Although I don’t write nearly as often as I’d like to, it is something that genuinely helps me reflect on myself both personally and professionally. Same goes for photography. Last year, I chose an intention to help guide me in my daily life: to simplify. Now, those who know me well know that I very frequently struggle to make decisions that relate to myself and my goals. I will often over-analyze a decision until, quite frankly, there is no decision left to be made for one of the following reasons:
- time ran out
- something out of my control made the decision for me
- I decide that decisions are too difficult and it was a silly idea in the first place – maintain status quo
Ultimately, this process leaves me feeling frustrated and limits how many new challenges I take on in my personal life.
Having a conscious intention in 2017 helped me make some decisions that I may have habitually over-analyzed. For example, I became much more dedicated to my yoga practice; this is something I have always had the desire to do but have always struggled to maintain in a consistent way. I would often find excuses why I couldn’t attend class or couldn’t practice from home. “I don’t have the time/money/energy to do _____________” is fairly common language in our society and I definitely fell prey to this thought pattern. While I have always understood on an intellectual level that we make our own choices in life, thanks partly to my intention, I am finally starting to internalize this in a meaningful way. I started to ask myself “Do you want to practice yoga?” and if the answer was a yes then I made it happen. Eventually, this led to it becoming a more important aspect of my life, and then I reaped more personal benefits, such as an increased sense of self-awareness, the ability to actually relax, and a healthy way of managing my anxiety. The intention to simplify also helped me accept that, at this time, yoga is more of a restorative practice for me than anything else, so I have stopped pressuring myself to attend certain types of classes and am trying to focus on what makes me feel good.
Having an intention certainly didn’t apply to every decision I made every day – unfortunately, I am not that focused or dedicated – but it did help me decide to become much healthier, more grounded, more focused on my personal interests, and to take on a new challenge in my career. I was also more willing to forgive myself if I slipped up in any way, which made my daily life much more enjoyable.
Although I definitely did not stick with it in 2017 like I did the previous year, the #photoaday challenge is another great tool that helped me reflect retrospectively on my year. Rather than selecting what I felt were my best photos this year, I chose nine that represent important people, moments, and connections in my life. This process helped me realize what a rich year I had despite feeling disappointment over cancelling a big trip abroad.
#photoaday2017 #bestnine @beverley_bunker
From left to right, top to bottom:
- Connecting with my dad about photography
- Having fun in nature with my students
- Celebrating my best friend’s upcoming wedding with delicious food and wine
- Spending time at “the lake” in Ontario both before and after my father-in-law passed away
- Pushing through intense anxiety during a mountain hike in the desert
- Greater confidence through traveling alone… for the first time in a long time
- Visiting my mom in Ottawa
- Attending my first yoga retreat on a beautiful island with a good friend
- Something to remind me of the day we said goodbye to my father-in-law
Tools that help us reflect in some way are so important. These two worked well for me in 2017 and I have some ideas about what I’d like to try this coming year.
My intention for 2018 is to find joy; whether this means looking within or reaching out to others, I am looking forward to whatever this coming year has in store for me. What do you intend to try, change, or explore in 2018?