Wild! Wet! Unrelenting rain!

The perfect ambiance for turning inwardly and focusing.

New writing projects were the primary focus this month.  Surprises, to be revealed in the new year!

I’ve discovered my best friend for both focus and writing is  Tick-tock Timer.  I’ve been actively using this free online timer.  What a useful tool!

Saving Money

Money was another main target this month:  tracking and limiting expenses.  I can raise millions of dollars for good causes, but I’m like a kindergartner when it comes to tracking my own money, which I need to do because it is limited. I began in September and have diligently continued for an entire three months (insert pat on back here).

It’s a simple two step process.  I stuff all receipts into my wallet.  Then I unload them onto an Excel worksheet.  After tracking my expenses for three months, I created a monthly budget.  I’ll continue tracking my expenses while working toward my next goal:  staying within my budget.  At the same time, I need to focus on earning more money.

I’m following Leo Babauta’s Single-Changing Method.

According to my astrology, I’m in the midst of getting a cosmic MBA and it’s going to last for a number of months.  I’ll happily share whatever tips and tricks I learn.

Saving and Actualizing the Insights

I’ve been pouring through my journals, notes from hypnotherapy and a clarity session, and guidance from selected reading.  I’ve also been gifted with a treasury of insight and wisdom from my dearest of friends.  Tons of unconscious material has bubbled up in this year.  So I have pages and pages, which my hypnotherapist humorously coined, “the Cliff Notes on Sandra”.

But more than just  capturing these life lessons in writing, I’m asking myself, “How do I consolidate and actualize these insights?”

It’s clear:  I don’t need more information.  I need to consolidate all this richness into a set of guiding principles for the coming year.  And integrate the knowledge into my being and action.  Instead of looking for more medicine, I want to focus on the one medicine that cures all.  This refining process will continue into January as it is not complete.

As Zeenat suggested, I’ve also been gradually cleaning up and clearing clutter to bring more balance and harmony into my living and working space.  It feels good.

Everyone’s Needs Are Important

My 7-week Non-Violent Communication class ended a few weeks ago.  NVC is an amazing communication tool.  But it clearly takes diligence and commitment to learn and practice it.

The most important  takeaway from this NVC training is making a commitment to holding everyone’s needs as equally important.  This is a significant shift in almost anyone’s perspective.  Instead of thinking first and foremost about my needs, it means making an effort to understand other people’s needs as well.

It’s not always possible to meet everyone’s needs.  But chances are we can meet more needs – ours and others – simply by paying attention and making the commitment.

Caught Reading Again

This month I devoured The Power of An Open Question: the Buddha’s Path to Freedom by Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel.  Excellent!  It’s a highly accessible, down-to-earth guide to living in the moment and understanding the true meaning of emptiness, without actually using the word.

One Moment Unfolding Into the Next

2011 has been a challenging year.  There’s a part of me that wants to close the door and never look back.  I realize that’s a knee-jerk reaction.

The whole idea of a year is an arbitrary one anyway.  It’s not really over, it’s really just one moment unfolding into the next.  Still, it’s time to close one chapter of my life and move on to another.  Writing it out is like this, in one sense, is like putting a period at the end of a sentence.

UPCOMING in January

I’ll be in activity mode again:  instructing two online courses, writing, and seeking freelance work.  The challenge will be to find space between the activity and to bring space into the activity!  I look forward to the challenge.

How was your December?  How do you feel about moving into the new year?

This is part of my monthly review series.  If you liked this article, please consider sharing the link on your social networks.  And, I would love to connect with you on Google+ or the Always Well Within Facebook Page   With love, Sandra

Image:  Mom the Barbarian