Nine Things I Did in 2020 That Changed My Life
Even though 2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges, it was also a year full of truth-telling and growth
I am a firm believer in the power of acknowledgment and at every end of the year, as a ritual, I write down the big things that happened that year.
The act of writing down my year and distilling the essence is important as it helps me to choose the story I want to tell myself about it. It makes me smile at my accomplishments and makes me leave the old year with a sense of pride. It grounds me in a sense of gratitude towards myself and life and fills my heart with excitement for the new, that is to come. Even in these crazy times.
For me, 2020 was a good year. I would even say one of the better years in my life so far.
I know, I know, I’m not even supposed to say that out loud, because hey, so many people suffered and had a hard time, doing well feels almost disrespectful and not empathetic enough. At least that’s what I read here on Medium somewhere.
But, you know what, I don’t believe that. I believe that when many people are having a hard time, it’s actually even more important to share our good fortune and success. At least that’s what helped me during the times I struggled in my life. The good fortune of others gave me hope, inspiration, and faith. It reminded me that everything arises and passes away. Always. And however bad a situation, this too shall pass. Nothing is set in stone. Plus: We always get to choose our attitude.
So here are the things that I chose. (and that in a way also chose me)
1. I told my story
In February I went to an Embodied Speaking training at the HeartIQ center in Holland and unexpectedly had an opportunity to tell my story.
On stage. In front of people.
Of course, it was part of the training but what in the end I shared with everyone was not what I had planned and rehearsed to share for two months prior. It was a moment of revelation. A moment of insight when I felt clearly the deepest parts of me that needed to be revealed and liberated.
Shakingly I did so and it was a profound breakthrough moment that allowed me to digest a lot of shame and left me feeling so much lighter, empowered, and confident. I hadn’t realized how much that part had been holding me back in moving forward in my life.
The most empowering thing we can do is to own and share our story
2. I embraced my inner artist
Within a week of returning back to Ibiza Lockdown happened. It was my birthday also and my plans for a soul gathering in nature with my sisters went ‘bye-bye’.
In hindsight, I see that it was partly to absorb the shock of what’s happening to the world that the first thing I did was I grabbed my canvas and paintbrushes. I had to do something! And this time I had no excuses for not having time anymore. In fact, it was also a relief: finally, I could paint! Finally I could give myself full permission to follow my creative flow. So I went on painting like a maniac. If you want to see the results click here.
I used the challenge and transformed it into medicine by embracing my creativity.
3. I followed my longing and curiosity
I had always wanted to live in a community. The one thing that was painfully missing in my life was a deeper sense of belonging. In 2020 I followed that longing and applied to co-create and live in a community in Holland. In the end, I only stayed there for three months and decided to leave after that for various reasons.
However, the 3 months were a big journey of personal growth and expansion and I learned so much on so many levels. I will never forget this experience. But it was equally important to be able to realize that this was not for me, to take all the lessons and not feel disappointed that it wasn’t the answer to all my woes.
I stretched myself out of my comfort zone and honored my capacity by pulling back
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4. I unplugged from the news
After ingesting too much information and getting sucked into the abyss of narrative warfare, my brain kind of crashed. I felt zapped from all the fear and negativity and above all the incoherence. So I stopped. Something in me realized that I couldn’t sustain this kind of diet without becoming sick.
Looking back on the first 3 months of lockdown I realize that I had been infected with a virus, a virus of fear. Unplugging from the news was the best thing I could have done. And it was also an act of reclaiming my sovereignty.
It was an act of saying ‘my well-being is important and the only one that can take care of this is me’.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to make anyone or anything wrong and tell people what to do. I simply wish to…
5. I surrendered to love
2020 was also a battle between my heart and my ego, even though I didn’t know that at the time. I was so full of ideas of what kind of a man I wanted that I didn’t see the one that was right in front of me patiently waiting for me to see him.
It was a time of deep diving into my heart to understand what it truly longs for and to feel courageous enough to say yes to it. I realized that sometimes we say NO to the very thing we crave because we are scared to actually receive it. I can only thank whatever power that was playing part in it that I didn’t let this one slip. That I dared to after so much resistance, admit that I, goddammit, fell in love with him.
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6. I unhooked from toxic family dynamics
I said NO to an abusive, dysfunctional relationship dynamic in my family. It meant cutting that person off for a while and it was very hard to do. It was like going through a washing machine to even allow myself the possibility of not having this kind of energy in my life anymore. Was I allowed to simply walk away from it? Shakingly again, I did.
It felt like getting unhooked from something very old that kept me in the game of playing small.
There are many reasons why we stay in places and situations that don’t serve us anymore, all of them based on fear no doubt. Overcoming the fear and guilt of letting that person go helped me to take one step further towards my dreams.
Sometimes the hardest choices are the ones that will liberate you the most.
7. I stretched what I believed was possible for my business
For me going online has been a gamechanger. Of course, I miss the hands-on aspect of my work, but there have been so many benefits of going online that I am simply grateful for it. I have always traveled a lot and it meant not being able to see clients for long periods of time, which meant no income. Now that my resistance to it has subsided I feel freer and more expanded. And I love the work that I have been doing with my clients! Online has allowed me to become more creative and authentic in my approach.
Necessity is the mother of invention
And even though two years ago I would have never thought it possible, 2020 closed but simultaneously opened many doors for me.
8. I invested in myself
I signed up to work with a mentor. A woman that I truly respect, admire, and love. This decision came from a deep sense of worthiness, readiness, and true commitment to the life I wish to see and manifest. And an understanding that I need someone to help me stay on track.
I started dreaming and I allowed myself to dream a bigger picture.
There are many seeds that have been planted and are patiently growing in the womb of the Great She. I am hoping that I will be able to excitedly tell you about it at the end of 2021.
Big times call for bigger YES’s and bigger No’s. This is really a moment for all of us to step into our mature adult self. What do we truly want? What are we willing to do for it?
9. I left my comfort zone
Last but not least, I let go of my home in Ibiza and jumped into the deep unknown by moving to Holland where I am currently living in a campervan. It was a decision-making process over several months if not years. And it’s funny how
…I wasn’t ready, ….wasn’t ready,…. wasn’t ready…
till literally only the week before that I moved, I truly decided to do it.
Without the security of the next chapter being perfectly laid out for me already, I decided once again to trust my body and its impulses.
This was a lesson in trusting the divine timing of things. Not having to have it all figured out (the why’s and pro’s and con’s) but simply following what feels right.
I look back on 2020 and I am thinking: what a freaking year! It felt like learning how to slackline, which to me means becoming a master of walking between the light and the dark. There were many moments that I was in discomfort and fear and yet all of them pushed me to new horizons, more growth, more authenticity, more vitality, more intimacy, and more acknowledgment of what is essential.
It was also a year that taught me about the importance of healthy sensemaking, about the power of our focus, and the importance of looking after our own and each other’s Nervous Systems.
Thank you to all of you who are reading this and made it possible for me to grow and deepen. May 2021 be a year of more maturity, more leaning into that which connects us, and more resting into what serves us, personally and collectively.