For me, 2017 just seemed to melt into 2016 and continue the same themes and lessons until I learnt them (yes, universe i’m listening now). Anyone who knows me well knows that i’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason and I do believe that the major curve balls thrown my way over the last two years have put me on the right path to come back to my true self.
I’ve learnt some major lessons in 2016/17, here’s my top 6.
- Loss is inevitable.
In 2016 I had my first huge loss in my life when my Nonna suddenly passed away. I’ve lost a friend before, however never someone i’ve loved and admired for my entire life. It was tough, really tough. Following that in May we lost another close family member, and then a few weeks ago now my Nonno. Obviously i’m gutted to no longer have my Nonna and Nonno in my life, but more than that I am so grateful to have had such (and still have two more!) strong, hardworking, loyal, and loving grandparents.
Not too long before my Nonna passed away she said to me that she believed this life is only a practice for the next. I’m sure they both passed the practice with flying colours so i’m so comforted in knowing they are not only reunited with each other, but with their parents, siblings, and other loved ones.
Losing both my Nonna & Nonno has changed a lot of things in my life, but mostly has made me feel so #blessed (yes, wanky I know) that I’ve had such a diverse upbringing. Fun fact about me- did you know I spoke Italian before I went to school? yep. But most of all, I’m so appreciative of what my Nonna and Nonno had to do for us to have the life we have now. They each left their country on a boat, left their friends, family, parents, community, and moved to a country where they couldn’t even speak the language. They both lived through WW2, where my Nonno literally had shrapnel wounds that stayed with him forever, and my Nonna lived for years thinking her father had died at war until he walked thousands of kilometres home after being a prisoner of war. They lived through their villages being invaded, their families torn apart, and immigrating to a foreign country. At both of their funerals it was so humbling to see the amount of lives they both touched, two kind-hearted, hardworking people who appreciated the simple things in life and did absolutely everything to better the lives of their families. I’ll forever tell their stories.
2. Fill your own cup first.
I’ve done sooooo much reading, listening to podcasts, googling in 2017 on self development and one major thing i’ve taken away to really work on is ‘filling you own cup before you can fill others’. Your cup is your everything, your energy. If that sounds a little ‘woo-woo’ and far fetched to you, another good analogy i’ve heard is the oxygen masks on an airplane “fit your own oxygen mask first so you can be the best possible help to others”. So basically, do things that fill you up, feel true to you, that make you feel good, that relax you, that YOU like to do so that you can ‘fill you own cup’ and be full of love, happiness, health, and from there you can really be happy, in love, and have healthy relationships with others around you.
I’ve done a terrible job at explaining this- google it and i’m sure you’ll find a better explanation.
Anyway, when my Nonna passed away I was at a time in my life where my (metaphorical) ‘cup’ was pretty empty. I was burning the candle at both ends and because of that, it made it much harder for me to bounce back. My cup was already empty, and then it took another massive blow to being less than empty, I had no buffer so I took the hit really hard and struggled for months to feel like myself again.
So i’ve worked really hard on myself to know what really lights me up and helps me get back to me, or that I can use for a quick ‘top up’ when I need to. These could be anything for you, my top few things are- going to the beach, feeling the sand in my toes, hearing the ocean. I can literally drive and SEE the water and instantly feel better- one thing I think i’ve got from my Nonno who absolutely loved sitting by the water and just being. I love indulging in a massage. Meditation. Having a quick play with my puppers. Reading, or literally standing in fresh air, with the sun on my face and taking a few deep breaths. I know how wanky this sounds, trust me, I was totally that person but give it a go.
This one kind of also stems into really knowing how you feel, I’ve again worked pretty hard on saying no to more things. If there’s something i’m dreading doing for whatever reason (within reason) I say no. If i just feel like I’m a bit drained and I need to sit on the couch and watch FRIENDS, then that’s what I do. If I need to take 5 and go look at the ocean, that’s what I do. Go with what you feel, with what you need to protect your energy.
3. Don’t take things personally.
This is something that’s really a daily task for me to continually master, but something I have and will continue to work on. Other peoples perceptions, words, actions, are not about you. That’s pretty much it on that one.
4. Meditation sounds ‘woo-woo’ but it’s fucking awesome.
I really don’t know how to convey this but meditation can really change my day, my week, my month. When I practice meditation, for even two minutes I feel like I have more mental clarity, I can make clear decisions, I am more positive, I am coming from a place of love much more than fear. Again meditation is a hard one to explain, lots of people think they need to sit for hours everyday and that’s just not true. I was finding every self development book I read, every inspiring person I followed suggested that meditating was their top priority but offered little guidance on the real how-to. However, it’s 2018 and there are so many resources and many ways you can meditate and you can do it in as little time as you like. One of my favourite apps is the Headspace App that has loads of guided meditations that literally start at 2 minutes long! Give it a go.
5. Gratitude is everything.
Gratitude is something again, that I adopted following the loss of my Nonna. It was really hard to see the positives for a while there but just showing up, day in, day out practicing gratitude I noticed things changing around me slowly and that practice seeping into my life more and more. It’s hard to explain what happens when you practice gratitude, but give it a go and see what it does for you. I find I can really let go of things that are concerning me, or that no longer serve me, and focus on positives and my goals. I personally journal three things everyday I am grateful for, you can say them, write them, think them- whatever works for you.
6. Never stop learning.
I’ve really gone head first into this whole self development thing this year. If you ask Dean he’ll be the first person to tell you that i’ve really been able to shift my general attitude, and change my life for the better. My top reads for 2017 are some that i’ll be reaching for again in 2018.
- Mastering your mean girl- Melissa Ambrosini
- Open Wide- Melissa Ambrosini (currently reading this one, love it!)
- The Subtle Art of Not giving a F*Ck – Mark Twain
- You can heal your life- Louise Hay
- The Universe has your back- Gabrielle Bernstein
And some of my favourite people to follow for similar things are-
- Melissa Ambrosini
- Clair Hill Coaching
- Connie Chapman
- Gabby Bernstein
I’d love to hear what you’ve learnt in 2017, leave me a comment below.