2023: 4L’s reflection and wrap up

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2023 reflections

I love a good reflection.  I see they’re quite de jour, so here’s my take on the last 12 months (framed as the 4L’s of retrospection). This feels like the fastest year on record, time has felt slippery and I have moved through it in a way that feels viscerally different.

+ WHAT I LOVED

This year was really framed by my strong communities and cemented that connection really is my ‘superpower.’

I started the year in an incredible way with some close mates and their families on Darkinjung country near Wiseman’s ferry. No phone reception, lovely weather, lots of time in nature and swimming in the river, kids playing and nowhere to be except on the dirt dancefloor.

For my birthday in April, I gathered a bunch of friends for lunch and it spawned a bi-monthly event I am calling Lady Folk Lunch – an opportunity to catch up with cool people I don’t get to see enough (and to act upon the incessant ‘we should catch up’).  It’s been so nourishing and energising to gather my friends (who yep, mostly identify as women) to eat and chat and click.  In 2024 I am going to keep them going and add in Lady Folk Fridays for some more work style connections.

I loved continuing to be a part of Ash King’s SHRNKS events for like-minded therapists and hanging with her generally – including our time up at BigSound and wild 4 nights in LA.  I got to meet my Metaversal Wellbeing partner in intentional-internet Kelly Cloutier IRL, which was such a gift.

I also had the great gift of attending the Hoffman Process in Byron for 7 days in May.  It deserves its own post, but was an experience that exceeded my expectations in many really wonderful ways.

+ WHAT I LOATHED/LACKED

The referendum result on October 14.

The response from state and federal governments across Australia to the attacks on Gaza or at least the first 67 days of the conflict.

The trolling behaviour I copped by someone on twitter who hilariously promotes banning mobile phones so kids will better socialised. In 12 years on the platforms I have never been attacked so consistently and personally.

Enough exercise.

More estrogen, less perimenopause

How everything is a superpower.

+ WHAT I LONGED FOR

More time in Bali (like it was in 1997 though) and a return to India.  Its been 13 years since I patted cows in Rishikesh and seeing my friend Victoria travel around on her yoga retreat made me really crave proper masala chai and the pace of India. I really want to take my kiddo off to these places.

More time offline.  I started the year with 4 days unplugged, I had another 7 when I did the Hoffman Process in May and the flight to and from LA allowed me to go offline for a good bunch of time and rest (thanks to my great block out eye mask and neck rest I got 8+ hours on the way home and totally gave jetlag the finger!).

Down time and to potter around at home more. To be in my garden and spend more time wrangling the weeds that seem to pop up in a blink.  We are slowly transforming our backyard into a permaculture orchard, with more edibles and nature.

+ WHAT I LEARNED

I have been flirting around some of the white girl lady boss communities this year.  I have a love/hate feeling about a lot of them, I am curious about them and what they offer, but have a real ‘emperor’s new clothes’ vibe often too. It feels too beige/fawn/taupe, too perfectly groomed, too saccharine for me – I’m colourful and messy and honest so I don’t feel like I am part of the ‘gang’ (a feeling I have had since I was 9).  Yet I drank some kool aide and dove in. It was fun, and I got what I needed – now it’s time to anchor in my own knowledge and power and take it back from the girly guru grossness

To sit in discomfort more.  A very dear family member has been ravaged by the effects of Parkinson’s disease and after further deterioration is now in (the very good care) of a nursing home. Spending time there has been challenging, but a privilege and while I often resist going and selfishly seek to avoid the discomfort, I am learning to gently take myself there without expectation or excuses. It’s a kind of living grief that I haven’t experienced like this before

I went to a range of conferences and events this year and am always garnering new insights I can apply in my work (as someone said to me ‘learning without application is just mental masturbation’!)

  • Forbes Women: Ok, so not usually my scene (see above) but it was a powerful and fun day, where I met some cool folks.
  • REMIX: always edgy and arty and connects up all parts of my cognitions and experience into some wonderful possibilities
  • AI symposium from the APS: just mind-blowing really, the future is a freight train.
  • SxSW Sydney: 5/10 too much on, too many locations, not a tonne of vibing.
  • Psychology of technology, USC, LA: Like the APS event I saw academics present some pretty edgy research and ideas that are a glimmer of what’s on the horizon
  • Purpose: If I only go to one event a year it would be this, they get conferencing right.
  • Happiness and Its Causes: sadly it had its 18th and final event this year, but is always a space of gentle reflection and peaceful possibilities, I find it like a soul salve.

I’ve also learned to go more inward.  While I am a hyper-extrovert, I also increasingly love a deeper reflection and percolation of ideas that resonate.  My mind is a delicate spiders web of connections, patterns and reverberations that help me make sense of the world, and while I used to feel compelled to share these, I now keep these much more to folks in my inner circle.

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