There seems to be this collective feeling to say ‘SEE YA’ to 2016 and not look back. Based on everyone’s social media posts, comments and reflections – it seems like the past year was one that caused a lot of pain for many people.

I was with a group of friends the other day who were all sitting around trashing 2016 and speaking excitedly of the year to come.
When I said I was looking forward to 2017 as well, the immediate responses were:
“but you got married!”
“what about your honeymoon!”
“but you get to work from anywhere!”

… and so on.

and my reply was this;
“It was in many ways the best and in every way the most beautiful. But it was also one of the hardest.” 
We then ran through a laundry list of all the actual mind blowing and crazy turns this year took for me personally and professionally, as well as all of the beautiful blessings. I think everyone needed to take a sip of wine, a huge deep breath or a nap after the review. I still do!

This year brought me my marriage and a love and commitment like I never knew could exist. It brought me three new sisters and two amazing new parents and so much new family. A family full of new culture that really knows how to celebrate (God love the Italians!). It also brought my own family together in a beautiful way that I hadn’t felt that since I was a child. It brought me to 5 countries and way over a dozen cities and on 24 plane rides. It brought me new business and clients and a direction that I love and can’t wait to dive into in 2017.
….and that’s what you get to see on Instagram.
So of course ‘2016 wasn’t hard for me’.

The truth is this year brought me to my knees more times than I can count.
It brought so many twists and unexpected turns. For an A-type personality bride who had been planning not just a wedding day, but an entire year of business and travel and life – these twists were not welcome surprises!
Let’s just say the lessons in loss, trust in business, betrayal, new directions, old wounds, family, friends and simply showing me who I can actually count on; were some of the most painful I’ve ever experienced.

But, the thing I’ve learned to trust so deeply in is that is life and it will always be okay.
Life is an ebb and flow of beauty and pain and the darkest lows can be followed by the highest highs. Trusting that the pain will pass and the light just keeps getting more beautiful on the other side, is the place I’ve learned to ground myself in.
I’m not saying it’s easy. But on those dark days learning to surrender to the pain and asking your inner voice “what am I meant to learn from this?” is always the answer. Feeling the pain, learning from it and trusting that the light is on the way is actually pretty beautiful when you learn to work with and grow from it.

So many of us have spent our whole lives running from the pain and darkness with addiction, food, booze, drugs, sex, co-dependency, social lives, electronics, shopping; the list goes on. But learning to sit in the darkness, reflect on what it’s here to teach you and allow it to pass not only helps it to pass more quickly, it also makes you a stronger person.
Plus, when you learn a lesson, it’s no longer a source of pain so it leaves you alone. When you keep ignoring it, it keeps showing up in different versions to teach you what you’re meant to learn.

For example, have you ever known someone with the same issues with their boss at every job they go to? Or no matter how many financial opportunities find them, they are still broke? Or they keep running from relationships? Or friends keep on running from them? It’s like the same old story with new characters each year.
Maybe that’s even you in some way.

That’s running. That’s avoiding. That fleeing the darkness.
But the darkness knows your next move and won’t let up until you learn the next lesson. And when you numb the pain of your life lessons with all of the vices I listed above – you numb out all the happiness, too. You numb the joy and the light. Because you can’t run from the darkness into the light. You need to sit in the darkness to feel and learn – and then the light shines bright.

That is what 2016 taught me.
In some areas, I know I still need to sit and feel. But in so many though, I felt the pain and learned the hard lessons. And because of that, I feel lighter and my life is at the next beautiful stage that it’s meant to be at. One I couldn’t have reached if I shut out the pain and ignored my lessons. And so far in life, every new stage has been my favourite yet. That makes the work worth it.

When you think bride and honeymoon and all the beautiful events that go with that, you also think my 2016 must have been perfect.
Now you know the truth, in between each beautiful picture perfect moment and event, I was sitting in my pain doing the work to heal.
So like I said, it was the best and most beautiful year of my life, but also the hardest.

2016 was a year of transformation for so many. Change is really hard for people. Especially when we aren’t expecting it.
To welcome 2017 I’m doing this exercise to help me face my pain and learn the lessons (where I am ready), and I offer you up the tools to do the same.

Leaving the pain behind in 2016

1. Make a list of all the reasons you have negative feelings towards 2016. The personal pain and things that directly effect you. List anything from breakups, to losing jobs, to fights with friends, feeling betrayed, etc.
Things that when you think about them, there is pain.

2. Below the listed reasons, write out lessons that pain might be here to teach you. Don’t overthink it, let the pen (your inner guide) do the talking.

3. Don’t get mad or defensive with what comes up. Just sit with it.
The lessons that you’ve mostly learned and that are ready to leave you will come with ease. Those that are still ‘sticky’ might feel more triggering, but you will be creating some space for the learning and light to come.

4. Ask yourself if there are any actions you can take to start facing these lessons.
Be more brave in your career? Face your bills? Let go of a relationship that’s no longer serving you?
Again, don’t force it. Just listen and take the action your inner guidance leads you to.

 

Sounds so simple. But looking at your pain and what it’s here to teach you is such a beautiful way to live.
Once you’ve left a lesson behind, life automatically ‘ups you to the next level’. You hit the next chapter of life. Full of new excitement, new opportunity and new beauty. Often things you least expect. Things that you aren’t trying to control and plan to make happen. Things that wouldn’t have been available to you if you didn’t feel the pain and learn the lessons that were keeping you stuck perviously. That’s my favourite part. Makes the hard work to feel and learn, so worth it.

Note: After this exercise leave on a high note by writing down some personal dreams and goals for 2017. Focus on the light as that’s what you want to welcome more of. You can do categories to help prompt you such as professional, habits and hobbies, finance, relationships, friendships, family, health, physical activity, travel, etc.
As always, don’t obsess over the outcome. Set the intentions, do the work, and leave the result up to the universe.

Happiest 2017 to you my loves. May it be filled with all the beauty and wonderful times full of your hearts desires, regardless of the lessons that come along with them!