My Year in Review for 2019 A Directive, Honest Reflection, and What's in Store for 2020
It’s that time of year again.
Time to reflect, vision, and set goals for yourself for the upcoming 12 months.
During my time of reflection, I ran across this little beauty I wrote 4 years ago about using a different way of thinking to set your goal and fleshing it out through the sandtray
Check it out here —> http://southernsandtray.com/set-soul-filled-goals-using-sandtray-story/
But, as you know, time doesn’t stop because we have created cool goals and said some mantras.
And the same happened with me – time kept going and now here we are 4 years later and I’m still trying to figure this life stuff out. Truly, I thought that by the time I was 39 (what I know!) I’d KNOW how to do life so much better.
But, I’ll admit it, I still struggle. I work hard to be better but I feel like I come up short a lot – often because I dare greatly, and when you dare greatly often enough, you get your butt kicked.
Let’s just get this out of the way now – I’ve gotten my butt kicked GOOD in the past 4 years but especially in this last year.
2019 was rough for a lot of reasons – one of my favorite therapists in my group private practice moved, my husband quit his job to work for our property company, we bought a fixer-upper that is STILL being fixed up, did 3 RIST cohorts, put on the first ever Sandtray Therapy Summit, started a non-profit sandtray association (IAST – sandtraytherapy.org), and watched my best friend bury her husband of 25 years.
So, like everything, it was a mix – some good things but some really hard stuff as well.
One of the hardest lessons that I had to relearn this year is that I don’t ‘win’ just because I have the best of intentions and work really hard.
When looking at that last tray with ‘confidence,’ I can say that I have achieved what I was looking for – I AM more confident in all of the ways that I discussed in the last post. But you see, what I didn’t realize, that confidence often comes at a PRICE.
You see, the only way to get real confidence is to DO THE THINGS. Show up. Be brave. And I did that this past year. I showed up for my best friend while her soulmate was dying of ALS.
I also showed up by starting the sandtray association. And guess what? When you show up and do things different than the status quo, people are NOT HAPPY.
I was NOT prepared for the amount of anger and venom that was hurled by way this year by those who I thought were my friends/colleagues. People who I had known for YEARS were on social media saying horrible, untrue things about me – very personal, attacking statements directed at not just my actions (those were called out of course) but my character.
My confidence that I so strived for back in 2015?
Yes, it took a blow and I had to figure out how to pick myself and be there for all of the people who said yes to the sandtray association and yes to what I was calling them to believe in – the sandtray movement.
And it takes confidence – sometimes fake-it-til-you-make-it confidence that appears in the form of your friends and family carrying you until you can come up for air.
My soul-filled goal of 2015 was confidence in all areas of my life – my marriage, career, health, and soul. The Amy of 2020 now knows that the confidence that I discussed through my sandtray back then only comes from being in the fire and knowing who you are.
Not just who you are, but also knowing who your real friends are – the ones who come out of the woodwork to send you miniatures, cards, emails and texts of support when you are in the arena getting your butt kicked publicly for something you believe in with your whole being.
So to revisit and ground myself when thinking about what I want for 2020, I decided to take the soul-filled goal challenge that I did back in 2015.
This time my word was contentment.
Because life doesn’t always go the way we plan just because we want it badly enough. Sometimes it just sucks and there’s no words. Sometimes life is just getting through the next breath.
So rather than more confidence this year, I desire more contentment in my life.
And like the good sandtray therapist I am, I wanted to flesh this out even more by giving myself this directive again (just like back in 2015).
Here’s my tray for 2020
Not to worry, just like last time, I’m going to walk you through the tray. But first, notice what themes come up for in the tray? What is present? What is not present? What do you feel in your body as you look at it?
All of these questions are helpful for us as sandtray therapists when we process any tray and looking at mine is no different.
Now, for a tour…
This back corner is what I call my soul corner. This large figure represents me learning to be nicer and care for my inner child. I’m a lover and nerd for all things IFS and this is me working to care for that wounded part of Amy who may always have wounds from 2019 and knowing it’s okay that they are there.
The trees are grounding for me and felt like they needed to be there to help me heal even more.
This corner of my tray is what I think of as my hope. In my last tray, I think I was a little too naive about all the amazingness that confidence brings. It DID bring a lot of great things in my life (daring greatly remember?) but I spent a lot of nights looking like this stressed out man. What I want now is to acknowledge that I can still feel like that at times while having hope and contentment in my current circumstances.
It’s okay to hurt.
It’s okay to not know.
It’s okay to be vulnerable.
There’s beauty and hope in that alone.
When I look at this corner, the word that comes up for me is honest. Honest about who I am and believing that honesty is the only way to live life. It’s too hard to be fake and to let the cheap seats take up space in your head.
When we started the IAST, so many of the folks in the cheap seats hurled insults my way. I want to be content and to be grounded so that no matter what is coming my way, I can believe and know that I’m okay with being Amy.
Oh, and the bird in the cage? That’s to represent that I’m often my own worst enemy in my head.
And in the final corner, we have my struggles corner. How to be content when you feel like you are not good enough with your resources? I’m still working on figuring this one out TBH. When I get stressed, I eat junk. When I’m happy, I crave carbs. Food is my weakness but I know I need to be healthy to do all the things that are important to me – so it’s a push/pull kind of thing.
The other items? I feel like time is something I struggle with and also caring for those things that are important to me.
The sandtray association is important to me. My family is important to me. My marriage is important to me. My clients are important to me.
But yet there’s only so much time to go around.
You get the problem here 🙁
So this one is an ‘area for growth’ but again, I’m working to be kind to myself and be content with my journey TODAY.
You can see how this middle part is an area that is important to me. I’m working on bridging the gaps where I can be more content in my life but it’s frightening to try new things on (hence the scary bridge).
Also – I placed the big heavy rock near the middle because that is one lesson that I’ve learned in the past several years (but especially this year) is that people are often fighting battles you know NOTHING about so BE KIND.
While walking the path with my best friend and her late husband this year, I was both appalled and awed by the actions of those around them. Some showed up, and some had no idea how to be there or even how to be kind in this horrible time.
And you know what?
None of it had to do with them.
That’s something I want to remember as I try to be more content – others actions often have little to do with me and everything with their own battles.
So – be kind to myself and to others.
And lastly, the open hands and the empty bench are there to represent how I want more openness in my life and more space to learn about myself and those I care for – if I’m open and willing to listen. For me that is the most difficult part – to just be, not to fix, work, or do but rather to be content with where I am NOW.
So, now for you.
Just like I did in 2015, I want to challenge you to set goals that are soul-filled using the directive of what you want to FEEL in 2020.
After you do, I challenge you to post yours in the FREE Facebook group, The Sandtray Movement. I’ll be doing the same, daring greatly with you.