Approximately five years ago, my friend asked me a life-altering question. At that time, I had been struggling with the dissonance between my core values and my role as a physician in a broken and misguided healthcare system.

I pondered the scenario and time seemed to stand still, as if my life depended on the answer. It was one of those moments when everything became laser focused and the fabric of time unraveled before my eyes.

While most of us have no idea how long we have to enjoy this human experience on earth, we act as if time is infinite.

It’s not.

We think we will get to the fun stuff later.

We don’t.

We believe that, after our obligations are met, we will finally have time to live our lives and bond affectionately with our family.

We never do.

Or it’s too late and they’ve left for college.

We prioritize work, schedules, money and materialism while delaying time with loved ones, self-care and connecting with core values.

When I started reading Mira Kirshenbaum’s book, “The Gift of a Year”, my first thought was that it was impossible. As I read women’s stories about how they changed their lives by gifting themselves something personally relevant, I considered all the women I knew who would benefit from such a plan, but it would never work for me. I was too busy. I had too much to do. I could never manage the time for such frivolity. And then I realized that the book had been placed in my hands for a reason and it reminded me of my friend’s question.

Again, time stood still.

I have been open to plenty of personal reflections, soul searching and spiritual work. I’ve committed to vast amounts of business planning and forward projections. I’ve spent countless hours tapping into my unique gifts and talents. But I have never allowed myself a full year to connect the beats of my life so that the symphony is tenderly, playfully and ferociously unleashed.

So, I picked up pen and paper and got to work planning my gift to me.

Did I want to add something to my life or take something away? Did I want to include others or do something purely for, and by, myself? Did I want to revisit a fond memory from the past or learn something completely new? The options were endless.

A brand new year is the perfect time to begin this process so that life takes shape around the things that matter most, instead of the other way around.

If you are hemorrhaging energy by serving others and want to stop the bleeding,

Here is a prescription to get you started:

  • Fill the prescription! I am an MD and I am licensed to write prescriptions. I am writing this one for you:
  • “ONE full year that includes YOU!  A year of learning all the things that bring you joy so that you can unleash your fully realized, fully expressed self in 2018 – substitutions allowed – refills unlimited - apply as necessary to affected areas – never share your prescriptions”
  • Rest and Elevation. Spend time alone DAILY until you figure out what you are missing most. Buy a journal and brainstorm ideas. No filtering! Anything goes – just write down all the things you wish you could get to and all the plans you keep sidelining. Let the fun begin! This is my favorite part because the process taps into many hidden desires and fun memories and generates a document that I can go back to over and over again when I’m searching for me.
  • Apply direct pressure. Take all of your incredible ideas and focus them into ONE intention for YOUR year. Will you spend a year trying a new hobby? Will you read by the pool more often? Will you date your partner in new and exciting ways? Will you finally get that garden going? These are some of the ideas on MY list. I’d love to hear yours. I’ll share my specific gift and the progress I am making within our Empowered Women’s Circle throughout 2018.
  • Surgery or stitches may be required. As you start to align with a new approach to life, a re-organization occurs. The people in your life have come to expect a certain you and, mostly likely, that hasn’t been someone who prioritizes self-care or alone-time. But that doesn’t mean it can’t work. It just means that the very structure upon which your life is built (the scaffolding that hasn’t supported your dreams until now), needs to be rebuilt in a way that molds and forms more freely around the deeper truth that you are important too. This is the part that gets many women stuck so if you are sinking into self-dialogue that has you giving up before you even start – call a doctor right away and go back to Step 1.

Now that you are bandaged and ready to heal, let me ask you the same question that my friend asked me all those years ago….

“What would you do if you only had one year to live?”

Within the safe, accepting community of our Empowered Women’s Circle, we extend loving support for each other. Connect with us so YOUR gift for 2018 can take shape and become a new reality. Here’s to your dreams for 2018!

Ref: Mira Kirshenbaum. The Gift of a Year. How to Achieve the Most Meaningful, Satisfying and Pleasurable Year of Your Life.
Ref: Claire Zammit, Feminine Power