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Heartwork Journaling Awards – Reflecting on Your Birthday Milestones

How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you go out and party with friends? Take a trip? Stay home with a good book? Stay curled up in bed, feel lonely, lost binge watching Downton Abbey?

Those have all been ways I’ve celebrated birthdays before.

For the last 15 years, the day before each birthday, I’ve created space for mindful reflection on the past year.

This year, I created some Heartwork Journaling awards. Here are 5 of them – please feel free to award them to yourself, too!

Heartwork Journaling Award #1 – Take Imperfect Action

take imperfect brave action

What action have you taken in the last 12 months towards your dreams?

When I’m coaching my clients, I sometimes suggest they document the action they’re taking for 3-7 days. It can feel like a pain but it will give you a crystal clear look at what actions you’ve been taking. It usually reveals things like this:

  • busywork not connected to making your dreams reality…
  • fear that can manifest as planning, planning, planning and yup, planning some more…
  • saying “yes” when you should say “no” to more things…

This year I’m happy to report that I have taken a TON of brave and imperfect action like starting my Heartwork Journaling livestreams.

Heartwork Journaling Award #2 – Stay in Your Lane

stay in your lane - codependence

I’ve been working on this one for many years and have improved a lot. In my personal life, this year has been a huge one for learning to stay in my lane in my relationships.

It can feel really, really, really hard to do as a caring, kind and nurturing person, not to mention being a coach. Giving unsolicited helpful advice to loved ones is something I’m TRYING not to do. That can make the other person feel judged and shamed.

When you find yourself wanting to give advice (and you WILL) take a beat, breathe deep. Practice empathy instead.

Say things like:

I am here for you. I believe in you. I understand how you must be feeling (IF you do.) I don’t understand how you must be feeling (IF you don’t) but know that you matter to me.

If you slip and go into “fixer” advice-giving mode, stop and ask the other person, “I apologize. Are you asking me for advice or would you rather I be present with you through this?”

Heartwork Journaling Award #3 – Cultivate & Celebrate Friendships

friendship and womenThis one has been HUGE for me this year. A few of years ago I found my life lacked female friendships and sisterhood.

How could that be? I’m a “nice” person! Here are a couple of reasons:

I’d been living SO much in my masculine energy- go-go-go, hustle-hustle-hustle, achieve, hunt – that many of my female friendships had died of neglect.

Female friendship had also died for me because of MY lack of healthy boundaries. I would over-give and feel depleted. Eventually, this caused me to shut friendship down too.

Over the last few years, I made a conscious decision to invite deep, soul-filling, healthy-boundaried with mutual ebb and flow, give and take friendships back into my life.

I’ve practiced setting boundaries with evolving friendships and that has caused a couple of them to die. That’s OK. I won’t say it wasn’t painful, but it had to happen. I’ve had uncomfortable and uncertain moments with new friends where I wasn’t sure what would happen but the friendships weathered the boundary-setting and became stronger.

As you practice setting boundaries with respect and love, those who stick around are your true friends.

This award specifically says CELEBRATE your friend’s blessing’s and be able to be PRESENT with them through the tough stuff too. BOTH are equally important.

Heartwork Journaling Award #4 – Celebrate Your Age

I’m approaching my birthday with a VERY different attitude this year. Seeing photos from a recent trip to Europe, I noticed more wrinkles and way more grey hairs.

I noticed the difference in skin tone. Noticed photos where I was having a hot flash. (It was probably summer heat.)  Noticed the difference in stamina and energy.

It’s so easy to compare yourself to your youthful past. I admit to going “there” a few times. It’s easy to compare yourself to what media feeds us – photoshopped faces and impossibly perfect bodies.

Rather  than shame myself or “woe-is-me” about a completely natural thing – AGING, I choose to EMBRACE it fully this year.

This award entitles you to:

  • see every wrinkle, sag, and skin imperfection as a beautiful quilt that is EVIDENCE of your full life. As a human, you’ve laughed until you’ve cried, you’ve cried until there were no tears left.
  • realize you’ve EARNED each grey hair because you’ve worried and fretted about things that mattered because you CARED & DREAMED.
  • feel each ache and pain as a sweet reminder that you’ve moved, danced, played and fallen time and time again… and still you get up to do it all again.
  • reframe any melasma on your skin as evidence you played a vital part in the circle of life. When I see that beautiful map on my forehead from failed pregnancies and fertility treatments, it means I HOPED & TRIED. Or, it might simply mean you had a love affair with the sun.

woman's qi - yellow emperor classicIn our culture, we pathologize aging – especially for women.

I am officially DONE with that and will use Heartwork Journaling to create reminders when I forget. My friends do this to themselves almost each time we talk. They are some of the most truly beautiful women on Earth. I heard myself do it on a call with a friend yesterday.

This is a fun way to HONOR what you’ve earned over the decades. Other cultures honor and revere aging. In China, menopause is viewed as a Second Spring for women. Here’s a beautiful quote from the Yellow Emperor Classic written around 2600 BC…

At seven times seven a woman’s heavenly dew wanes; the pulse of her conception channel decreases. The Qi that dwelt in the baby’s palace moves upward into her HEART, and her WISDOM is deepened.

Heartwork Journaling Award #5 – Appreciate Your Body Instead of Wishing It Was Different

appreciate your bodyThis one is related to the one above but I had to give it a special award. She is a play on the Venus de Milo since I recently returned from Paris I wanted to use her as my doodle-muse.

This award isn’t a pass to eat anything and stop caring for your body. This year I made the decision that exercise and movement was going to be more gentle and more fun.

More long walks in nature with my rescue dog Rocky, trying different types of exercise that are less straining on my body. Consciously using exercise as a form of being more present with my body instead of using it as a penalty for eating a bit too much or as a form of shaming abuse in order to remain a small clothing size.

What awards will you give yourself?

As your birthday comes and goes this year, how will you reflect on the past 12 months? What awards will you give yourself? How about creating some awards for yourself? Let me know in the comments section – I would LOVE to celebrate with you.

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  1. Tracy on July 26, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Wow!! Maritza you are back in a BIG way! wi This one hit me hard in the heart. The move you help us make from critical self-talk to gifting ourselves with awards of love and self-care through creativity is brilliant. I can’t wait to see and hear more from you. Thank you so much, Maritza!!!

    • Maritza Parra on July 27, 2018 at 8:17 am

      Thank you Tracy! I’m so excited to share these! You probably recognize some of the things we chat about!! <3

  2. Julia on July 26, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Maritza, this is so liberating. I am following your advice and giving myself permission to enjoy the gifts time has given me. No more comparing, no more looking back. Instead I will enjoy today and the wisdom acquired through the years. I want to take all the awards but the one I need most is # 1 : be brave and take imperfect action. Thank you for your generosity and the beautiful way you share your wisdom.

    • Maritza Parra on July 27, 2018 at 8:18 am

      Thank you Julia, I agree #1 is probably the one people (including myself) have the most difficulty with – especially when building the business they want.

  3. Fran Watson on July 26, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    These are wonderful awards. I hope to be able to give myself Award #5 this year.
    Thank you and bless you!

    • Maritza Parra on July 27, 2018 at 8:20 am

      Blessing received Fran and sending some right back to you! I still struggle sometimes with all of these and when I do, I either journal about it or take a look at these awards on my Vision Board to remember my self-promises. It helps!

  4. […] and decided to stay together and work harder and better at growing our relationship. In fact, Heartwork Journaling Award #2 from last week is a LOT of our new way of showing up in our relationship. This doodle helps remind […]

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