Wow. It seems such a long time has past since I last wrote a post. I feel like I want to start the new year with a review of the year just been, a celebration of the journey that was 2014. A reverse horoscope if you will!
I think it's really important to pause to reflect on how far you’ve travelled, and ask questions such as, what worked, what didn’t, what were my blessings, what were my lessons, and where to next?
In a perfect world, I always like to start my new year by setting some powerful intentions. The new year is something I always look forward to, a chance to re-set the compass, refocus, tighten the bow, pull the arrow back and fire. I always think of the Archer at this time too – the firing of the arrow is not necessarily to hunt, but to set a target, a reference point.
However, the beginning of last year was ushered in under a totally different energy, it was a real time of transition, loose footing, things up in the air, uncertainty, stress, and a really nasty auto-immune flare up.
2014. The year of contraction, yin, withdrawal, inner work, mental focus.
I felt like a spinning top whirling my way in to 2014. I literally up-rooted and moved countries, leaving my partner behind. I committed to stepping up the study, moving from part time study to full time – this meant less time Health Coaching clients one on one, and more time knuckling down and moving through those subjects. I moved home to New Zealand to be in a more nurturing environment so that I could turn totally inward and focus my energies on the task at hand.
Last year bought lessons and blessings with my health. The chaotic energy I entered the year with, triggered a bad auto immune flare up (Ulcerative Colitis) that took close to six months to tame.
The lesson: stress trumps everything.
The blessing: the discovery of a few new beautiful herbs, and the re-kindling of my spiritual practice, both of which have nourished my nervous system, and helped me get back to a state of balance. The acknowledgement that I wasn’t ‘letting go’ of old grief.
The second health issue I had to navigate through, was the Interstitial Cystitis – so different to your usual bladder infection. This had been ongoing for 12 months already. Chronic inflammation and pain in the bladder, unrelated to a bacteria infection. I saw specialist after specialist, and, with genuine kindness, advised that I could try long term anti-depressants (which dulled the pain) or find comfort in the fact that within a few years those nerve endings may have burnt themselves out and the pain would cease (what a comforting thought that was!).
The lesson: that being frustrated or ‘pissed off’ at my situation was doing me no good.
The blessing: acknowledging these feelings and releasing them. Discovering an incredibly talented Naturopath, who worked intuitively with me, to tailor herbs specific to my constitution. The result, the complete elimination of that daily pain over the course of 9 months, by using herbs specific for parasites combined with an extremely low sugar diet. Fascinating. And I promise to write more on this in a future post. Yes – parasites were the cause of the pain – Interstitial Cystitis is not known to have a specific cause, medically, and is often referred to as an auto-immune condition. Well, that myth was busted (for me, anyway).
The third health issue I am still working through is chronic stomach pain. I feel like I am coming close to understanding the lesson, and have new herbs to experiment with. Every specialist I have seen has put it in the basket of ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome’ – in short – I don’t think they really know. Well, this is unsatisfactory, and the deeper I go, the closer I’m getting to the root cause. I will report back once I get to the bottom of it all!
I had a long-distance love all year. It was hard, but we came out shining, and more together than ever. He took me on holiday in the middle of the year to Croatia, where both of our families are from. He proposed in Korcula in the middle of the old city square, my Nana’s hometown. The second he dropped to one knee his Babe Factor multiplied 100 fold. I nearly didn’t want to say yes because I wanted him to stay down, just so I could hold the image in my eyes as long as possible! We grinned like two little kids afterward and then ate palachinka together (Croatian crepes). That man is my light, my heart, my teacher, my universe.
We got through the year by speaking on viber, every single night. And, before bed, we would pick a place in the world we wanted to visit, and a method of transport (ie, turtle back, flying carpet, canoe… it gets weirder each time!) and then we would go there in our dreams. Are you dying of cuteness yet? I am.
The blessing: we got this, together we got this. And our theme for this year, togetherness, and teamwork.
A year of blessings in terms of family. My parents have been so nurturing while I turn inward and study. When I leave, I’ll be flying at a whole new flight path, but for now, I’m still very much supported, and have extreme gratitude for that.
2014 was contracted and introverted on all levels. But so necessary. I still had the pleasure of coaching some amazing clients, and launching my little passion project, the Raw Desserts App, but mostly, it was a year of study, and sowing the seeds for future business. I still have two full years to complete, but hopefully will have a heart-centred business offering to share at the end of this year, all going well.
The blessings: space to pursue my dreams and study whole heartedly. The many mentors I have met and worked with this year.
The year I rediscovered my spiritual practice. I have been so fortunate to be able to work with a Master Herbalist and Shaman who have both taught me how to connect with nature on a deeper level. This is something I am devoted to, so that I can use these new insights in my work. I learnt about plant spirit medicine, and I went deeper in meditation.
It was also the year I came face to face with my shadow aspects. I guess that’s what happens when you go inward. It was a really hard year, really testing on lots of different fronts. And the shadow aspects I faced were feelings of stuckness, inadequateness, loneliness, comparison, and frustration at my financial situation, being full time with study again. All pretty small minded stuff really, but I’m glad I got a chance to square it off.
Are you serving me? No. Then get the hell out of my way.
In a nutshell
This was my Year of the Hermit. A total, supported, purposeful, introverted turn inward, intense study and focus, and a year of making foundations to support the future. I am quite surprised I ended up in such a good place when I started with such a lack of clarity!
With all the above in mind, I am now consciously making space for expansion. Yes, there is still study to go. But I’ve been busy behind the scenes with business ideas (of the heart, conscious, sustainable and compassionate type) that are going to start to come into their own in the later half of 2015. I’m ok with being The Hermit, for now, for a little longer. But it’s time to see the sun again soon. I choose opportunity, expansion, fruition, and resolution (for health).
I also see new doors opening into new areas of knowledge for me. As you know, I’m studying Natural Medicine and Nutrition, and no matter how the various colleges present themselves, they are still very much orthodox. It is great that they are raising the standards of education in alternative medicines, but I worry it comes at the expense of the traditional wisdom of it all. Changes across the board have seen restructuring in courses and subjects. Subjects like flower essences and iridology have now been replaced by more research based papers (where I study, at least, although it’s becoming a trend).
I will be supplementing my formal studies with a deep exploration of the traditional practice of Western Herbal Medicine. I’m most interested in the harmony of the science with the spirit, so I will be exploring with great interest the old teachings of astrology and alchemy in relation to Herbalism. A lecture I listened to recently put it beautifully, to study Herbal Medicine, truly, in the Holistic sense, you must take into account all things in life that influence the plants and how they work – the celestial and the elemental influences are just that. I value the science wholeheartedly, and I’m learning so much in my formal studies – it excites me, and I’m all over it like icing on a cake (100% for my last Anatomy and Physiology exam - #megageek) but, there is space for the spiritual to sit along side it, and I believe the strongest offering is one where the two are in harmony.
Finally, in the not so distant future, a new website and offering to you from me. Ascension Kitchen is growing (a community of close to 40,000 now - how did that happen?!) and creating a sanctuary online where you can come to learn about nourishing your body through nature. I have more healthy plant based recipes to share, more divine high-vibrational raw treats, more insights, more soul. I also will be opening the doors to Health Coaching one on one again soon, this is where I can really share my learning’s in recovering from stress and supporting the digestive system.
One of my old favourite sayings has always been,
If you don’t go within, you go without.
Well, last year was a year of going within on absolutely all levels! 2015 – bring it! There’s a whole lot of love, light and expansion to come.
Now, before the new year really kicks into gear, I wonder how your 2014 was?
What were your blessings?
What were your lessons?
What are your goals for the year to come, big or small?
What energy do you want to make space for and bring in?
What is your theme for the year?
I find all of this inner reflection and self awareness so relevant, and so necessary. To me, this is what Holistic Wellness is all about.
Health is so much bigger than the state of your body systems, your organs, your tissues… it’s just as much about the state and harmony of the mind and spirit, and taking time to pause and reflect on how you conduct yourself, the words you think, the feelings you experience, and the journey you are taking. We can then consciously make adjustments and changes as necessary, to bring in new energies, heal and grow.