The importance of reflection: 2016 a brave year

I realise I've done this backwards somehow. I posted my 'it's 2017 look forward to the year and set your goals' post a few days ago and now I'm posting about reflecting on 2016. 

But I guess that's how my brain works so here goes.

I am lucky enough to work for an organisation that values reflection as core to its everyday functioning. In every meeting, training session or presentation we are always encouraged to reflect. 

We teach the young people we work with to reflect on their achievements and challenges they have faced. And so we challenge ourselves to do the same.

I have learnt the importance of reflecting on my life and I've been doing a lot of that over the last few weeks. 

For Christmas I received a large print of this stunning photo from Nikolai. Taken by our dear friend John at a moment that I will never forget.

We had been hiking in the cold and rain for a couple of days at this point. The air was thin and John and I were struggling massively with the altitude. There is nothing like the feeling that you simply cannot get enough oxygen to your body to keep you going at barely a gentle stroll. 

On the second day I had wanted to turn back, finding the altitude overwhelming, with an injured toe made worse by the thin air stopping it from healing. After some tears and a lot of encouragement from the other 4 in our group we pressed on, together.

On day 3 We took a rest day to help acclimatise before we headed over the mountain pass at 4,750 metres the next day.  At this point, we had barely seen the views surrounding us because of constant cloud coverage and pretty steady rain. 

Exhausted and in pain, I was feeling pretty beat up and spent the day in our tiny broken tent resting and writing. Then suddenly the clouds broke, as if appearing from nowhere we were engulfed in the most spectacular views of the glaciers. For a few brief moments we were awestricken by the beauty and magnitude of where we were.

Just the 5 of us sitting on these rocks in the middle of nowhere. 

 Santa Cruz trek, Peru - Mountain Pass

Santa Cruz trek, Peru - Mountain Pass

Shortly after, the clouds returned and the mountains hid from our sight. We got back into our little tents and the next day we pressed on to pass over the mountains shrouded in fog and clouds. 

For many people (myself included) 2016 was a year highlighted by grief, fear and hatred. But looking back I'm reminded that it was also a year that people pushed through to show each other and the world love, grace and kindness.

There were so many stories of people coming together to fight against hate and fear. Be it at Standing Rock, the Alberta tar sands, the fossil fuel divestment movement or with Black Lives Matter.

I know that for me love won over hate in 2016. For sure, this year I felt like turning back and giving up so many times. But I didn't.

On reflection, I choose to remember 2016 as the year that despite being broken, bruised and afraid, we encouraged each other, we pressed on together and we chose to be brave. 

I hope that we can remember how brave we really are and be inspired to keep being brave no matter what 2017 brings our way.

Go wildly & slow

N x