What qualities served you best?

by | Dec 12, 2019

  • Reviewing the year is about more than just balancing a ledger.
  • Trust, Doubt, Joy, and Self-compassion have and will continue to play key roles.
  • Happy New Year, and thankyou.

As the year draws to a close, it is natural to muse on the mental stocktake. You know: What worked? What didn’t? How will next year be different?  I’ve already done that in this year’s Year in review — a retrospective if you will of the mechanics of what made 2019 the year that it was.  But I think it’s also important to do it with a focus on the qualities that served me best, and I encourage you to do the same.

For me, I recognised that in earlier years I have wanted to create more Zen, in more life. Curiously, it seems the more I focus on that the more I initially engineer the reverse. However, I feel like that is an outcome that is based on an innate desire and curiosity that sees me looking to mark out limits in order to test them. 

That said, I’ve accomplished much:

I’ve unpacked (figuratively and literally) a lot this year, and I’m better for it.

I’m now meditating regularly and life is much simpler in many ways.

I am deeply appreciative of good health and being back on the path of maintaining that. 

I am breathing more, and breathing better. Letting go. 

Last year, if you saw my Facebook feed,  I used the quality of “ease” as my touchpoint.  When considering things, decisions, opportunities I asked myself, whether that thing has a sense of ease about it. 

Because that seems a little more achievable than zen – and, curiously, in applying a lens of ease, it became clear that I perhaps achieved more of a state of zen. Or, at the very least, moved closer to it. So, in the coming year I want to focus more on qualities that will serve me best.

I continue to have a challenged relationship with Doubt.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Doubt is very useful, and I am grateful for Doubt’s protection during the year. But when Doubt is given too much opportunity, it paralyses, and undermines, it complicates, and it shoves Joy in a bottom drawer. 

Doubt subscribes to astrologer’s feeds, re-does budgets endlessly, needs a counsellor to listen to it, and is so very, very tiring.

I’m really looking forward to giving Trust a spotlight this coming year. Trust can come and play more often. She’ll probably wear swirling bohemian skirts, and less make-up. Trust is liberating, doesn’t mind an occasional mistake (learns from them, really). 

Trust’s voice is not necessarily loud, but it is steady and has a deep and warm vocal tone. Trust strides confidently forward and acts after consulting doubt. Trust recognises the principle of abundance and is liberating – because Trust expects Joy to be right around the corner. 

So, Trust will get to play with me personally and professionally in 2020. A lot!

Trust will be kept company by Self-compassion. Self-compassion is seldom consulted, but always necessary. She seems gratuitous and extravagant, but in essence she is the bare basics. She whispers a lot. Steadily, attentively, but sometimes she is really hard to hear. It’s my intent to give her voice a lot more next year. It might be an uneasy alliance, but with time, I think we’ll get more comfortable. 

One of my most favourite books in all the world is J Ruth Gendler’s The Book of Qualities. Initially published in 1984, it is a gorgeous little book of 98 different qualities illustrated through prose and picture. I think I got it about 20 years ago now, and it is never far away. Seriously, in the words of a local icon “Do yourself a favour”…

Here’s what she has to say about Doubt:

Doubt camped out in the living room last week. I told him that we had too many house guests. Doubt doesn’t listen. He keeps saying the same thing again and again and again until I completely forget what I am trying to tell him. Doubt is demanding and not very generous, but I appreciate his honesty.

Now, Trust

Trust is the daughter of Truth. She has an objective memory, neither embellishing nor denying the past. She is an ideal confidant – gracious, candid and discreet. Trust talks to people who need to hear her; she sits quietly with this who are sceptical of words.

Her presence is subtle, simple and undeniable.


Trust rarely buys round-trip tickets because she is never sure how long she will be gone and when she will return. Trust is at home in the desert and the city, with dolphins and tigers, with outlaws, lovers and saints.  When Trust bought her house she tore out all the internal walls, strengthened the foundation and rebuilt the door. Trust is not fragile, but she has no need to advertise her strength. She has a gambler’s respect for the interplay between luck and skill; she is the mother of Love.

So with at least 98 qualities available – my question to you, heading into 2020, is what Quality will serve you best?

What quality do you need to harness, to nurture, to appreciate to create the 2020 you will be happy for?

Happy New Year all, and thanks so much for your comments and emails during the year. I trust we will continue the conversation!

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