It’s almost the end of another year. Each one truly goes faster and faster. When you are a kid, you hear your parents say, “time flies”. I am in shock of the literal truth in this…this is not just something people say, it is legit.
If you are anything like me, when the year winds down, you reflect. You may review all that has taken place in a year’s time. All you have accomplished, and even what you wanted to accomplish, but didn’t. The success, the failures. The mind goes into reflective mode.
As I think about this past year, and attempt to reflect, it’s almost too much to process. All I can say is 2021- WHAT. A. YEAR. WOW.
In one year, I almost got divorced. We almost sold our house. I almost changed everything. I almost started over…again.
Then, in the midst of one of the worst panic attacks of my life, I heard God clearly guide me in the direction of trusting Him like I never had before. I knew He wanted me to listen and follow His lead. This would cause me to dig deep and do some serious inner work over the course of the entire year. Inner work that I continue to work at every day. Inner work that would produce so many results. Just to name a few…healing in my marriage and family and starting not just one, but three new businesses. Again, 2021- WHAT. A. YEAR. WOW.
Back in January, nearly a year ago, I broke down- completely. At the time I felt weak and feeble. I lost about ten pounds in a little over a week. I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t eat. Trauma, stress, PTSD…it was all crashing down like an unfathomable tidal wave. I remember thinking that I didn’t know how I’d find my way out of the pit I was in. It felt deep, dark, and lonely.The pure despair and unraveling of everything caused me to get really uncomfortable. Everything had capitulated. Suppression, the name of the game I had been playing, was no longer working. It was time to take a look at the mess, no matter how ugly it was. It was time to do the work.
I prayed like I’d never prayed before, and when I say this, I mean it. I’m talking about down on the floor, not on my knees, but flat on my face. I was crying out to God, sobbing, and releasing all the pent-up emotion inside of me. From the depths of my gut, it came out. I was completely raw and vulnerable in the middle of my family room. I was begging God to show me the way, to help me.
I talked to God like I’ve never talked to Him before. I realized that I needed to hit the reset button. I had finally gotten quiet enough within myself to know and understand this truth.
Looking back, I know I was avoiding the inner quiet. I knew it would tell me I had much inner work to do. Like a child, I thought the gaping wound that was within my spirit and soul, would eventually just go away. Nope. It didn’t. When there’s work to be done, you will eventually just have to do it. Or, become utterly miserable as you do everything in your power to avoid it.
The reset button…it needed to be pushed, but what exactly did that look like?
Resetting and Retraining My Mind
I realized that the “reset button” was related to my mind and how it functioned on a daily basis. I was also able to identify the things in my life that were not serving me.
My mind was clearly set in certain negative thought patterns. Just like a muscle, it needed exercised for it to become stronger and for it to heal.
I learned and realized that our minds think in patterns. If you do even just a little bit of research, you will see that this is proven to be true. Some of these patterns include thinking in all or nothing terms, overgeneralizing, jumping to conclusions, and making “should” statements. “This should have happened”…”It should have been this way and not the way it is”…”I shouldn’t have done that”.
Any of this sound familiar? Here’s another question. Have you ever gotten in your car and wound up at your destination, not really knowing how you got there? This is an example of the thought patterns I’m referencing. They can be like wildfire, running rampant, jumping from one thought to the next. While driving, you were lost in your thoughts and somehow, ended up where you were supposed to go. But you have no recollection of the route you took. This is just one example of the power of our thoughts. They can literally take over, and we can be completely unaware of it.
We all experience this to a degree and a little bit of it is no cause for concern. However, if we get stuck in thought patterns that are detrimental to our perspective, we need to make a change.
This is where I was at.
So, 2021 became about retraining my mind. Learning to catch the victim-based thoughts that I had on a daily basis. I had been through something deeply traumatic and violent, but it didn’t define who I was as a person. This trauma was not an excuse to validate or self-medicate for the rest of my life. I needed to use this as an opportunity to grow and evolve as a human being. I needed to stop letting myself off the hook (which I had become a pro at), roll up my sleeves and get to work.
And so, I did.
Now, on December 29, 2021, I see that the sleeves are stilled rolled up. As a result, I am still working on myself. A year that began traumatically is ending with a new business and personal life that is better than ever.
I’ve come to the realization that my sleeves will always be rolled up so I can continue working. This is a job I will continue to work on until I take my last breath. I am committed.Of course, I get tired and mentally demotivated sometimes. The fire in my belly can feel less. I know because of where I have been, the only way to stay on track is to remain diligent. To do the things that I know serve my mind well. Again, the mind is like a muscle, and it needs exercised. If it’s not exercised, it gets stagnant and lethargic.
I exercise my mind by getting up early most days. I have quiet, alone time first thing in the morning. I pray, journal, exercise, and have good nutrition. I practice my Fundamental 5 system EVERYDAY.
In 2021 I figured out a system that works for me. I am committed to it because I know it will help me grow and evolve more and more each year. This system was the tool I used to retrain my mind after experiencing significant trauma. I believe in this system so much and I knew it could help others. So, I created a guided journal, The Life Changing Journal, which you can find on tattoosofmysoul.com.
So, what was 2021 about for you? And more importantly, what do you want for yourself in 2022? Take some time to reflect.
Where did you grow? Where do you still want to grow?
Where did you fall short? What can you improve?
What are you proud of yourself for? What can you do better?
Take time to assess where you have been and where you are going. Don’t beat yourself up for the things you wanted to do but didn’t. Also, don’t let yourself off the hook. It’s almost a new year. There’s no time like the present to get going on whatever you are feeling called to do.
Retrain your mind to work for you, instead of against you. This takes intention. Then watch your life be better than ever in 2022.