Reflecting on 2020 and Welcoming 2021

2020 has been a year unlike any other. When I take the time to look back on everything that has happened this year, I am surprised by how much I have forgotten. With ever present thoughts of Covid, the election, deaths, and racial inequality filling my mind, it takes some effort for me to suss out the “smaller” beautiful moments.

In June I transitioned from teaching to putting my heart and soul into Ananda Citta full time. While that seems like a big thing (and it is!!), it gets lost in the shuffle of everything else that 2020 was. Here are a few more highlights from this year:

In August I took a wonderful trip with my husband to see bison in North Dakota. Bonus: I was able to refrain from running up to each one and giving them a big smooch on the head.

In November, another former teacher and I surprised our friends at school with a dance party (it was KILLER!)

July brought our first birthday celebration with Bashful since he came to us.

And, just last week, my husband called me outside to see a beautiful yellow dandelion growing in our yard.

All the “big” things happening in our world can sometimes overpower the smaller moments of peace and love we experience every day. When we get caught up in worry, negativity, and anger, it is hard for us to reflect on all that this year has truly been. It wasn’t ALL bad, and I’m going to prove it to you! Let’s do a quick activity together. Grab a pen and a piece of paper. On your paper, make a T Chart.

On the left side of your T Chart, write down something that was a challenge for you in 2020. Maybe it was having to work from home. Now, look at working from home with new eyes! What was a benefit of working from home? How did it help you grow, change, or develop as a person? Find one positive quality of working from home and write it on the right side of your T Chart.

Let’s do another one. On the left side, write down another 2020 challenge. Perhaps a trip you had planned got canceled (ME!!!). After you write down the challenge, across from it, look at it with new eyes. How was a canceled trip a good thing? Maybe it meant you could spend more time at home with loved ones, you saved money, or you discovered somewhere new and exciting within your hometown. Write that down across from your challenge.

Continue this process as long as you wish. You may want to keep this list in a place that you can come back to as you spend more time reflecting on 2020. When you are ready to step away from your list, be sure to say a quick “thank you” for the good that has come out of your challenges. A simple “thank you for…” will do the trick, but do what feels best to you.

This activity is a very powerful way to heal all the challenges that 2020 has brought you. By looking at “bad” moments with new eyes, you are retraining your brain to see the “good” in everything, every situation. This, in turn, fosters a deep sense of peace and love within you. When you are filled with peace and love, you are happier, it bursts forth from you, and that happiness shines on others, brightening their lives…and we could all use a little more brightness right now!

So, as you reflect on all that 2020 has been, keep in mind that:
*everything happens for a reason
*everything happens at the exact time it is meant to
*nothing “wrong” can happen, as the universe acts according to Divine will
*there is beauty in every moment: even the “bad” ones!

Thank you for all your love and support this year. I truly appreciate each and every one of you – this journey would not be the same without you by my side. If you have stuck it out and read this WHOLE blog, be sure to reply to this email for a free gift!!

Namaste,

Michelle Boening

P.S. The Good News Network reports on positive stories from all over the world: a perfect example of looking with new eyes!