Reflecting on the autumn season that was so brilliant before this icy winter set in makes me wistful and more than a little philosophical!
I can hear the trees rustle as the wind gently carries leaves through the air to rest safely on the wet grass. The sound of the wind takes me directly to Cherry Tree Lane in Mary Poppins where she blows in on her umbrella with the wind.
Today’s big question: Is it valuable to study ourselves?
One of the things I admire most about Mary Poppins is her self-confidence. She knows herself.
She knows her craft and she knows the difference she can make in the lives around her.
The end of the quote says, “Can't put me finger on what lies in store, / But I fear what's to happen all happened before..."
Bert knows a memorable story is about to unfold. He’s a witness to the magic Mary Poppins sheds with her presence.
The ending isn’t known, but the magic her influence brings is.
With society shifting and so many unknowns circulating through the air I’ve begun to ask myself the question, “How did Mary Poppins become self-confident?”
She’s able to shift to whatever the situation calls for and tune in to the needs of those she came to serve in an impactful way.
Mary brings with her a special clarity to every task, a clarity I believe flows from knowing exactly who she is and what she can do. Even in the crisis point of the story, she never wavers or back peddles.
How is that steady, self-confident influence cultivated?
Courageously stepping out into areas we have never tested before and noticing the results.
From there we are able to evaluate ourselves: what things do we like? What things don’t we like? What things worked? What things didn’t work? What might we do differently? What gives us energy and joy!
And what things are outside our areas of giftedness, talent and skill?
Each piece of information we gather on the path of exploration adds to the mosaic we form of ourselves in our mind.
When I break ground and cultivate new skills, it’s both uncomfortable and exciting!
I learn from my successes and discover what I’m good at doing and what is fun for me, but I also learn from things that didn’t work!
The “failures” teach me the most if I evaluate them effectively without judgment or shame.
Our processes throughout life and self-discovery are not linear.
They ebb and flow like the seasons as we grieve situations, overcome obstacles and experience joy!
This is how I view 2020.
It was a ride, but as we open a new year, I am able to look at what parts of last year worked well for me and what parts didn’t. And I celebrate both!
Then I take the parts that didn’t work and apply new tactics to situations as they come up, especially if I find myself facing a change in the wind, “Can't put me finger on what lies in store, / But I fear what's to happen all happened before..." like in Mary Poppins.
I beg of you, don’t put 2020 into a trash bag and toss it out at 12:01 am.
It’s been far too valuable a gift for that.
The pain, heartbreak, isolation, loss and unspeakable obstacles we each face in our unique situations are not to be minimized! But if we toss 2020 out and all it offered that’s exactly what we are doing.
The lessons learned from my pain are priceless. I encourage you to make a list of things that worked well in 2020 and a list of a few things that did not work for you.
Celebrate the things that worked! No matter how small they may appear to an outsider, they are significant!
Next take the list of things that did not work and ask yourself, “What might I do differently next time a hard situation like this happens?”
Maybe the hard things didn’t end at 12:01.
Maybe this new January brought pieces of 2020 with it.
I know it did for me.
The grief, sadness and pain over last year actually feels more intense to me now than it did while I was in 2020 experiencing it.
But if I change how I talk about the situation, prepare myself for curveballs, find my bravery and take actions now, in this moment, I am equipped to pivot when the unknown comes my way.
Talking with my Dad today, I commented on the number of years I felt my life was a journey uphill. He regularly encourages me to watch my speech for language that might pull me down and into the past. He was quick to ask me to frame the "uphill" part differently. But…
"Dad, uphill doesn't have a negative meaning to me...
When we hike in the woods and are climbing a steep trail, are we are headed up a hill?”
“Sure,” he replied.
“Is the fact that the path we are on trends upward and is more difficult because of its trajectory a negative? Absolutely not!"
Hiking a trail uphill simply means the journey requires greater physical effort than taking a different trail might.
Have I gained increased strength and endurance from the increased level of difficulty in my path? YES!
Does that strength and endurance serve me when facing the various curve balls of the day?
I love the opening lines Bert sings in Mary Poppins because they cause me to pause and reflect on the twists, turns and uphill moments my life has contained.
I am able to look where I'm going and know I can press on because of all the things that have "happened before" in my story.
2020 is a part of my story and it’s a part of yours.
I believe it’s a valuable treasure in our stories and deserves to be framed as such. Blood, sweat, tears, fears and all.
My Mind Model coach, Blair Dunkley, says, "What we think is not nearly as important as HOW we think. Our words, external and internal, impact our actions and our actions impact the results we see in our lives.”
It may not always be simple to continue climbing up hills and taking actions to stretch our understanding of ourselves,
but the value in learning who we are as unique individuals and how we climb best is priceless.
If you would like additional resources to support your journey uphill toward real health for your body and resourceful tactics for renewing your mind, contact me here!
I'd love to share some magic from my personal Mary Poppins style bottomless carpet bag.
To your wellbeing my friend,