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  • Writer's pictureCassie (Thompson) Hillesland


Recently, I was reflecting back on the past year, as we have just been through an entire year of the pandemic. I re-read a yoga journal of mine and I came across an entry I wrote about one year ago – right before the pandemic struck.

Let me preface this by saying I know how original this list looks – but I do truly find it helpful to write down things I want to do more / less of each month. AND most months – the list does not change much – yet – I still refer to it and MAYBE think to myself “I should say ‘no’ to that thing I don’t want to do” or “maybe I should give yourself the space to rest tonight”.

Here is what the list said:

  • Meditate more

  • Limit screen time

  • Read more

  • More selfcare time

  • More rest & recovery

  • Be more creative

  • Move my body more

  • Work WITH myself – not ON myself

  • Eat mindfully

  • Say “NO” more

  • Work on my relationships

  • Work Less

  • Enjoy more

. . and by April, I (like all of us) was stuck at home, door-dashing, and binging Tiger King on Netflix. Looking back over the past year, I ask myself:

Did I limit my screen time, move my body more, and work less? Probably not.

But did I have more time for selfcare, rest, and space to work on my relationships? Yes.

I cannot help but think how many times I thought to myself “this has to be the worst year ever”. Although, I cannot say it was the best year ever and, collectively, the world was and is grieving the loss of ‘normalcy’. What I can say is that I learned I am able to find the joy in the bittersweet things.

The following quote from Shauna Niequist, the author of Present Over Perfect, is one I like to refer to when thinking about the bittersweet moments in life. She says “When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”

At times, I feel as though I have not accomplished much in the past year. But then I sit back and think . . .

In the past 365 days, I have:

  • Started my new career at Ten Acre Marketing

  • Got engaged

  • Started wedding planning

  • Lost my grandma

  • Closed a business

  • Remolded a house

  • Started moving

  • Finished a 15-month yoga training

  • Spent more time on selfcare

  • Gave myself space to rest & recover

  • Worked WITH myself – not ON myself

  • Ate more mindfully

  • Said “NO” more

  • Worked on my relationships

Many of these things being oh, so sweet and called for celebration (like getting engaged) and many were bitter and called for growth (the loss of my grandma). In the past year, I learned you cannot have one emotion without knowing the other. Much like you cannot know what joy brings without knowing the pain sorrow brings - you cannot know what sweetness is without knowing the feeling of the bitterness.

While I must admit, there were many rough days. . . as I look back on the past year, I am thankful for all the bitterness that helped me grow.


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