Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

December 2011 Review: Focus

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


The Best of Always Well Within 2011


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  1. I have just downloaded your e-book. I can easily lose hours following a digital rabbit trail so I’m looking forward to your help. I will use the timer, too. The cymbal when the countdown ends should help me stay on track.

    Congrats on starting a budget. Personally, I don’t think there is any other step you can take that has a more immediate and greater impact on your financial stability. It takes strength to stick with it even when temptation calls!

    My December has been good. I’m finally attracting some advertising and a second e-book is starting to take shape (at least in my mind). I think of you as a friend and fellow traveler and wish for you only the best in 2012. You will prevail.

    • Hi Bob,

      I hope those tips do help you a bit! It’s is like a black hole sometimes. I love the time. The first time, the gong scared me. I had to lower the sound on my computer. I’m sensitive though. I’m sure it’s fine for most people!

      Your financial tips in your first ebook are really helping me. I started tracking months ago, but your tips are helping me get more real about money. You are well grounded.

      I’m glad December has gone well for you. Yes, we are traveling this blogging and life path together, at least for now. I also wish you the best in 2012 and am grateful for all your sage advice.

  2. Well congratulations on your cosmic MBA. Are you planning to get your cosmic PHD? Have a great 2012 Sandra

    • Hi Riley, You never know! I’m afraid this cosmic MBA isn’t coming entirely free of a few struggled. But that’s OK, it’s part of the learning and stretching process. Wishing you the best in the new year.

  3. I love these kind of wrap-up reviews, or as they can also be seen, “reflections”. I think they help us in seeing where we have been, where we are and how we intend to create our future moments.

    As for my December, it was exciting, and included various new creative ventures, mainly doing more video work for others not just for myself, as well as working on an eBook and new site relaunch. And it had some great nature times, relaxation time and stillness….but probably not as much as I would have liked 😉 But what I am super happy about is continuing to fine tune my interactions with the digital world to enjoy my interactions, without having them take over my life. So I know that your book is a very timely and valuable resource for so many out there!

    Thank you for sharing about your experiences Sandra and wishing you everything your heart and soul desire for the new year!

    • Warm greetings dear Evita. I am loving these reviews too. It will be interesting to look back in a year’s time!

      The new look and focus of your site is fabulous. You’ve accomplished so much this month. I congratulate you on your four full years of blogging. I hope number 5 is even more rewarding and fulfilling in all way.

      With all the rain, I haven’t spent as much time being “in” nature, although nature is all around me. I miss some of those moments of wide open spaciousness.

      May all your aspirations come to fruition in the new year! May your words touch many lives!

  4. Hi Sandra, I just found your blog via Tammy Strobel and your December review is offering some very welcome advice about managing my digital life and finances. I downloaded the e-book, thank you! Wishing you a happy and amazing New Year! Kerstin

    • Hi Kerstin,

      So nice to “meet” you! We can travel the path of digital simplicity together! I hope you find something pertinent and helpful to you in the ebook. My very best wishes to you.

  5. Oh, I am so going to read this ebook! Like you, I sense that I have read enough–I need to put things into practice. For example, I need to quit reading about meditation and spend more time meditating! But your ebook is going to give me guidance to make more efficient use of my time so I will have more time to meditate!

    Happy New Year to you! Let’s see what blessings 2012 will bring!

  6. Hi Galen,

    Simplifying my digital life really did give me more time for other good things like more meditation. I love, love, love to read. It’s a good foundation for meditation, but it certainly won’t bring what meditation will in the long run. So I’m with you on the more meditation front! Be well!

  7. This is FABULOUS Sandra, All I can say is that “I love you.” You are unforgettable, wise, inspiring, deep, compassionate, and adventurous. And more. You are a treasure, which I am so glad I found. I wish you so much goodness in the New Year, all the goodness that you give and that you ARE. You are with me each day, inspiring, loving, and life-affirming. Bless you my sweet friend. Love, Robin

    • Robin,

      It’s always such a joy to see your smile and connect with your brilliant energy. Thank you for all that you are and all that you share and express. I love you to. Thanks for your appreciation. May blessings always come your way.

  8. Darling Sandra,
    What an amazing December 2011 review this is full of such deep wisdom. I do love your reviews 🙂
    And what fun that you are decluttering….how is it going? You must share your decluttering lessons here for us all to learn from.
    I am so grateful to you for sharing your wisdom in my new positive living handbook! There is a certain light in that book now, cause so many of my soul sisters have shared their gorgeous energy in it.
    May 2012 bring us all Immense Happiness in all fields nad dimensions. I would love to know what you learned in your NVC course.
    With Lots of love always~

    • Hi Z,

      The decluttering is going slowly, but it is going! I love that I have some empty space now and look forward to having more. I’ll never be able to fit everything into one backpack, but I see even more simplicity coming into my life.

      That is a beautiful handbook! I love the addition stories you shared there from your soul sisters. Very uplifting.

      Wishing you the best and brightest 2012!

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