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The Alchemy of Inspiration and Reflection

As we gallop towards the end of 2023, so many of us are usually so stressed by what we haven’t achieved in the last year and what we still wish to squeeze into the last few weeks of the year. Stress levels normally heighten. Things that ordinarily would wash off one like water off a duck's back tend to accumulate and the littlest of things send our stress levels through the roof. But what if we just stopped for a moment and thought about not going into a collective frenzy of stress?

What if we each gave ourselves a moment to reflect and ask what inspired us this year? I am taking little moments in my days, these days, to really sit in quiet reflection and at the same time feel myself being drawn to that which inspires me.

For quite a few years I stopped celebrating the Western New Year on the 1st of January. Lots of reasons which aren’t too important but the main one being, feeling a great sense of overwhelm that from just one day to the next I need an entire gear change, I need to know what my goals are, I need to have a road map, I need a concrete plan. It’s unachievable for me and so I feel I have failed before I have even started the year.

I am fascinated and love to celebrate the Chinese New Year which falls roughly in February, my favourite month and usually coincides with my birthday. It’s a 2 week celebration and it welcomes a new animal deity that rules the new year with a new element. 2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon. A powerful year to look forward to. So it is in this time where it’s so important to take stock and reflect on the year past.

Inspiration and reflection are often seen as opposing forces, but they are actually complementary. Inspiration provides the spark that ignites our desire to change, while reflection provides the guidance we need to make those changes successfully.

Reflection is really the process of thinking deeply about our experiences, thoughts, and feelings. It allows us to gain a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. When we reflect, we can identify patterns in our behaviour, recognize our strengths and weaknesses, and learn from our mistakes.

Inspiration is a sudden surge of motivation or creative energy. It can come from a variety of sources, such as nature, art, music, literature, or even everyday experiences. When we are inspired, we feel a sense of possibility and excitement about the future. We are more likely to believe in ourselves and our ability to achieve our goals.

Inspiration and reflection are two powerful forces that can drive personal growth, creativity, and success. Inspiration sparks new ideas and motivates us to take action, while reflection allows us to learn from our experiences and make better decisions in the future.

By combining these two practices, we can create a powerful cycle of growth and development. Here are some tips for combining inspiration and reflection to create a powerful cycle of growth and development:

  • Seek out inspiration regularly. Make time to engage in activities that spark your creativity and imagination. Visit museums, read inspiring books, listen to uplifting music, do things you say you want to do but never quite find the time for, and spend time in nature.

  • Take regular breaks from reflection. Don't get stuck in a loop of negative self-talk. Take breaks to engage in activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with loved ones, exercising, or pursuing hobbies.

  • Be open to new experiences. Step out of your comfort zone and try new things. You never know what might inspire you.

  • Keep a journal or blog. This is a great way to capture your thoughts and feelings as you reflect on your experiences.

  • Talk to a trusted friend or mentor. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with others can help you gain new perspectives and insights.

By combining inspiration and reflection, you can create a powerful force for personal growth and success. Remembering that, inspiration is the spark, and reflection is the fuel that keeps one going. Giving yourself the gift of taking time to reflect on all you have achieved this last year and follow that which inspires you towards the new year, is a most valuable present.

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