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Lessons Learned from 2018


2018 was a year of great change in my life. My husband retired from the military. My family was reunited by my parents moving to El Paso. I lost some friends, but made many new ones for whom I am grateful. I transformed my body, mind, and soul. And I embraced my purpose in life and set off in a new career direction.

On this 365-day journey, I learned several lessons. To end this year, I’d like to share some of the most meaningful ones with you.

Lesson 1: You can do anything you set your mind to.

I lost fifty pounds. Maybe that sounds like bragging, but hear me out. I was the type of person who believed I was a victim of my genetics. I was sickly and not athletic and had a crappy metabolism. There was no way I could lose weight. I was stuck at the weight/size/shape that I was. It was out of my control. But then, to my great surprise, I fell in love with a sport – tennis. And anyone who has played tennis knows that running around that court chasing a yellow, fuzzy ball when you’re fifty pounds overweight sucks! It’s exhausting! So I decided to try. That’s all I was going to do. I was going to try to be conscious of what I was putting in my body and take better care of it. In the beginning, I thought I would just prove everyone wrong – I didn’t really believe I could succeed, but I was going to try my best so that when I did fail, it wasn’t because I hadn’t put in the effort. To my surprise, my efforts worked, and I learned my first lessons about manifestation: sometimes you have to fake it until you make it because old habits and negative self-talk die hard, but with consistent effort you can change your internal dialogue.

Lesson 2: I am a soul having a human experience.

Like so many people, I was wrapped up in my human life, my human emotions. I didn’t want to contemplate the concept of there being more to my existence than that. But taking responsibility for the condition of my human body made my soul – the essence of who I am – crave more. So I set out to learn about Reiki, but I ended up learning so much more. I learned that my soul is who I really am – not my body, not my emotions, not even my thoughts. I am my consciousness, my awareness, of all these other things. But if I am not my body, thoughts, or emotions…if I am my consciousness, then what is my purpose? To experience, to learn, and to evolve and grow closer to God. Which leads me to lesson 3.

Lesson 3: I am the master of my life.

I am my soul, and as such my goal is to experience and learn. That realization led me to reflect on my life up to this point. And suddenly I could see how every experience was teaching me what I needed to know to be who I needed to be now, in this moment. The things that had happened were neither good nor bad – though my human side had tried to tell me they were. They were all opportunities for learning, for growth. They made me who I am, and if I took a single one of them away, I would be changing myself. So I, my soul, had asked for all of these experiences, not because I wanted pain and suffering, not because I wanted happiness and joy, but because I needed to learn something from them. And everything that happens from this moment on serves the same purpose – to help me evolve. But now that I am conscious of my consciousness (say that ten times fast), I am in the driver’s seat. I control my life. I am the master of my karma. What I put out in to the world will come back to me, so my goal is to make that as loving and compassionate as possible.

Lesson 4: I am the master of my emotions.

Since I am the master of my life and in control of my karma, it is also within my power to take control of my emotions. No one has the power to “make” me feel a certain way unless I allow them to. Now I am a soul in a human body and, therefore, still subject to human emotions, but I can look at those emotions objectively and ask myself “why do I feel this way?” Nothing that happens to me is good or bad, and it’s not personal either. My husband doesn’t load the dishwasher wrong to hurt me and make me angry. I feel hurt and angry because my pride says I can load it more efficiently than that and I feel rejected and unloved because he doesn’t listen to my instructions (which he would if he loved me, right?). Should I suffer because of something as simple as this? No way! That’s not what my soul wants for me. My soul wants to learn to overcome the feelings of pride and rejection – to no longer suffer from them. My soul wants to know that it has everything it needs, already, right within itself. So I’m learning to be like water, and go with the flow.

Lesson 5: Self-care is not selfish.

I started encouraging others to believe this for themselves, but I forgot to apply it to myself. Then a seemingly minor car accident made me reevaluate my care of myself. I was the only passenger. I was the only one injured. My very active lifestyle came to a screeching halt thanks to whiplash, an aggravated shoulder, and some displaced ribs. No gym workouts. No tennis. I had to rest. I had to slow down. I had to take care of myself and listen to my body – really listen – because although I was feeding it better and had gotten it in to shape, I wasn’t listening to its need for love and rest. Now, I stop and ask my body what it needs from me, and I quietly wait for it to answer.

Lesson 6: Don’t be afraid to cut negativity out of your life.

It hurts. It hurts to give up things and people we love, but when they no longer serve our purposes, we need to let them go. Maybe we feel unappreciated and unloved, but when we decide to cut those people and things from our lives we feel shame or guilt. Maybe we feel we have to save them from themselves. Regardless of what we feel, we are doing ourselves a disservice by keeping those negative influences, those energy vampires, in our lives. Do you want to let someone or something else’s negative energy hold your soul back from the growth that it craves? I don’t. So some things I actively chose to remove from my life, and others my karma got rid of for me. It wasn’t until they were gone that I could see how much they were holding me back. And some things hurt more than others to eliminate, but I genuinely believe my life is better and my soul is lighter for it. I am walking in to 2019 with my head held high and far less baggage than I had a year ago.

I’ve learned a lot. I still have a long way to go. But I can honestly say for the first time that I am excited for the changes ahead. I embrace them with love. I hope that one of these lessons spoke to your soul and gives you encouragement for the year ahead. I wish you compassion and love for a blessed and prosperous new year.

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