I will remember 2018 as a year of building and also of tearing down, of learning to trust myself beyond what I thought possible through both a break-up and a break-in (more in a bit).
I really prioritised building my practise this year, to the extent that that only holidays I took were to visit my family in Jordan at Easter and Christmas and a long weekend with friends. I feel immensely privileged to be doing this work, to sit with fellow humans in their most intimate and vulnerable moments.
I feel I have found a good balance in splitting my time between sessions in both my old home of Geneva and my new home of Lausanne. I now have about half my clients in each city.
In November we celebrated our one year anniversary at Lausanne Therapy Space. I feel very fortunate to work with the women in this space, and am still in love with everything about it from the room design by Sofia Clara to Momo who sells (delicious) crêpes at the entrance of the building and always brightens my day!
My word of the year was VISIBILITY because I wanted visibility over my finances, insurance and administration. This was something I had never really taken responsibility for when I was married and being on my own and also independent work-wise, this filled me with anxiety and dread.
I am now at the point where I enjoy (!!) accounting thanks to the accounting system I am using (Wave) and I have even come to realize that this stuff is also a form of self-care, that being able to have my own back financially and administratively is just as important as eating healthy or going to yoga.
Lots of events
VISIBILITY was also about putting myself out there despite the doubts and anxiety that are always there when running workshops and events.
This year, I launched some new topics that I am really excited about:
I held a workshop for men with Aernout and we had a wonderful group of seven men who were all eager to learn and share.
I held a new workshop in the summer on relationships patterns based on attachment theory and a corporate talk on stress for the first time, which I tackled from quite an unusual angle which I hope to share more widely in 2019.
I also explored the topic of trust / self-trust and intuition for the first time in the framework of my Becoming Wiser Workshop Trilogy while updating some existing topics - my staples around boundaries, emotions and connection.
My favorite blog posts this year came from personal experience. The first came from visiting my 90 year old adopted aunt and being moved by her life wisdom in the face of difficulty and loss. The idea that life is meant to mark you touched me deeply, and I very much resonate with this quote I used at the beginning of the blog post:
“I don't want to die without any scars.” - Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
The other came from spending a long weekend with two of my close friends who are also at the end of their 30’s. We spent a lot of time talking about the paradox of this life stage and the questions we were asking, which became this blog post.
I also wrote a blog post on boundaries with diagrams as I realize this is one of the topics I refer to most often in individual sessions - and it has become a post that clients tell me they share with their family members who don’t respect their boundaries!
This year saw a focus on the body, and integrating body and mind in working with people and in my own training as a psychologist.
I completed Level 1 training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy which aims at integrating the body in therapy, particular in working with trauma which is often stored in the body.
I also found myself working and exploring the emotional interplay with physical issues such as PMS / PMDD, digestive issues or chronic pain.
I am working more and more with other practitioners such as acupuncturists, nutritional therapists or yoga teachers, particularly in clients with burnout.
I changed therapy supervisors and have been working with someone who has a more body based approach which is very helpful for my own growth as a therapist.
I am also continuing my own therapy and I found someone in Lausanne who I see every 2-3 weeks. I find that having this space for myself has been incredible, simply to check in with someone and take stock of how I am doing.
I also needed to amp up my own self-care. While last year I felt I was still in survival mode post separation / divorce, this year I realised I needed to more seriously take care of myself, especially since I wasn’t relying as much as in the past on holidays or travel to recharge and I often work late nights and early mornings.
I rediscovered dancing and started taking Nia dance classes again, going to yoga and even doing 2-3 hour intensive workshops with teachers like Nico Luce. I also saw self-care in ways of organising my time, what I was saying yes and no to. I am very grateful that my health this year was great, despite still being quite relaxed around food - I am particularly grateful for this after being constantly sick the previous year.
A break-in and a break-up
Following my divorce, I had a mental list in my head of ‘stuff I wouldn’t be able to handle on my own’ because it didn’t believe I was strong enough without a man (I know this sounds terrible).
On the top of that list was for my apartment, which had become my safe haven, to be robbed. Ironically, it seems like Life wanted to show me I actually could handle it, and in March my apartment was broken into. I learned that I actually could handle all of it, from the clean-up to dealing with the police, and feeling safe again in my own home.
Also on that mental list was ‘I couldn't deal with another break-up’ and I also went through this this year. I was able to let get of a relationship that was no longer working for me even if we had a great connection on many levels.
It was a difficult decision, and yet there is also great strength in walking away from that which no longer works. I honestly believe that everyone wins when we do this, even if in the short term it is often painful and messy.
After the break-up, I went through several months of isolation, of withdrawal. I took this time to fully be on my own, and this quote from Osho really spoke to me during this phase:
The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love. It may look paradoxical to you, but it's not. It is an existential truth: only those people who are capable of being alone are capable of love, of sharing, of going into the deepest core of another person--without possessing the other, without becoming dependent on the other, without reducing the other to a thing, and without becoming addicted to the other. They allow the other absolute freedom, because they know that if the other leaves, they will be as happy as they are now. Their happiness cannot be taken by the other, because it is not given by the other. - Osho
Where to next
2018 was a year of making things happen, of structure, of building, tearing down, consolidating.
I feel like I now have a foundation and I can relax into this structure and allow more flow in my life.
In 2019, I want to move more from a place of trust, intuition and flow.
I want to listen to myself and my needs in the moment - while trusting that whatever happens, I’ll handle it - that I can take risks and do new things and face failure, and still be OK.
Through both the break-in and break-up this year, I had the break-through that there is so much in life that we cannot predict or control, and that instead we can trust ourselves to be able to handle whatever life brings.
This was the break-through I had in 2018 and I really want to embrace it in 2019.
I want to embrace the mystery of life instead of over-planning or overbooking or trying to control things.
Because mystery or the unknown will always be a part of life.
So I want to welcome the unknown that inevitably comes from stepping out of our comfort zone, that inevitably comes at the start of any new endeavor, be it a new project or a new relationship.
My word for 2019 is MYSTERY.
I want to dance more, to explore more, to go deeper, to open my heart more. I want to trust that even if I open my heart and get hurt, I will still be OK.
Like, my 90 year old aunt, Lydia, I want to be marked by life. I want to be fully alive. I want to fully love. And I want to be open to change and whatever life brings.
Thank you for being a part of my 2018!
Here’s to a 2019 filled with growth and wisdom and embracing the mystery of life, while trusting ourselves to handle whatever life brings - be it a break-up, a break-in or a break-through!
Two things make life easier: Having a good relationship with your intuition and not being afraid of change. - Yung Pueblo