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Lessons From The Book Of 2011. And Learnings For Life

For many people I know (and for myself at times), 2011 has been quite a hard year. It’s held times of real challenge, times of worry, times of loss. Yet there were still beautiful bits that sparkled through it in the light.

Has it been that way for you?

As we all get ready to farewell 2011 and open a new calendar for 2012, perhaps it’s worth reviewing, for a moment, what we’re actually leaving behind. And what, if anything, you might like to carry forward with you into your future.

For there are clues written into this past year that can help you uncover what’s important and fulfilling to you, how to invite more of that in, and how you want to live your life.

Let’s take a look…

If you take a minute just now and let your mind wander where it will over the last 365 days or so, what are some of the images that flash before you? Just get a small sense of the plot of this particular book, this particular year – what happened?

And then what are some of the lessons or learnings or meanings you drew from those events? How did you make sense of things? Which storylines seemed easiest to focus on?

Which new parts of yourself did you discover in the process of living this last year?
Maybe an unsuspected strength.
Or a growing flexibility that helped you bend and not break.
Or a new softness of compassion within – compassion for others and maybe even for yourself…
What were your “growing edges” this year?

And what did you learn about the process of living, itself? It seems a bit of a weird question in a way. But as this is your life – uniquely yours – there might be areas in it that science or common sense or general knowledge or statistical probability may not be able to cover. Areas that you, alone, get to discover and make sense of. Areas that also might help you decide how you want to live this life of yours – what your guiding principles or values could be.

So what are some of the values or principles or meanings you lived by this year that helped you create the kind of life that feels fulfilling for you? What steered you in the right direction when all else was veering off-course? What took you to the places your heart could say “yes” to?

It may help to look at when you were proud of yourself this year.
And what you were doing at the time.

Or when you were graced with the gift of happiness (however fleeting it may have seemed).
And what ingredients contributed to that moment – maybe who you were with, and what they mean to you, or what you were undertaking at the time.

Or even when the chalice of pain was passed to you.
And what helped you through the tough times you faced.

All are pointers and clues to what might make a meaningful life story for you.

And perahps all are things to look at again, mindfully weigh up and decide if you’d like to take any of them with you into 2012. And maybe even beyond…


Text and photo copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
Lessons From The Book Of 2011. And Learnings For Life

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

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APA Reference
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2011). Lessons From The Book Of 2011. And Learnings For Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Dec 2011
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