I think that a lot of people have struggled this year with so much going on and they couldn’t understand why it was happening right now. For me when I look at 2017, what I see more than anything was a karmic detox - we didn’t have the option to deal with something, we just had to deal with it. That really started in 2016 - 2016 felt a lot more intense to many people - there was a lot of sudden deaths and unexpected choices made - the Brexit referendum, the US Presidential elections - it just felt like lots of hugely significant things happening. And where we would normally have time to process just one of those things, they were coming thick and fast.
Now if you read many spiritual sites, they have been predicting a change in the energy of the world since 2012. 2012 was the end of the Mayan calendar and as we didn’t really know what that would mean, many thought it was going to be an ‘Armageddon’, the end of the world in some way. But I never believed that - I have always thought that if you look at things that happen energetically, it happens very, very slowly, and so it was never going to be this big bang event that everyone was saying, it was going to be slow, steady movement towards something changing. And what I had been told in my own meditations was that this was a karmic rebalance. If you think about it, we had the Mayan calendar, where we had all that time to fix things and evolve and find better ways of doing things - forgive, forget, heal, process. Anything that wasn’t processed at that time we now have to deal with and if you look at the last couple of years in particular, we are really starting to feel the weight of that. Things like an increase in racism, and increase in intolerance and of disconnection - these were things that have been there all along but we didn’t deal with them, so now they are incredibly visible and we’ve got no choice but to deal with them, and now we get to choose what our future looks like. And I know a lot of you have children and sometimes it can be really scary to think of what is going on in the world, but I have always been a firm believer that everything that is happening right now - good or bad - is necessary to get us to a better place. But it’s tough and that is why we have to stick together and find our ways of getting through it.
Ultimately I still think that things are going to turn out better for us all, but we have to be able to see something to be able to deal with it once and for all. So 2017 - If I look back at my clients and what I felt from friends, family and the environment around me, what I felt was very much that bubbling up - things were no longer allowed to stay as they were. Relationships ended, people passed, establishments came crashing down and each one impacted us personally and collectively. One of the main things for me when I look back at 2017 is that we had become far too reactionary - we were reacting to everything instead of controlling it, because when you are in control (when you are really in control, not thinking you are in control) there is a calmness about your actions, whereas a lot of people felt that they had just got a handle on things and then something else knocked them off course. Over the course of the year they went from feeling like, “ok, I think I know what I’m doing”, to the wheels falling off, and a lot of the people I interacted with felt a sense of “What do I do now?” We have run out of the avoidance tactics and we just have to deal with it now. I want to suggest focussing on one thing - that is that everything that has happened was necessary for YOUR greater good and the good of humanity. So if you had things that happened this year that felt negative or they hurt or created pain, whilst nobody wants other people to suffer, we have to trust that the universe loves us 100% and if it gives us any type of pain it is to make our situation better. Usually pain, fear, frustration, anger or any of those emotions, come up because our soul knows the right thing for us to do, but our ego/personality is so overpowering, it can overpower that and it uses negative emotions to get you to stop moving in that direction.
So when you find yourself really entrenched in negative emotions, it is a sign that your ego is coming in, saying “No, we want this other path, we’re not going to go down that way. That way might hurt!” We have free will, so the Universe cannot guide us through everything and we just follow along. We have free will and so have to take personal responsibility for the decisions we make, but the Universe stills loves us and wants to keep us safe. Think about how we are with children - there’s a point where we know they have to have some level of discomfort to keep them safe overall - and although we know it will be difficult for them, we do know what’s best for their overall development and growth. The Universe works the same way. It is the ultimate parent - the mother/father who wants us to be the best version of ourselves possible, and knows what that looks like. We know what that looks like as well, but it is so hidden underneath the ego, with all the pressure from everywhere else, it can be difficult to tease it out. So when we are answering the question “what did last year look like and how can I make peace with it?”, the fundamental questions I ask are: “What am I supposed to learn from this? How does going through this make me better person and how does it help me to grow?” Because it can feel that some of these things happen and you feel like you’re now stuck in cement and you can’t move. For me that is always the personality. The personality is always telling you “That’s it, call it quits, give up. We can’t do any more!” because what it knows is that you ARE strong enough and you ARE tough enough to make the next step, but it inevitably includes some level of surrender. Surrender is not about giving up, surrender is saying: “You know what? I’ve done what I can and the only thing I can do now is keep following the breadcrumbs, look for the signs that I am going in the right direction, and looking for the signs where maybe I’m not but ultimately I know that you the Universe is looking after me and I’ll go along with that.” That’s surrender. That’s not handing over your power at all - that is saying that you know it isn’t your power in the first place. It’s saying “Everything that is in my power I’m on top of, but now I can’t stack the deck the way that I want to.” Nine times out of ten, we have a particular vision of what we want the future to look like, and invariably it is tainted with that ego need to have things that the human world thinks is really important but ultimately really isn’t: money, fame, celebrity, status, possessions. None of them really matter in the grand scheme of things. Focussing on the future is about knowing that you’ve done what you can, you’re as prepared as you can be and you know you can cope with whatever comes, and you’re not going to worry too much about what that is going to look like. Instead you focus on the things that you can control - who you love, who you spend time with, what is important to you.
So here are some examples of things that happen to us and may feel one way and how we can maybe look at it a different way.
End of a Relationship.
When we have a relationship end, one thing we must immediately acknowledge is that whenever we are talking about the end of anything, we start a grieving process. We thought the future looked one way, and all of a sudden that future has just been destroyed and we’ve now got to think of a new one. Again this is why we don’t get too focussed on what our future looks like, because those things come along - we have surprises happen, we have things happen that we may not be prepared to accept initially and then our hand is forced. When we are talking about the end of relationships, it can be difficult because of that shared future that we saw that now no longer exists. With any grieving process, there is no quick route; you can’t get through any quicker just because you know it’s there. The only thing you can do is breathe through it and know that you will respond and react to different situations and circumstances in a certain way because you are processing that sense of loss. Your brain is just trying to get a handle on what your life will look like going forward and that is the lens through which everything else happens. You definitely need to give yourself a little bit of space, permission and kindness to say “Yeah, this is going to suck.” When I am talking to anyone who has had some form of relationship breakup, I can see that usually the couple or friends or business partners have become so entwined, they can’t see themselves away from the other. Now, while we are supposed to have people who are connected to us, soul mates and twin flames, and those human connections that nurture us - none of that happens if we give ourselves and our identity away to someone else, and that is what normally happens with these relationships. When people describe themselves like ‘two peas in a pod’ - that’s kind of the problem. Because you are you - you have your own self identity and power and you have to be able to function as an individual in your own power. Once you can do that, you get so much more out of the relationship because you are no longer looking to them to give you what you need to feel validated. You can self manage, self love, give yourself the space to be who you are, and then you find someone who runs alongside you. This is parallel running, it’s not this idea that you are both merged together. When we see the end of a relationship there is normally some element of “Who am I away from that connection?” and as you start looking at that you start seeing that maybe you’ve given your power away in that relationship. The fear, the grief and the pain is because you are literally losing part of yourself by losing that person and that’s never healthy. Once we know this has happened, then we can heal and work on ourselves. We make sure that we get that strength back and that inner power back.
Word of warning though - It doesn’t ever mean that we are working towards never needing anyone.
There are three terms that you need to understand - you’ve got DEPENDENCE, where you are utterly dependent on other people for how you think, feel, and act. Then you’ve got INDEPENDENCE which is “I don’t need anyone!” We are all told that this is what we should need and independence is great - but INTERDEPENDENCE is perfect. Interdependence is saying - “I can be by myself, I can look after myself but I know I’m stronger when I can connect with other people.” You can’t get that kind of connection with someone if you are still looking for them to validate you. Even when something feels painful or raw, it is telling you something about yourself that you need to know. And something worth pointing out here - you’re never given more than you can handle. I know that can be really challenging to think that the level of pain or hurt you feel when you lose a relationship just doesn’t feel like you can go on but you can. Human beings have such a resilience that we don’t even get close to understanding because we perceive ourselves as weak for feeling such intense emotions - we are absolutely not weak! We don’t fail because we don’t have the strength to go on - we fail because we stop, and stop trying. There is such a huge potential for resilience in all of us. I always think back to when I was in labour with my first daughter. I had this moment when I thought “I’ve had enough of this!” It’s really tough and you’re in this position where you can’t go back and you have no choice but to carry on - the baby is coming out one way or another! And I remember having this moment where I thought, “millions of women have done this, I can do this, it’s my own head that is telling me that I can’t but I know I can! My biology is the same as everyone else and it was that moment that I took control back. I was working with the baby, and from a place of fear I remember that, once she born, I felt completely indestructible, because that was something I never thought I could do - and I did.
There is an inner resilience within all human beings and we never get anywhere near close to that potential. If you’re in pain and hurting, then that is when you use that interdependence, reach out to other people to help you through but they’re not carrying you - they are next to you saying come on, you’ve got this.
Quite a few of us have had to deal with really significant deaths in the last couple of years. Grief doesn’t have a calendar - it doesn’t recognise that enough time has passed, it does what it does and does it at the speed you let it. The more that you try to pull yourself together, the more the grief is being backed up - you’re not dealing with it, you’re not accepting it. It can feel incredibly difficult to process a death, and it’s one of human being’s biggest questions - “Why do we live, why do we die, why do have this capacity to love people who are ultimately going to be taken away from us?” That’s where grief feels so gut wrenching, but I don’t see it like that. Ultimately we know that we all live forever - the energy that created us is the energy from the Big Bang - it has lived forever. Even if you want to think of this scientifically and not spiritually, what makes us up came out of the beginning of the Universe and when we die those electrons, atoms, and chemicals will be released again back into the universe to be used as something else. So in theory we never go anywhere - all we do is change shape and form. Working with people going through grief I wish I could show them what I can feel and sense, because I get such peace from being able to still sense those energies around us. Everybody is always here. Everybody exists in some way. But I think you have to have the lessons we are given from experiencing a death. Human beings are not supposed to live forever; they are supposed to be here to learn lessons and to share and invite lessons from other people. Death is not something experienced by the person dying - it is experienced by those left behind, because of what it means for us. It reminds us of our own mortality, and it gives us an opportunity to evaluate whether we are living the life we are supposed to be.
I had my treatment for breast cancer last year and I had to face my mortality a few times, but one thing that kept me going was that, even if the physical stopped, I knew that I would still be fine. My energy would still be here, but it would be more difficult to connect with people maybe, but I would still be around. The essence of who I am was eternal and that gave me a sense of peace. When I talk with others who are going through the process of grief, that is what I try to focus on, the fact that this isn’t a story to make them feel better but it is what it is, and we are supposed to experience the pain of being left behind. What that should do is strengthen our belief that they haven’t gone anywhere, where we can’t access them and that they are still around us.
I think a lot of people struggle grief because they are not really sure what they are supposed to feel or think. My advice would always be to do what feels right - if it feels right to scream and shout, then do it. Eventually you will reach a point of calm, where a very quiet voice inside will go, “Okay, now we move on”. You’re not moving on without them, you are just moving on with them in a different state, one that isn’t so easily available but one that you can access. If you’ve had a death from someone who physically lived a long way from you, when they were alive you needed airline tickets, hotel, travelling for hours etc. Now all you need to do is think of them and they are with you. No delays. Eventually, through the end of the grief process you get through. There is a massive learning opportunity to understand our place in the world. There is a beginning and there is an end to the human existence but the soul’s existence is infinite and eternal and once we understand that, death doesn’t sound so scary, and it doesn’t feel so scary, and we can keep the pain and hurt that we have from losing our loved ones where it should be - we experience it, and then we let it go and we maintain the memory and the love within us.
A slightly different example is where something happens that is really positive. If you’ve been having a rough time, the last thing you want is to have a good surprise and not make the most of it. While I’m 100% behind that, there is also a lesson to be learned within good things as well. If it is something that you have truly desired for years that’s taking place now, then there is a cause for celebration and taking it as validation that what you are doing is right and you are going in the right direction. But equally, we have to bear in mind the strength of the ego and personality which can, in some instances, tell us it is good news when actually, if we think about it on an intuitive level, we probably know it’s not the best thing for us. Maybe you get a promotion at work, and on the face of it, it’s more money, more status, it looks amazing and you can somehow forget that a month before the promotion you were just about ready to walk out of the door, you were so miserable! But we get the promotion and suddenly it’s a great thing! Even when positive stuff happens, we need to be conscious and ask what we can learn from this. One question is ask may be - Is this really good for us? Or do we think it is good for us and are we just setting ourselves up for the fall later on? Because if it is not the right direction for us to be going in, we will still eventually fall - it may just take longer. It is worth bearing in mind when something good happens: is it good because we know it’s in alignment with what we need, or is it good because it distracts us a bit longer from that inner gnawing that you should be doing something else. Project a year or two ahead and double check.
Consciously say goodbye to 2017
So that’s 2017 - that’s how you look back on a year, maybe even think about it even more consciously, and write out a list of all of the things good or bad that have happened to you this year, and think about what have you learnt from those. Have you continued to react to things or are you starting to pull them under control? Because everything that has happened in 2017, good or bad, has been an opportunity for you to become more aligned with who you are supposed to be and what is going to truly make you happy. Sometimes, even the worse things that happen to us, when we look back we realise that without that happening these other consequences couldn’t have taken place and got us to a better place.
One minute past midnight on January the first is not really any different than any other minute of the year, but we can attach more significance to it, we want to feel like we have a new opportunity to live our lives in a better way. I’ve spoken before about making peace with 2017; making sure you’ve dealt with everything because karma is rebalancing. Karma isn’t good and bad, there is not reward or punishment, it just is what it is. So whatever you did before, there will be an equal and opposite energetic rebalance and it can happen at any time. It’s doing something to someone that showed them a particular lesson, and somehow you will be shown the same lesson. If we don’t make peace with 2017, it can roll into 2018 and we have to deal with it then.
When we go into the new year, and thinking about how can we make it more significant, everyone thinks of resolutions. I’ve set so many I’ve lost count, and I don’t think I got past the first week! I think it is because of what we anticipate from the resolutions themselves. We make resolutions - lose weight, get fit, eat more veg, eat less meat - things that sound quite sensible but there is an expectation that you are going to be tested on them. If you are doing Dry January, for example, you could be tested - invited for a drink, offered bottles of wine, etc. There is an expectation that the resolution will be tested almost immediately. Now however strong you are, however much internal power you have, will power is one of the weakest forces known to man! Will power is only possible if you keep extremely conscious of whatever it is you are trying to do, and that is impossible. So if you are creating a resolution that is going to require will power, then you won’t last very long. We all have to get on with life and we can’t sit in a bubble where our entire focus is on what we eat. In order to keep that, at a will power level, we have to constantly think about what we are not doing. I reframed my resolutions and goals a while back and it works better for me. They keep me more personally responsible and accountable: I ask the question -
What am I not prepared to compromise on?
If you think about resolutions, it’s not the massive things that happen in the year that knock us from our path; it’s the little things we compromise on: the big meal we have because it was someone’s special birthday, and you can’t not eat for that, and then there is another one, and another one and eventually - you’re eating possibly worse than before! Each time it becomes easier to give in - you think “Well, I’ve already broken the resolution so I might as well keep going!” That’s how easy it is! We make these small compromises and we think we’re not being too bad in doing so, but all of a sudden, you realise you’re massively off track and now you get to feel guilty and shameful as well because you have ‘failed’. so a double win for your ego! By changing it to saying “What am I not going to compromise on?“, you are embedding it into deeper more meaningful values - you’re calling it out as something very consciously going against what you know to be good for you. What is important to you becomes the only guide you need. That might sound more vague, but it gives me more freedom to be able to keep aligned with it. If someone offers me unhealthy food, I’m not trying to work out if I’m ‘allowed’ it or not, I’m asking myself “Will that keep me healthy?” If it isn’t, then that is something I’m not prepared to compromise on and so I’m not going to do it. You don’t have as many resolutions - in fact you may only need the one that you can stick to, because it’s easier to bring it up as needed, rather than trying to keep it constantly in focus. What tends to happen when we think of compromising, is that it is really difficult to justify going against it because it is more clearly going against yourself. But it also just keeps it enough in focus that you are owning it - if you want to make a little compromise, you are aware that is what you are doing, you are taking personal responsibility for that and as such are more likely to do the counteracting activities later to get yourself back on track.
Life isn’t about setting ourselves challenges and then when we fail sitting by the sidelines - it’s about understanding that we are not going to get it right every time, but if we understand how to keep ourselves on roughly the right course, we will feel better and get to a greater degree of happiness and peace.
The New Year is such a good time to reset yourself, to forgive yourself for whatever decisions you made that maybe you now realise were not good, and to forgive yourself for reacting to something that will probably turn out okay eventually. Then you can go into 2018 with more of an idea on how you get back into your power, how you get more strength from within and navigate your life. That will stop you reacting from everything, and it will make you feel safer and calmer, but in control. We can’t control everything but we can always control our response to them.