I guess I’ll start with a heads up. This last post of the year is a quick review and recap of the ups and downs and “meh” moments from 2015. It’s a personal reflection, a public display of vulnerability, and most definitely not a “how to review your year and plan for the next” type of post. My hope is that through my personal experiences you gain some new insight and perspective. Enjoy lovely people!

one way

Image via http://madcrisimages.com/

As I’ve shared before in previous reviews, I center most of my intentions for the year around 6 areas or slices of life: Personal, Social, Spiritual, Physical, Professional, and Financial. I also usually have a word and/or theme for the year that gives me a focal point for all the desires, intentions, commitments and goals I set for the year.

My word for 2015 was: Breakthrough and My personal theme was: Go Get It

It took me awhile to see the gifts I’ve possessed all along but, I got it. I really embraced pieces of myself I’d been denying for so long, because I personally did not see the value in what I brought to the table in comparison to what I believed the world valued. That was an “Aha!” moment that opened me to receive what life would soon reveal…a gift is only a gift if you choose to accept it.

My breakthrough (a sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.) this year led me to make the decision to step into my Purpose in the role as a mental health and wellness advocate. To become a voice for women entrepreneurs with a history of mental health disorders.  We may feel “other” because we feel inadequate or flawed or quirky or complicated. We may feel alone even when surrounded by support systems. We may be afraid because we do not want to be stigmatize for being who we are despite our ability to totally rock our careers. I want to be there, I want to run this race, I want to carry the torch and find new paths or more effective ways to run the paths we’ve already chosen.

Deciding to do a non-academic based investigation on the possible correlation between mental illness or mental health disorders and entrepreneurship led me to begin working on my 1st book on the subject, which then triggered an interest in pursuing advanced studies over the course of the next few years. In essence, I’ve decided to put into motion what I started when I 1st went to Rutgers and received my BA in Sociology. 10 years later I came back home to my original love for social work. I realize this time around, that I have a passion for the administrative and research side of social work, and most importantly I discovered a strong passion to expose research-inspired and evidence-based psychological resilience principles and practices for business owners and entrepreneurs…without sounding like the dry-eyes commercial guy.

What this will all look like… well, I’m still piecing that together to be honest. But as a starting point this year I co-launched my heart-work project Love Yourself Love Your Business, a virtual summit for entrepreneurs to learn more about the importance of a commitment to self-love when building a passion for profit or heart-work business. Self-sabotage, stress, not charging what you’re worth because you are unsure of your value, not having the confidence to market yourself and tell the world about your business are some of the reasons why I knew that this summit was needed and I’m proud to say we had a great response and will be expanding our outreach and taking it to a new level in 2016. I also did my 1st Speaking engagement as a mental wellness advocate and I didn’t freak out although I did manage to knock everything inside the podium on to the floor (just making sure everyone was awake of course haha!). Next year I intend to team up with my long-term marketing assistance client Dr. Angela Clack a Coach and Psychotherapist to present a web show all about mental wellness. And I joined my local branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI  to be a part of something much larger than myself.

In the midst of all this I struggled with physical health issues which woke me up to finally tend to the much neglected self-care branch of my self-love tree. I went gluten-free for a month and committed to a strict low-acidity diet trying out recipes from this cookbook for people who have acid reflex issues and sensitive tummy issues. I lost about 20 pounds in that time just by changing up my diet and doing a lot of walking at the park with occasional yoga stretches and gym visits on a guest pass.  Honestly, I hated not being able to eat at restaurants like I used to, I hated the taste of gluten-free pancakes and got so fed up with not being able to eat things I love like onions, peppers, tomatoes, and drinking coffee that I pigged out on Thanksgiving giving myself a horrible gut attack in the process. Lesson learned. Making my signature lasagna dish for Christmas and not being able to eat it this year kind of sucked. But sleeping peacefully at night after enjoying small portions of some of my favorites was well worth it. I plan on incorporating much of the diet into my lifestyle going forward with subtle “cheat days” now that I’ve learned what keeps me from having attacks and what foods agree/disagree with me the most.

This diet led me to seek new connections because I needed to reach out to others who experienced similar issues to better understand how to cope with the changes in body and in seeking new connections I found myself exposed to new communities. Somehow I stumbled into an American Sign Language meetup group by accident and despite my lack of knowledge received a warm welcome from those in the deaf community. I found that having to learn a new language and being corrected when I goofed up or unintentionally committed a cultural ‘no-no’ out of sheer ignorance was quite humbling and gave me new perspective on the words empathy and compassion.

And while I realized that I needed to show others compassion, especially those closest to me, I realized yet again that I simply could not give what I didn’t have for myself. That by accepting myself for being perfectly imperfect I in turn was able to accept, forgive, and show compassion to others for the same. I’ll be taking these “gifts of imperfection” with me into 2016 and in the pursuit of living love out loud I wish you all a fulfilling and rewarding New Year!

Until Next Time…Peace!

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