I hope you enjoyed your Christmas celebrations and are now taking some time off just like me. 2018 is approaching really fast and I want to invite you to reflect on 2017 together with me. Let’s think about a symbol or metaphor for 2017. What was 2017 like for you? I’m not talking about extrinsic successes or rewards, but about your inner process. How could you summarize it with just one symbol?
Coach and author Jennifer Lee, told me about this exercise to celebrate inner successes. She picked out leaves as her symbol, but my symbol for this year is a boat. What could be your symbol?
My boat was once on a beautiful lake, I rowed it with a steady tempo of strokes. It had an easy motion through the water, but rather fast. There was a lot of fish in this lake, but also many boats. We were all fishing at the same time, very crowded. I knew how to handle that, how to fish, how to row in between the other boats. I knew how to keep my boat comfortable and completely up to date to the highest standards.
It was a bit exhausting tough, but I kept going, because it’s what I knew and what everybody else on the lake did. I liked the lovely social and chatty people on the lake. We had many social gatherings, enjoyed good meals together. They knew how to enjoy life to the fullest! All those social occasions were a bit exhausting sometimes, but I just loved the people and that’s why I stayed on this lake.
One day I decided to row to a corner on one side of the lake. There was a stream to another large lake and I was very curious. Many people knew about this stream, but told me that it was really hard to get to the other lake. They also warned me that the other lake was beautiful yet very different.
The curious type that I am, I decided to check it out anyway. There I went, downstream, letting go of all what I knew. I bumped into many rocks, almost drowned a couple of times and wondered if I should have stayed.
Upon arrival I wasn’t disappointed. The new lake was so beautiful that it took my breath away. But the silence, so silent it was … There were a few boats fishing, but they did it differently, I didn’t understand why and judged it. I tried my old ways but couldn’t catch fish. It was also very difficult to row, there was ice everywhere. I was used to rowing in between other boats, but this was something different! There was no steady tempo, I was happy if I could move forward just a little bit.
Luckily the other boats helped me out and gave me a large bag of patience, a bottle of persistence, a box of candles, a lot of coffee and some vitamine D. The people were quiet, but very kind. They became more talkative once I stopped judging and showed them that I really wanted to learn their ways.
I’m still on this lake now, learning how to ‘be’ here, but it’s all ok now. I miss the old ways sometimes but I found a way to go back once and awhile.
This boat was my symbol for 2017: letting go of the old Belgian ways and learning the Swedish ways. I’m still rowing the same boat though, it was made in Belgium and that won’t change. What’s your symbol or metaphor?
Wishing you a happy New Year!