I love looking at my previous end-of-the-year blogs to see how my life and business have changed each year. If you're curious, take a look back at my 2010 and 2011, to see what happened in my life to get me to where I am now.
For me, 2012 was a year of adventure, but also a year of personal transformations.Here's a short list of what this year was like for me:
- Traveled around the world visiting 10 different countries: Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, England, Spain, Germany, Greece, and Australia
- Lived and worked overseas for 8 months with only a carry-on suitcase and backpack
- Learned new meditation techniques at an Amma Retreat and how to center myself in nature using a Shamanic Walk
- Hosted three free online webinars with PhotoLovecat.com
- Coached eight new and established photographers
- Gained another new on-call corporate client with regular contract work
- Freed up more weekends by doing more immediate turn-around work during weekdays
- Lost 45 lbs.
- Cooked more meals at home
- Walked and used public transportation more than any year before
My biggest transformation came from the practice of living simply and learning how to calm my inner anxieties.Living out of a carry-on suitcase and backpack for 8 months was a huge practice in simplicity. I couldn't really acquire anything more than digital photos and very small mementos because there was no room to carry anything more. In this practice of living simply, I lost my desire to acquire anything new unless I really needed it, or needed to replace something which could no longer be used. It was a constant reminder of the physical burdens and impermanence of material things.
As for the inner anxieties- I had never considered myself an anxious person, but last year brought on anxieties I hadn't realized I had. I've always felt a great deal of control over my life, my outcomes, my future goals, etc. However, traveling for 8 months and knowing very little about where I'll live the next day, how I'll get there, what I'll need, and what I'll do with my time made me face a lot of anxieties head on. With so many unknowns facing me, I really had to learn how to let go of any expectations I might have, let go of trying to control it all, be comfortable not having all the answers I wanted or needed, and trust that my husband and I would find a way to make it work together. In some ways it was like a constant trust fall exercise. There is always more comfort in knowing what to expect and knowing that you'll have certain resources to rely on, so learning to be calm and comfortable with not knowing and not having things is a whole different level of internal calm and trust in the universe. Learning how to meditate to calm my mind helped a LOT. Having a warm patch of soft grass to lay in occasionally was also helpful.
After traveling the world, it's not the amazing scenery, different foods, or interesting cultural differences I remember the most- it's that we share so much in common with one another. We have common fears and common anxieties, even when we live in countries with vastly different governments and rules. We all want to feel safe, loved, and peaceful with one another. The easiest way to achieve this, is to begin within our own hearts. To find safety in our ability to survive in the face of insecurity, to feel loved and cared for by looking after our own body and soul, and to have a peaceful mind and heart that embraces whatever comes with grace and gratitude.
If you'd like to see all of the random and weird personal Instagram photos I snapped during my travels, head to my Flickr gallery, where you can start at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and travel backwards through my adventures.