Finding Inspiration for the New Year From Reflections on 2014

Anne of Green Gable QuotesAs we kick off 2015, it’s the perfect time for us to start penning a brand new chapter in the story of our lives. In truth, we can have that fresh start at any point in time, if we so choose it. Yet the symbolism of stepping into a new calendar year, with its blank days and weeks to fill, wipes clean the slate of the past year, triggering the inspiration and motivation we need to manifest meaningful change and actualization in the coming months. The thought of a fresh new year “with no mistakes in it yet” breeds hope and promise for what is to come.

New Year’s is also a time for great reflection as we take stock of our lives and where our journeys took us over the previous year. What did we accomplish? How did we flourish, and where did we flounder? The point is not to rub one’s noise in so-called “failures” of the past, but instead to see how we can improve our attitudes, habits and behaviors to make 2015 an even more accomplished and joy-filled year.

It’s key to acknowledge and show appreciation for the positive changes and accomplishments we made in 2014. Gratitude re-fills the tank of inspiration and creativity. It reminds us to look for the positive, to acknowledge what we do have in our lives and to celebrate the great steps we’ve already taken to live more fulfilled lives. Gratitude also motivates us to create even more positivity in the days, weeks and months ahead.

For me, vaguely looking back on 2014 bred disappointment over the things I didn’t accomplish. Yet a more honest look back over the year forced me to acknowledge what I had accomplished:

Health Changes and Achievements of 2014

Sea Scallops in Cheese Cream SauceOne of the biggest changes I made in 2014 was to start following the very low carb, high fat ketogenic diet (popularly considered a stricter version of the Paleo Diet). I am proud of getting and staying in nutritional ketosis, where my body—and most importantly, my brain—used the more efficient and health-promoting ketone bodies for energy rather than glucose. Nutritional ketosis has an excellent record for managing epilepsy, treating metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes, as well as helping to slow cancer growth. Researchers are currently studying its affects on neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. As someone with dystonia, a neuromuscular disorder that is close kin to Parkinson’s, I am very happy to report that ketosis can greatly benefit those with this movement disorder.

One of my biggest goals of the year was to wean off as much of my medication as I could—a tough task when it has helped manage so many of my symptoms. In ketosis, I was successfully able to get off three of my medications and reduce the dosage of three more. I was also able to cease the chemo treatment that I relied on so heavily to manage the suspected cause of my case of dystonia—autoimmune disease. To go from a dozen or more dystonia episodes a day to maybe a couple in an entire month, while also reducing my medication for it, hugely transformed my life; its positive impact on me and my loved ones cannot be overstated. I look forward to seeing even more health improvements in the year ahead.

The Yoga Journey Over the Year

Another huge accomplishment for me was getting certified as a sport yoga instructor. In addition to being better equipped to teach, I have learned so much more about yoga and its benefits on the body, mind and soul. Over the past 12 months, I have significantly improved my practice. My hip and back flexibility has grown tremendously, and I’m even getting more stable balancing on my feet—not an easy feat for someone with no foot arches and health-related balance issues. My transitions between poses are smoother, while also becoming more complicated. Watching my body transform and seeing my physical progress has been greatly inspiring. I also finally learned the best way for me to integrate meditation into my yoga practice in an authentic way that feels right. Yoga has been such an important component of my physical healing, but it’s also been incredible for stimulating the mind and feeding the soul. It is far and away one of the most important things I do for myself every day.

I am excited to be officially teaching yoga outside the home in 2015. I will be holding regular classes at a multi-purpose gym locally, and I’m test-driving another class at a fitness studio not far from home at the end of January. I cannot wait to see how both my teaching and my practice will be transformed as I finish my 300-Hour Hatha yoga teacher training and start my restorative yoga training. I also plan to hold more nutrition and lifestyle classes and workshops throughout the region again this year, as well as take on more health-coaching clients.

I'm OfficialThe Mind-Body Shift is making its transition to a more professional site that even started to become (very modestly) profitable this past year. I’m very proud to have contributed to awareness and advocacy for multiple health conditions. I have thoroughly enjoyed interviewing an array of experts and incredibly inspiring people who are making a difference in the health and fitness communities. I am also so very grateful for the wonderful events I’ve been invited to attend, mission-affirming sponsorships I have been offered and accepted, and for all the products offered for review.

I look forward to pushing full-steam ahead in 2015 to make Mind-Body Shift an even more recognized and trusted health and wellness resource by consistently producing quality, original content and actively attracting a wide, growing audience. I am thrilled to be able to offer more informative articles, interviews, recipes, reviews, tutorials and online classes in the year ahead.

Outside of the health and wellness world, 2014 held other accomplishments. I further established myself in the academic editing and tutoring, and I am extremely proud of the high quality work to which I’ve contributed. In the journalism world, I also successfully launched a hyperlocal news site for the second time in four years. While it didn’t quite yield the business sponsorship desired, it has received a lot of support and appreciation from local businesses, and, more importantly, it served as an important resource for locals seeking word about what is going on in our town.

Changes Closer to Home

Magical Moments With GaryThankfully, my creative self is re-awakening once more thanks to all the wonderful inspiration I’ve found in music, literature, film and life. In addition to further exploring my personal story in print, 2015 will see my return to fiction writing. I also look forward to both playing and making more music in the new year. I failed to perform outside the house in 2013 and 2014, and this singer/songwriter is sorely missing the live music world and an appreciative audience. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the local music scene and refilling that hole in my creative soul.

Closer to home, my love life continues to blossom, strengthen and nourish. We’ve had some beautiful experiences in the past year, from the more mundane (yet never boring) day-to-day to the magical and sublime. In less than two weeks, we’ll be leaving for our first trip outside of the country together. It’s my boyfriend’s trip off the continent, and my first in more than 15 years (!). We’ll be visiting one of my favorite cities in the world, Paris, as well as exploring the surreal majesty of Iceland for the first time. So incredibly excited for this trip that I do not even know how to put it into words, and I can’t wait to make bucket-list memories of a lifetime with my love.

The little ones in our families are growing and blossoming, making us very proud, amused and amazed. While I had to painfully say goodbye to my own furry “child” of 7 years early in 2014, I am pleased that he’s found joy with more feline companionship and loving new parents. I’m excited to report that my family will be expanding again this year…I’m really looking forward to welcoming a new niece or nephew in March. I have a grin on my face writing this when I think of the awe and joy of holding a newborn baby again.

New life. New beginnings. Growth and expansion of the seeds already planted. 2015—I embrace you and can’t wait to see all the amazing things you have in store.

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