I still remember seeing the Sound of Music in the theater as a little girl with my sister Lisa and my beloved Grandma Helen. It was April 1965, and I was 6. Maybe the memory is so strong because sitting next to my Grandma, my sister on the other side of her, was so much fun. No matter the reason, the song “My Favorite Things” always makes me smile.

This year was tough – there’s no doubt about that. There is loss and pain and missed milestones. But yet when I sit down and scroll through my photos on my phone or look at my calendar and take some time to reflect on the year, I see many special moments, experiences and people to be grateful for, times when I was fully engaged and energized. And writing down, with details, what I’m grateful for or describing peak experiences gives me hope and lifts my spirits. I hope you’ll have a similar experience when you try the journaling prompts below. 

Journal with Me

What are some of your favorite activities/people/experiences or feelings from 2020? Yes, it was a bear of a year, but thinking about the good that happened and savoring that might make you smile or encourage you to add more of those into 2021. 

  • Make a list of experiences, people, things, nature, activities… that were highlights. I find it helps to look at my photos and my calendar to help me remember.  
  • For each moment/activity/person/experience write a sentence or more using details to create a strong positive memory. Add some reflection about how you felt. Remember to notice your engagement and energy levels I mentioned in last week’s post.
  • Lastly, reflect on how it would feel to make room in 2021 for more of what lights you up.

Here are three of my favorite things from my list:

The ocean, the sound of the waves, the smell of salt, the beauty of the sand and dunes and shells and stones as I walk. And importantly, the companionship of Chip (husband), as he walks alongside me. The ocean makes me feel alive, centered, in the moment, in awe and grateful. 

I’m grateful for (my dog) Murphy, who’s always happy to see me and greets me with a kiss or lets me cuddle with him on the couch when I’m feeling blue. He never fails to make me feel more optimistic. He reminds me to be playful.

Lisa, my sister. It’s been years since we spent more than a week together in a year, but Covid found us both staying in place (in Wellfleet, MA) for almost four months. We talked endlessly, laughed, cried, made great dinners together with Chip and Bennett (our husbands), we ran, swam and walked almost every day. This time was a gift beyond imagining. Hope for more next year (without Covid of course).

YES there were hard times, difficult, even terrible experiences and I don’t suggest you shove those down or ignore them. We grow and learn from struggle.

But for today, “simply remember [your] favorite things.” 

Wishing you well in this holiday season and hope to have the opportunity to meet you in a workshop and get to know you in 2021.

Interested in learning more about the power of your stories to create a meaningful life you love? Check out my Write Into Joy workshops to learn how to build resilience and joy through journaling & reflecting. Click here to see a list of upcoming workshops.

Knowing what really matters to you, what makes you feel energized and engaged - is the first step to having a life you love.
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