Fear at the end of the year (a Winter Solstice reflection)

During the past four weeks, I have watched seven (or maybe more – I lost track) webinars promising four ways to boost Instagram followers, a surefire method to build my Facebook group, the best method to plan next year’s revenue, … You get the picture.

I was feeling the end-of-year fear.

Fear at the end of the yearThere is something about approaching December 31st on the Gregorian calendar that sends those of us with non-traditional work into a funk. I have seen even those incredible entrepreneurs to whom I have looked for guidance all year start to seemingly panic-sell their programs beginning December 1st.

We don’t want to close our 2017 books in the red.

I fell into the same state of fear as all those others. On top of the other challenges this year, 2017 has been financially difficult. I committed to adding and expanding a second location to my yoga studio, True North Yoga, invested in a Mastermind program, and got caught off guard on some unavoidable home and auto repairs. Summer yoga class attendance, which usually booms with visitors to our lake town, was flat. Put together, the numbers for 2017 don’t look that good.

Did you know I used to be an accountant? After years of writing financial statements, I know a secret.

The numbers don’t tell the real story.

I’m all for eating and keeping a roof over my head (and even splurging occasionally), so I’m not belittling the importance of having sufficient income to thrive. But numbers in a spreadsheet aren’t showing the real value of the healing work I have done this year, for myself and for others. I cannot put a dollar amount on the growth and magic I have experienced.

My tax return isn’t going to reflect that I uncovered a deeper truth about how I bring yoga and Shamanic Reiki into the world. It isn’t going to tally the hours I spent sitting in council with my lower world guides. It doesn’t credit the creative bursts that brought my Advanced Yoga Teacher Training modules into being.

When I was trying to figure out how to pay the bills in December, I started panic-selling. I almost rushed a training that I am excited to present next year, instead of allowing the creative time to make it exactly what I envisioned. I came close to letting fear push me through the Winter Solstice without slowing down.

I suspect that end-of-year fear has been around since humans were mostly agricultural. After the last harvest, the days would shorten, and the ground would freeze. There was no time to grow more. They had to get through the winter on what they had. Some years there would be plenty; other years they might run out of food. There must have been fear. And at the Winter Solstice, perhaps there was an acceptance that there was nothing else they could do except dream of spring.

My family had a small, simple holiday this year. We will have further financial challenges in the new year. We will make due.

No matter how your numbers are adding up for 2017, would you join me in taking long exhale to let go of the fear? Let’s instead take stock of the personal growth, the skills and talents developed, the healing that has happened and can still happen. There’s nothing more to do for now. Together, let’s let winter come. We will make it through.

Nobody said being a healer was easy

I’ve been following the coverage of the latest wildfires in California with a heavy heart. If you pay attention to the news, it seems like the whole world is on fire, literally and figuratively. To be alive at this time, especially for those of us who have been called to be healers, is no easy feat. There is just too much to do.

Yet, when I’m doing my work in the world – teaching yoga, training yoga teachers or Shamanic Reiki practitioners, running two yoga studios, or offering one-on-one healing – I feel my connection to that greater purpose. During those times, the discouraging news drops away and I feel “in the flow.”

But being in the flow doesn’t mean the work is easy.

It is okay for healers to be tired. Just don't quit.Every day the healing and transformative work I am drawn to do asks me to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually at the top of my game. And that’s just not possible. Like everyone else I get injured, I lose focus, I grieve, and I doubt. I can’t count how many times I was ready to quit during the past year. When I was tired and overwhelmed, I thought of pulling the plug on the whole thing.

What if it’s okay to be tired?

I was listening to an interview with Jo Fairly, co-founder of the organic chocolate company Green & Black, on Carrie Green’s She Means Business podcast (which is a great resource for female entrepreneurs), and Jo was asked how she did it all. Her answer was, “When you’re tired, rest, don’t quit.” Hearing that, in her lovely British accent, made me realize it was okay to acknowledge that getting tired didn’t mean I had failed, or that I couldn’t do the work. It meant I needed to rest and renew my energy.

Accepting that sometimes I am going to be tired is a big shift for perfectionist Debbie. For the past few weeks, I have given myself permission to feel worn out, and to plan rest time into my day, even if it’s simply going to bed a bit earlier or treating myself to a yoga class that someone else is teaching. Then, when my energy returns, I start moving forward again.

I can’t quit, because there is healing work I need to do in this world.

If you are walking the path of healers and change-makers, I would love it if you give yourself permission to rest. Just don’t quit, because the world needs you to do your work. Can I witness and support your necessary desire to rest? Let me know with a reply.

How to Make your Dream Come True

The stories are everywhere, always uplifting, always inspiring:

Every day, people just like you go out into the world and make their dreams come true.

They did it. Why not you? You’re no different than any of these individuals.

Why Couldn’t Your Dream Come True?

2015-05 butterfly+pulling+rockTrue, it sounds hard. In fact, it probably is hard, with a number of obstacles to overcome. That may be excuse enough to put your dream on permanent hold. But how would you feel if you made your dream a reality? How badly do you want that feeling?

“Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.”
– Orison Swett Marden, writer

Could a Plan Help?

The easiest way to turn a dream into reality is one step at a time:

  • Choose one small thing to get done. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  • Identify what scares you most about taking that step. Ask yourself: What’s the worst thing that could happen if I face this fear? Write down the worst-case scenario, and also write how you would confront it.
  • Choose a small reward for yourself once you’ve accomplished that activity.
  • Then just do it – and check that task off your list.
  • Now treat yourself to the reward, rejoice, and celebrate!
  • Repeat the above steps as many times as necessary and watch yourself get happier and healthier as you move in the direction of your dream. And enjoy the journey.

Need more inspiration? Check out Daily Good – a news blog full of uplifting stories. It’s my favorite source for good news.

What’s your dream? What one small thing can you do today to bring that dream closer to reality? What scares you? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

What are your intentions for 2015?

I love being on the cusp of the new year. It feels like the slate has been wiped clean and anything is possible. I always give thought to what I would like to accomplish in the coming year. Sometimes it’s one or two simple things, but most years I dream big. I often dream too big, without thought to how many hours are actually available for all of the things I want to tackle. I’ve learned to be more reasonable with my time and try to keep my intentions achievable.

This year I categorized my intentions by the element they most related to – earth, air, fire, water or spirit. It was a good check to make sure my plans will keep me balanced. It’s great to want to have a hugely successful career, but if it doesn’t leave time for creativity or exercise or spiritual pursuits it might not be worth it. When you look ahead, are you thinking about balance?

Below is a summary of my intentions for 2015. They all are much more specific, of course. Each has a deadline and is achievable and measurable. For example, “I will complete my work, pass the final test and graduate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition on February 22, 2015, after which I will be a fully certified holistic health coach.” With intentions like that, I can easily track my progress and remember what I need to schedule time for.

Intentions 2015

What are your intentions for 2015? I’d love it if you would share some in the comments below, or link to your own post about your plans for the new year.