Musings by Chris and Photos by Jim
A year ago we ended 2013 on a spin cycle of emotions and wound up beginning 2014 on tumble dry in Bali. Our Indonesian paradise was exactly what we needed as we found our hearts once again and beat a path to gratitude and generosity. Jim reawakened his centre by leading a tour of Japanese tourists through a spiritual and gastronomic maze of temples, ceremonies, and eateries. I meditated upon my spiritual core and shed some childhood obsessions while releasing regrets and resuscitating joy back into my vocabulary. It was a very good start to our year. Bali was our salvation.
We greedily sought new experiences and opened doors to housesitting opportunities in France and England. Despite 2014 being a year of twists and turns and fractured limbs, I wouldn’t change anything. I learned that my body has limits, that healing at the age of 60 takes a LONG time, and that every situation was of my own choosing. Nothing bad happened to me. I chose to walk where I did, I blundered forward rather than patiently acquiesced, and I oversaw other’s steps rather than mindfully regarding my own. Despite my spiritual awakening on a beach on Gili Air and my steadfast affirmation to ‘let go’, I have struggled to manifest the totality of such a resolution. I’ve still miles to go in my evolution.
Our penultimate experience this year was a month-long tour in Japan providing 16 workshops in 10 cities in 30 days. We took planes, trains, and automobiles covering the equivalent distance of Vancouver Island to Toronto and back. We saw parts of Japan, new to us both. We made new friends and re-established bonds that affirmed our appreciation of this remarkably humbling culture. We left in awe of the expertise and passion of those committed to a live plant-based lifestyle and we renewed our desire to reach others on a similar mission. We were re-invigorated.
As we leave 2014 behind, we have also left our island home for the past eight years in the wake of our drifting ship. As much as we have craved adventure and longed for new experiences, we have been riding waves of emotions, as the shoreline swiftly becomes a fading memory. What was it we were seeking? Where is our base? How strong are our foundational beliefs? When does one finally ‘grow up’?
John E. Groberg has an interesting take on looking back on the old and projecting forward into a new year. He suggests ten questions that allow one to take a snapshot of what was, as a way to build upon what will be.
- What ways this year did I intentionally push myself outside of my comfort zone?
- What ways this year did life push me outside of my comfort zone?
- What people did I meet or deepen my acquaintance with this year that stands out as significant/meaningful?
- What books did I read or experiences did I have this year that helped me become a better version of myself?
- What new places did I visit this year that I’ve never been to before?
- In what ways was I able to contribute something meaningful to others this year?
- What were some of my favorite moments this year?
- In what ways was I supported by others this year?
- In what ways was I really blessed this year?
- What are some important lessons I learned/re-learned this year?
Celebrating and reflecting upon one’s accomplishments and challenges offers a SWOT of sorts (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). What can one gain from the year that was if one doesn’t realize what the year offered? Building upon our inherent strengths provides one with the necessary confidence to jump into the polar bear swim of life. It isn’t always comfortable but at least you are left feeling – something.
I’m not big on making resolutions. In fact, I’ve never specifically done so – on your mark, get ready, get set, go – January 1st. I’ve been coached, I’ve taken coaching training, I have coached others. I’ve set goals. Heck, I use to facilitate strategic planning events for large community groups and smaller business teams. It was all about writing mission statements, clarifying THE vision, establishing goals, and marking them against timelines, and designating deliverables.
I recently watched a short clip on defining one’s purpose by answering the following three questions:
- What do I want to experience out of life?
- How do I want to grow?
- What do I want to contribute to the planet?
The key is to take no more than 90 seconds per question. Thinking about your answers will only clutter your mind and allow old scripts to influence your responses. If, for example, you began to think about each response you would have a litany of excuses as to why each answer would not be possible. However, if you spontaneously respond based on a gut or heartfelt reaction, you are more likely to tap into what you truly desire. And that is a reliable ‘go to’ response you can depend and act upon.
We become mired in the nuances and muck of our predictable judgments. I can’t do A because I’m not wealthy enough, or I’m not good enough, or I’m not well enough, or I’m not young enough, or I’m not _____________. I’m sure you can fill in the blank. But what if, rather than saying ‘I can’t’ you said, ‘What would it take?’
“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.” – Brad Paisley
And so here we sit in 2015 with the world opening up for us and I have to admit, it is darn scary at times. And other times it is just nerve rackingly overwhelming in its expansiveness. And yet, what we are holding onto is a belief that we won’t write the most intriguing and alluring first page. What if no one, let alone us, reads beyond the first sentence of the first paragraph of the first page of the first chapter? All I can offer is, what if we/they don’t? The key is to start writing, start breathing, and start living. The rest will flow. The afterword isn’t the point. It’s the dedication that creates the intent. And we dedicate 2015 to us, with our imperfections, insecurities, and indelible spirit. We can guarantee, it will be a year well lived.
We love sushi. It is particularly fun to make sushi without rice and to rely on vegetables to pack in lots of nutrition and flavour into your veggie roll. We use raw nori sheets (that have not been roasted), and we use whatever veggies we have in the refrigerator:
We also will make our version of ‘rice’ by pulse chopping some cauliflower in the food processor until it is the texture of rice and stir in some miso and spices (I like curry and cumin) so the rice sticks together like sticky rice. Lay this all out on top of one end of the nori and then roll and cut. It comes alive in your mouth with so much freshness and life. Enjoy.