personal reflections

Blessing For This Year

We bless this year for all we learned,

For all we loved and lost

And for the quiet way it brought us

Nearer to our invisible destination.

~ John O’Donohue, At the End of the Year

This poem’s excerpt perfectly captures my 2012. There was learning, there was love, there was loss and wonderful quiet movement towards fully doing my work in this world. My intention for the year was practice, and my three guiding words were creating practice, hosting practice, and spiritual practice. Here’s a reflection on my 2012…

Creating Practice

I created lots of memories this year, with five trips home; some to Alberta, some to Saskatchewan. One one of those trips I was able to record my maternal grandmother telling some stories (something on my bucket list) before she passed away. I also had some lovely visits with my paternal grandmother – a real gift as she also unexpectedly passed away this year. Attending both my grammas’ funerals, my auntie Sylvia’s and my great auntie Eva’s (who was like a grandmother to us) meant lots of memories as we celebrated their lives and also creating some new ones (like playing Tabletopics with my dad, and a circle of storytelling in my uncle’s basement with my mom and other relatives). I love my sister’s blog post on our family’s memories – so good. We celebrated our second annual mom-and-sisters-weekend here in Vancouver which while it had it’s ups and downs was still a highlight of my year. Much fun was had with the Moms and Daughters Tabletopics, even inventing our own questions while waiting for Elvis to take the stage.

My sweetie and I knocked an item off our bucket list with a catboarding/snowboarding trip to the Nelson area. We took in a few incredible shows like Cirque du Soleil, Roger Water’s The Wall, Janes Addiction and were part of Metallica’s live concert recording. Not to be forgotten is my near-death-or-serious-injury experience splitboarding. Let’s just say I didn’t fall in love with the sport after an insanely gruelling trek and discovering how scary a schrund is.

Bucket list glory – catboarding near Nelson BC

Hosting Practice

I was fortunate to have some fantastic learning journeys this year, starting with Avril Orloff’s The Artful Visual Facilitator to learn some graphic recording skills. My brain got a workout at the Cognitive Edge Practitioner Foundations workshop and I travelled to San Francisco to play in the land of improv with a one day Johnstonian Intensive workshop with Kasey Klemm followed by the Applied Improv Network’s annual conference. And a significant experience for me was completing a 100 day blog challenge (yup – 100 posts in 100 days). You learn a lot writing daily for 100 days!

My consulting work as a participatory process designer and facilitator provided many soul-filling moments this year. Deep gratitude to all the groups I had the chance to work with over 2012: the XYBOOM Conference, the Vancouver Board of Trade Company of Young Professionals Leadership Cafe, mentoring with Christina Baldwin and the Capilano University Community Development and Outreach folks, playing with graphic recording with the Collective Story Harvest process with the United Churches of Langley, a Collective Story Harvest and Open Space Technology day with 60 financial institution leaders, graphic recording for the Canadian Network for Respiratory Care with Jeff De Cagna in Toronto, theme weaving at the Western Cities Conference, assisting  at the biggest World Cafe ever (for me) with 800ish people, offering a short World Cafe and an improv workshop at the Young Women In Business’ Beyond Pink Conference,  innovating with government leadership development with an Open Space and a fun ‘Dragon’s Den’ inspired process at the Governexx Annual Forum, supporting the strategic planning and engagement process with the community-centred Rackets and Runners, facilitating a two-day Open Space conference for the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance, and an inspiring World Cafe session with the City of Burnaby Youth Services. Plus we planted seeds for our local Art of Hosting Community of Practice with a winter gathering, a sunny  summer gather on Bowen, and now are watering those seeds with AoH Drinks – monthly-ish meetups.

Me Opening Space at the XYBOOM Conference - photo credit Jeremy Lim
Me Opening Space at the XYBOOM Conference – photo credit Jeremy Lim

Spiritual Practice

My sweetie and I celebrated our five year anniversary this year and nourished ourselves with time at our cabin with lots of bike rides, long walks, reindeer games around the campfire, snowboarding at Mount Baker, lazy summer afternoons down at the big field, and countless summer picnics at the brand new Pier Park in New Westminster. I took my annual retreat in The Work of Byron Katie with my dear friend and facilitator Caitlin Frost on the beautiful Salt Spring Island. 2012 also marked my retirement from volleyball, which helped me focus more on my yoga practice. That focus got amplified in a big way with my participation in a 30 day yoga commitment (30 classes in 30 days). And lots of good books were enjoyed. Some favourites: Long Walk To Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, The Gifts of Imperfection, Coming Back To Life: Practices to Reconnect Out Life, The Soul of Money, Unbearable Lightness, The Alchemist, The Deep Democracy of Open Forums, and Graceling.

It was a great year – blessings indeed. Looking forward to what 2013 brings…

River Time 2012

3 replies on “Blessing For This Year”

You continue to inspire me, Amanda! Blessings on you for the coming year. May it be full of beauty and grace and learning and fun!