth and healing attract emotionally mature people and good situations. When you change from within, your outer world gets brighter."

Why I'm choosing to surrender

Looking back, I clearly see that "surrender" is the beautiful thread that weaves these insights together. 

  • Surrendering to pain: feeling deeply into pain, grief, sadness, etc so they can become unstuck and released
  • Surrendering to love: doing things that bring great joy while honoring yourself by setting healthy boundaries
  • Surrendering to life: allowing life to unfold as it’s meant to while trusting in the process, and most importantly, in yourself

Heading into the new year, surrender is the theme I wish to embody in my personal life and as well as my business & practice.

In 2023, what word / theme do you wish to embody and why?  Comment below!

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