2012 was my year of “what’s now.

2013 my year of staying the course . . . of loving what is ahead by loving what has come before.

the past few days as I’ve pondered my intentions for 2014, as I’ve struggled to find the words to describe my aspirations for the year to come, I kept coming back to this:

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this photo is a selfie I took the afternoon of sunday december 22.

I was in the parking lot at the No Frills at Dundas West and Landsdowne, about to head into the store to buy some veggies for the lasagna I planned to make that evening.

after a quick glance at the clock to make sure I could manage to get in and out and back on the road quickly enough to be on time for meeting my younger brother and his fiancé at a nearby home store later that afternoon, I did a quick appearance check in the review mirror.

my eyes, dancing with excitement, stared back at me.

and suddenly, I needed to capture that moment.

I was lit up.

fulfilled.

totally and completely connected to purpose.

that morning I had completed my first shift as a help line volunteer with Toronto Distress Centres.

it was hard.

but also.

incredibly fulfilling.

I am so blessed to have had a number of people in my life tell me that I’m good at things.

a good writer.

a strong analyst.

a reliable leader.

but that day, for the first time in a long while, I felt like I was good at something without having anyone there to validate it.

I just knew it.

like I knew when I signed up to become a Distress Centres volunteer that it was a good move for me.

despite the cautionary words of a couple of people who know me best.

people who, from a place of loving kindness, expressed concern that exposing myself to callers in crisis might trigger some dark feelings in me.

people who know just how big an impact the addiction and mental health issues of some people in my life has had on me in recent years.

one of the acronyms that I loved best from the hours of training I completed before my first help line shift was WAIT.

Why Am I Talking?

a reminder that if you are constantly focused on what next to say to a caller, or find yourself jumping in to tell them how to solve their problem, then you are not really listening. you are robbing the caller of the empowering experience of being heard.

so, my intention for 2014 is this:

I won’t stop seeking counsel from others.

I will continue to accept compliments and appreciate their value as a component of my confidence level.

but I will also create more space for my own instincts to be heard.

I will empower myself by ensuring that when something feels right, when my eyes start to dance with the excitement of knowing I’m onto something good, I will tune out the rest of the world and just . . . listen.

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