This was my word for 2017. I set out to explore my buried feelings of fear, shame and unworthiness to bring them to the surface, welcome them and befriend them. What a year it has been!
This time last year was difficult for N and me. We were not connecting as we had in the past. With 10 years of marriage and 14 years together, we just weren't jiving. We both felt it and wanted to do something about it. I shared what was on my heart and he responded with love and acceptance. And together we worked through what was going on with us. It is safe to say that we are closer now than perhaps we've ever been. We're definitely more honest about our feelings than we've been in the past. We both committed to owning our stuff and dealing with it, rather than stuffing it down and pretending everything is okay, which is the preference for both of us.
I believe the source of our success this past year was our willingness to be vulnerable with each other. Our willingness to reach out to connect without knowing how the other would respond. Our willingness to admit that we can love each other every single day without judgement. That we can simply love each other exactly as we are without expectation every single day.
Being willing to be vulnerable and truthful with myself and those around me has proven to be both challenging and incredibly rewarding.
I did some exploration of my personality type - INFJ. I found podcasts and lectures and read and listened to as much as I could to help me understand how I interacted with the world on a subconscious level.
I was dealing with an issue at work. I was trying to work through it, but could tell I was blaming others and looking for fault and while I tried desperately to figure out what the lesson was for myself, I just couldn't find it. Until one day I figured it out. I wish I could remember what it was that triggered the ah-ha moment for me, but I just can't remember.
Basically, I was living in a "should" life. I had an idea of what success was, and it wasn't where I was in my career. I believed I "should" be running a program somewhere, supervising people and making lots of importance decisions day in a day out. What I intentionally walked away from in early 2016 is what I believed gave me value as a working woman. Anything less was not success as I defined it.
This was all unconscious, and I was not putting my all into my work because I was so concerned about what I "should" be doing with my career. Once this all came to my consciousness, I got it. Once I got past my own self righteousness and saw that I am able to redefine what it means to me to be successful, everything changed.
I can be content with where I am in my career. I can even be proud of what I am doing and the work I did to get here. In order to get to this place though, I had to be willing to explore all of this. It was not easy, and it was honestly embarrassing to admit that I was feeling this sense of self-righteous at all, but once I really felt it, named it and honored it, I could work through it and land on the healthy side of my ego.
I realize my words may make it sound like this exploration and connection is easy, but it absolutely is not. It is a conscious state of curiosity about my feelings and senses where I am always trying to balance my ego and show up honestly and kindly to myself and to others.
It may sound like I have this all figured out but I certainly do not. What I do have is a positive view of vulnerability and how having it as a cornerstone in my life will bring me great understanding of myself and my loved ones. It is the key to human connection. It is what makes us able to empathize and be with others in a meaningful way.
I feel so lucky to have explored vulnerability this past year. I have grown in so many ways! Some of the best resources I found on the topic are "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown, and the podcasts related to ego work on Personality Hacker (dot) com.
So many other amazing things happened this year!
N and I had an incredible time in Mexico seeing Widespread Panic. The trip jump started our reconnection that lasted throughout the whole year.
BBZ participated in his first real theater production of Lion King, Jr. He was so proud!
LBZ started kindergarten and has loved it so much! It's a beautiful thing to see him so anxious to learn and grow.
BBZ found a new love for Harry Potter. He got the full set of movies and books for his birthday, so we watched all of the movies and he is on book #2.
He loves reading and loves the fantasy world of Harry Potter.
We had a white Christmas! We were all so excited to play in the snow and sled. It was cold and really fun! I love the photo of the boys in the snow. It seems like they are so grown up.
We spent a wonderful week in Massachusetts with my parents, and did lots of things that we did when I was a child, like heading to the top of Mount Wachusett.
What wonderful memories we created!
LBZ has a strong love for soccer. It is so much fun to watch him do his thing.
After a full year of being gluten free, I finished one of my favorite races feeling healthy and strong and ready for the next adventure! 2018 is going to be a big year for me and my running. I can feel it!
Lastly, I finally committed to a new tattoo that I had been designing in my head for months. My best friend and I went together and the artist designed this for me based on some ideas I brought to him. I am so happy with the way it turned out!
It's a perfect way to show my love and commitment to running in the woods.