Recognize and Refresh Yourself
By Ann Irr Dagle
Whether we admit it or not, we all think of the New Year as a
time to reflect on the past and look to the future with a renewed sense
of hopes and dreams. Some create lists of things to change, add or
delete from our life. If you are like me, these thoughts were all too
much to even think about, therefore I simply avoided it for many years,
until I attended my first Unfinished Woman lecture by bestselling
author Joan Anderson.
One of the first and most memorable exercises that Joan had us do
was called the Calendar Exercise. This helps us look back and reflect
on the past year, one month at a time.
Before you begin, try and steal a few minutes of quiet,
uninterrupted time alone. Anywhere is fine, but allow yourself a few
minutes to think, and to listen to your thoughts about the past year.
How many times have we asked our self, where has the time gone? Now
simply take a piece of paper and list the twelve months of the year and
try and recapture the events of the months, beginning with January
ending in December 2010. What moments do you remember? What events
over the year have been for others, such as family, friends, or work?
How many of these events gave you pleasure, where some uncomfortable or
were a source of pain? Now, circle the experiences that were just for
you, a square around the events that were exhausting, a heart around
the exhilarating events.
As you look over the months and the events, are there fewer circled
events, than the others? What have you done for yourself? As Joan
Anderson claims, “There are 8700 hours in a year, it is absolutely
pitiful if a woman can’t find 24 for herself!” Let your journey begin.
“If it is a woman’s nature to nurture, then she must nourish herself,”
Ann Morrow Lindberg.
Since attending my first Joan Anderson lecture, I have also
attended two of her three day long retreats on Cape Cod. I have
learned to take time, whether it is a walk along the shore to clear my
thoughts or treating myself to an afternoon of “girl time”. This time
away replenishes my mind and body so when I return to my husband, three
boys, and all of life’s commitments, I feel a sense of renewed energy.
Joan calls the retreats, the Unfinished Woman, “may you always be as
unfinished as the shoreline along the sea.”
We all have been there as mothers, daughters, sisters,
professionals, caregivers, the list is endless. Often afraid to admit
it, but who is this person I have become and where is the woman I once
was, after all the roles we play in our life, who are we? Are we on the
path that we truly wanted, or was it one that we thought we wanted.
In my work as a fitness trainer and yoga teacher, most of my
clients are woman. By the time I first meet most of them, they are
worn down, physically and emotionally, coming to me to regain not only
their body from years past, but also the person that is buried
underneath the layers. They are trying to piece themselves back
together. The Total Unfinished Woman Workshops are designed to help
them begin to become whole again.
They have recognized that something is missing in their lives;
maybe they have emptiness, an ache that they cannot define. There is a
desire to look beyond our four walls, to remove yourself from the
everyday- to create a value in you. During the day long workshop, we
will explore the recognition. After we recognize that something is
missing we will take time out to breath, listen to be alone with our
thoughts as we walk along the shore, discovering metaphors that call to
us as symbols of our past, present and the future.
Our day together closes as we circle together, weaving the threads
of our lives, and seeing more clearly a new direction and journey. But
we will meet again, the third Saturday each month for the next three
months, as we continue to repair, rebuild, refresh and reflect on our
renewed sense of self. As Joan explains during her retreats, “you will
become a scholar of self and soul.”
As the New Year approaches, give yourself the gift of time,
remember, there are 8700 hours in a year. Make an appointment each week
for time alone. As we look at the word alone- it becomes ALL ONE.
For the New Year, become whole, become all one.
As profiled on GRACE magazine website, www.graceforwomen.com