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Courage First, Talent Later: 10 Big Lessons Of 2015

12/31/2015 03:42 EST | Updated 12/31/2016 05:12 EST

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Learning a lesson isn't always a straightforward endeavour. I'm talking about the slow-burners -- the Groundhog Day lessons we encounter over and over that take years (or a lifetime) to fully get and integrate into the core of our being.

I've learned (slash am still learning) to be easier on myself when it comes to the slow-burners. Sure, the quick-draws are great: burn your hand on a hot pan, never do it again... okay, that's probably a slow-burner too.

Learning life lessons isn't as cut and dry as I once thought. They don't come as tidy parcels, ready to wear. To fully integrate a lesson we must undo behaviours and patterns in ourselves and this requires time and letting go.

I don't know the easiest way to learn a lesson. I do know though that gentleness, acceptance and a soft smile really helps. And so, here are my top slow-burners of life / 2015. Happy lesson learning (and learning and learning).

10 Slow-Burning Lessons Of Life / 2015

1. Courage first, talent later.

I never promised I was going to be good at stand-up but I did promise myself that I would kick off 2015 at an open mic. Having the tits to do something is the first step in living fun and free. Drum up the courage to try and let go of the outcome.

2. Alcohol is an empty promise.

After nearly two decades of participating in alcohol culture (I started young), I gave up the ghost forever. I finally saw booze for what it is: a mind-altering substance that we're all convinced makes life more fun. I call bullshit. Nowadays, I rely on myself to be awesome and not the crutch that is booze. I have way more fun, feel more confident and never have hangovers. #winning

3. Life can be (more of) a retreat.

I've never really gotten stoked on baths, save for the early years of crayon soaps and peeing in the water. Since procuring an apartment though where there's a tub separate to the shower (so lucky), I make sure to have a spa-moment to myself on the regular. Self-care daily = more smiles.

4. Writing a book isn't hard.

I like to control stuff and know the outcome before it's happened. With creativity (and most everything in life) that's impossible. I've learned to get out of the way and let the process unfold without my meddling hands. Letting go of the outcome has made working on my first book infinitely easier and more pleasurable.

5. Tortillas!

I made tortillas for the first time this year with a press and it was life-changing. They're so simple. Just corn flour, water and salt. Seriously. I even use them to make mini pizzas. Total revelation (especially if you're a non-gluten being).

6. Self-love is the key to life (and marriage).

Relationships work best when the love is a continuous circle; when each participant in the union loves themselves and the other person too. Self-love is the foundation of all love. Love yourself and the world will follow.

7. Verbs rule.

I'm so tired of defining myself with nouns -- "I'm a writer, a yoga teacher, a blah blah blah." Instead, I'm using action words to explain how my time is spent but not who I am: "I write, I teach yoga, etc." Because who I am is a soulful and evolving human, not something easily categorised in a bio line.

8. It's okay to look away.

I was told by a healer to stop getting tangled in the suffering of others. He told me to send love but not the resource of my energy at every single sad turn. Sending love, pure and clear, has more power than worry or guilt. Send love, full beam, then keep moving.

9. The hustle sucks.

As an entrepreneurial spirit and non-stop go-getter, I decided this year to kick the hustle. The hustle is too frantic, centred on what's next, how to get more, how to spread oneself further. I'm opting instead for fewer tasks done well, more quiet time, books, baths and nature.

10. Life ends mid-sentence.

I heard this some place and it sums up for me the nature of living and dying. Life is always happening and then, in one moment, it stops. I choose not to wait (not even when I'm actually waiting for someone or something). Instead, I practice living with less anticipation and more contentment. Right here, right now.

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