Always Well Within

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Capture Your 2010 Life Lessons

Life Lessons from 2010The idea of choosing One Powerful Word for the New Year sparked tremendous interest.

The perfect word seemed to pop into place for many of you.  Others are letting the idea germinate, allowing the right word to emerge in its own time.

With all this enthusiasm, it might be easy to forget to close the outgoing year in a meaningful way.

To get the most from 2010, take some time  to recall and consolidate the most important insights and lessons from the year.

As we all know, insights are fabulous in the moment.  Yet they are all too fleeting.  Even the most profound insights will be of little use, unless you capture them and keep them alive in your heart.

How to Capture Your 2010 Life Lessons

Here are two excellent ways to capture the lessons and highlights from the outgoing year.

1. In her article Word of the Year, Galen Pearl shares her ritual of writing a letter to the old year, reflecting on what she’s learning and experienced.  At the end, she thanks the year. She also shares how she selects her special word for the coming year.

2. Reverb 10 is:

“…an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.”

Here’s the Reverb 10 prompt for December 15 – “5 Minutes” – which connects beautifully to today’s reflective exercise:

“Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.”

Reflection:  Capture Your 2010 Life Lessons

As you might guess, this week’s reflection is all about reflecting upon your 2010 life lessons and capturing them in a memorable way.

You could use either of the methods described above.  Or, you can create your own method.

You could write a letter to the old year like Galen, record your reflections in your journal, or write a blog post that expresses your journey through the year.  For the artistically inclined, you might create a collage, paint a picture, or assemble a collection of memorable photos.

Whatever method you chose, I hope it will be a meaningful process for you.  Letting go of the past is a terrific way to springboard into the future.

I had many lessons in 2010. The two that standout for me are committing to positivity, and understanding and taking responsibility for my stress response.

Please share a highlight or lesson from 2010 with us!

Not sure what One Powerful Word is?

Read the post One Powerful Word:  A Simple Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions.  Then check back on January 5th, when my 2011 word will be revealed!

Photo Credit: e_walk

Thanks for reading. If you like this article, please share the link with others.  Thanks so much!  Sandra


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  1. Hi Sandra .. I love the thought of writing a letter to the old year – reflecting on lessons learnt. Your words I am thinking on .. having a quiet time now – and will gather my thoughts and wits ready for the New Year.

    Blessings and peace to you and yours – family and readers .. Hilary

    • Hi Hilary,

      I too was very inspired by Galen’s idea. I love the simplicity of it and the sense of closure it can bring. I hope your quiet time will be fruitful. Thank you for your kind blessings. I also wish you deep peace this holiday season and into the New Year.

  2. Edith

    I love the idea of choosing one word to signify my goals and intentions for the upcoming year! The difficulties (challenge??) will be focusing on one alone……….which sort of sums up the problem I have when faced with choices…mmmmm……!!!
    Hope you and Bernie have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Hi Edith,

      It’s OK to choose two words! Or even a whole phrase! Choose what works for you. Thanks for your good wishes, Edith. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season too.

  3. Man, I found it. This is going to be my favourite blog reading for the whole next year. Thanks.

    • Hi Jaky,
      Thanks so much for your enthusiasm! I love the upbeat spirit of your blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  4. I really like Galen’s idea of writing a letter to the old year and thanking it for all its blessings. I’m going to do that this December 31st.

    My word for next year: continue. I want to continue the new energy and interest I have found in blogging. I want to continue taking long driving trips with my wife. I want to continue to simplify by getting rid of cable TV. And, finally, I’d like to continue just being. I have way too much to accomplish to not be around at this time next year!

  5. Hi Bob,

    Galen’s blog post really sparked me too. I’m so happy to be able to share the link and idea with others.
    Continue! Very nice. May you continue to continue throughout the next year in all the ways that hold meaning for you. I appreciate our connection and always enjoy your comments. Thank you.

  6. Sandra, I loved your articles on this subject and the responses too! My wife and I use the “Christmas Letter” form to share what we’ve learned the past year with those we are closest to. Because the thing we like to do best this time of year is sing, my word is HARMONY. You can’t maintain it for much longer than it takes to breathe in and put a song into the air, but it’s something to keep aspiring to with every rehearsal, every encounter, and in each moment of clarity you experience.

  7. Hi Mike,

    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed these articles. It’s be wonderful to see how they light people up. I’ve really enjoyed the responses too. Thanks for sharing your twist on the “Christmas letter” form – including those close to you.

    It’s so interesting that you bring up singing because it’s something I never do, but it’s been popping up into my world of late. Harmony is a beautiful word and it has so much significance. I’m very happy for the joy you experience singing!

  8. Sandra,

    These are both really awesome ideas!! I was trying to think of how to best “close out this year” and prepare for the new one, and your last two posts have shown me how to do that perfectly! I’ve started mentally preparing myself to “simplify” in the upcoming year, but I haven’t quite put my thoughts together on how to capture the best of this year. I’ve learned and grown so much and I definitely want to be able to hold onto that.

    I think I might actually try out both of these exercises. The “5 minute” one to bring the highlights of the year to the forefront of my mind, then I think I’ll find a quiet place to take an hour or so and really reflect on the past year. I love the idea of actually writing a letter to the “old year.” I think this could be a fun tradition to start…and will give me a collection of letters and life lessons to look back on someday. Something like this could even be used to write a memoir! Thanks, Sandra!

    ~Much love, Adrienne~

    • Adrienne,

      It makes me happy to hear how these posts have resonated so deeply with you. What a terrific way to work with these two exercises ~ to use the 5-minute one as a warm up and the letter as a way to go deeply into your insights. The idea of gradually creating a collection of letters and life lessons is also awesome. Thanks for expanding so beautifully on the ideas in this post.

  9. I love this quote( “Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.”) but just imagine if it said. ( “Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture all the things you want to achieve.”) Great post Sandra…I’m doing my best to keep up with your blog post..Ahhh, your so good.

  10. Hi Jonathan,

    That’s a great twist on the 5-minute exercise! What a great way to focus your goals without getting embroiled with too much thinking and after-thought. I really appreciate your sweet words! I know what you mean, it’s hard to keep up with all the great blogs out there – yours being one of them for sure.

    • Awe your too kind…=). Not if you make it first…lol.. Whats your plans for the holiday season? Any big shindig?

      • No big shindigs for me this holiday season. We went to a solstice potluck last night. Christmas will just be a quiet time with my husband.

  11. Sandra,
    As I believe I mentioned when you wrote about a “word of the year”, I have done this for the last couple of years. This all started for me, because of another wonderful person I know – Christine Kane. During the month of December, Christine invites others to reflect back, and share their words on her site. I did this last year, and found it to be so valuable for me to look back and really see how the word I chose had become a deeper part of me.

    While I don’t think I’ll get something written publicly for Christine’s site this year, it is something I will most definitely be doing at least just for myself. And that IS because of exactly as you’ve said here – about the lessons we can take by looking back and seeing how we have lived our lives over the last twelve months.

    Great, great stuff – all of this!!

    • Hi Lance,
      Yes, you did! I loved reading about your word for 2010 – SPLASH! It was so creative. It’s good to hear how meaningful it has been for you.

      I had never heard of Christine Kane before. I’m am seriously out of it when it comes to musics. At the moment, Christine is having a series of guest posts focused on the word that each person chose for 2010. I’ll include the link here in case anyone wants to check it out for added inspiration.

      I can’t wait to hear about your 2011 word! Thanks for sharing Christine’s inspiration with us.

  12. galenpearl

    Well, imagine my delight and surprise when I checked your blog today (part of my regular routine), and found the reference to my New Year’s Eve ritual of thanking the old year, welcoming the new year, and choosing my word of the year. Thank you!

    You and I must have some sort of cyber mind meld (a Star Trek term for those benighted souls out there), because I just posted something about how to finish the year. It’s about how many of us are looking back at this year with regret for what we didn’t do, or looking ahead with plans for what we are going to do next year. In either case, we are not being mindful of how “to close the outgoing year in a meaningful way,” as you wrote. I hope that in the time we have left in this year, we can choose to finish well. (The post is titled Finish Well in case you want to read it.)

    For example, we have plenty of time to brighten someone’s day, as you brightened mine today! So, following your lead, I’m going to think of a nice surprise for someone right now. What fun.

    Thank you so much for including my idea in the the context of your always inspiring wisdom, and thanks also to the commenters for the lovely feedback and for some additional great ideas.

    • Hi Galen,

      I couldn’t resist talking about your end of the year ritual – it inspired me so much. I’m so happy to have surprised you in this pleasant way today!

      The point you raise is an important one. Whatever our year has been like, we can still finish it well by how we are in each moment that remains in 2010. I will definitely hop on over and read your post. I too am touched by all the meaningful responses.

      Thank you so much for inspiring this post and being a part of my mini-blogosphere.

  13. Very thought provoking … I will be mentally distilling my 2010 life lessons for the rest of the evening. I needed this prodding. Thank you.


  14. RichHartford

    Hello Sandra,

    I liked the idea of choosing one word for your goals and objectives next year.This provides you the motivation;it gives you a sense of who you are;it helps you create your sense of identity; and it allows you to realize the mistakes in the actions that you take. In short, that one word that you use gives you a reference on how you live your life.


  15. Hi Rich,

    You’ve beautifully encapsulated the whole purpose of choosing one word. It can be very powerful that’s for sure. Thanks for giving us the essence in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  16. Sandra,
    What a fantastic idea! I hadn’t heard of this before. You always give me such inspiration Sandra. Thanks!


  17. Dandy,

    So happy you feel inspired. I hope your inspiration fills your week with joy!

  18. Hi Sandra,
    My goal for this year was to write 100 guest posts. LOL My friend Evita suggested I only write guest posts when I felt happy or joyful. I took her advice. I don’t know how many I wrote…maybe 25. I have no regrets. I’m doing just fine. Blogging isn’t my life, it’s only a part of it. That’s what I learned this year. Happy New Year!

  19. Hi Tess,

    You have written some amazing guest posts this year. They really shine. There must really be something to Evita’s advice. 25 is a huge accomplishment. I’ve written 3!

    Thanks for sharing your 2010 lesson. I think more and more people are coming to the same place and putting blogging into perspective as just one part of their lives. Hearing this from you is so reinforcing. It’s been one of my lessons of the year too.

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