Year-In Review 2022 Part I: The beginning of something magical
Making space for Magic to unfold
What a year! 2022 has been full of ups and downs. So much has happened it’s impossible to summarize it within a post, so I’ve split it into two parts, this first detailing most of Jan-May 2022 which was overflowing, busy and very Yang 阳 active in nature. Join my mailing list (scroll down to the bottom) to be notified when part 2 is published.
Reconciling Yin-Yang 阴阳: A special friendship
COVID took many of us by surprise. My response in 2021 was to fortify myself, embody Yang 阳- becoming unshakeable, clear-minded, resilient and self-sustaining, but towards the end of the year I realised that was incomplete. I am a huge believer of the motto, ‘Ask for what you want’, and thus on Jan 2 2022 I published a reflection on 2021, declaring to the world, (thereby holding myself accountable), that 2022 instead with be dedicated to inviting in Yin 阴 through embodying the 3 qualities of courage, gladness and most importantly unshakeable trust.
Of course, Life was already helping me manifest this request months before I even made it – In October 2021 Barbara came to the Digital entrepreneurs gathering that I dreamed up and organised in Turin. I had a good feeling immediately once I saw her; as if something exciting was imminent. Not wanting to waste any time, I immediately said yes when she offered for me to stay over at her place in the mountains.
What unfolded was a friendship cultivated over breakfasts, coffees and conversation at historic coffee shops in Turin and walks in the mountains all around Piemonte.
What new relationships have unfolded for you 2022 that you want to celebrate?
Inspired Action with no Agenda: Co-creating BW No filters with Barbara
In February, an unexpected invitation came from Barbara to co-create something together – a simple thought, that we share our private conversations, about inspired action, intuition and manifesting our dreams with the world, without any predetermined agenda, a specific desired output or product, and absolutely no ideal client or ‘goal’ in mind. Something I might have otherwise dismissed immediately, but somehow, because it was Barbara, because of the preciousness of it all I jumped at the chance.
Soon enough I felt even more clearly the magic I sensed in our initial encounters. Barbara is as introverted as I am extroverted, I am as much a teacher as she is a creator, she enjoys the cold as much as I thrive in the heat, she is as organic as I am structured. We are as different as night and day, or Black and White, Barbara and Wenlin, which became the inspiration for our instagram handle, BW_Nofilters
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As April arrived, feeling mentally, physically and emotionally spent, as mutually agreed, our collaboration came to a pause. In this time while we each juggled multiple projects, reaped from our more than 50 hours of co-creation together was
- BW_Nofilters, a modest new instagram account with 65 followers
- 2 Livestream Talks on InsightTimer with 70-80 attendees each in March & April
- 8 podcast episodes, with 3 published episodes – Don’t interrupt your ideas, Beat your self-limiting beliefs
- 30 stream-of-consciousness chats, “7 minute Buzz”, many of which were done right after I rolled out of bed
- A deeper friendship and understanding of Barbara
- A newfound insight into uncharted aspects of myself
- And, very importantly, breadcrumbs through the form of a poorly written first draft of my own experience as a woman a reflection shared on FB and audio story Learning | Loving to be a woman and the Heroine’s Path.
At that time I didn’t yet have the words to describe what I had gone through, but 2 months later I would find new vocabulary to describe and understand this, and many of my past powerful experiences.
💭 When was the last time you followed a creative impulse, or did something without a specific agenda? How did it go? How did you feel?
Women Role models: Sigrun Gudjonsdottir & Dr. Uma Dinsmore-Tuli
Through co-creation with Barbara on BW_Nofilters I was prompted to reflect on my identity and values as a woman. Concurrently, through the first quarter of 2022 I was enrolled in Sigrun Gudjonsdottir’s SOMBA kickstart program, creating and beta-testing a four week online productivity program for menstruating change-makers, while still continuing Yoni Shakti Women’s Yoga Therapy training with my teacher, Dr. Uma Dinsmore Tuli. Uma and Sigrun became for me, two distinct and extremely different role models for me as a woman, even more different than Barbara and myself.
Sigrun’s audacity (she asked for the position of CEO at her last full-time job), her eruditeness, directness, and charisma are just a few of the multiple reasons why I signed up for her coaching program. She is a true leader – successful, confident, inspiring and certain that she could help others like myself gain financial freedom and success. It’s thanks to Sigrun and and team that this Year in Review post was even created. She is clearly a brilliant and effective entrepreneur and marketer.
At the same time, Sigrun’s approach of insisting that we follow her tried-and-tested blueprint for success, not deviating or experimenting with other tools or methods, and the way sometimes when speaking to her coachees she came across as if a parent speaking to a child didn’t resonate with me.
Uma on the other hand, had always come across to me as someone heartfelt and in service of something greater than herself. The heart of Uma’s work lies in supporting women through their life cycle, eradicating the abuse of women in Yoga through Yoni Shakti the movement, and raising awareness of and supporting our environment and planet. Her unique Women’s Yoga Therapy training drew me in, but every encounter we had, her words touched me heart and soul.
What role models have you drawn inspiration and insight from in 2022?
Hope in Desolation: By-donation Qigong & Yoga to #StandWithUkraine
On Thursday 24th February, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War. I remember requesting to reschedule a work meeting because the anger and worry was so overwhelming I simply couldn’t concentrate. In the hours that followed I created an event on the 26th February Saturday on InsightTimer, Stand With Ukraine Qigong Yoga Nidra in Solidarity & Support, a by-donation Qigong Nidra class, whose proceeds would support relief aid for the Ukrainians, and a heartfelt email to my mailing list calling for support.
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That would become my best ever (to-date) attended InsightTimer live class, with 438 attendees and over US$304.25 in donations collected, quite a great turnout considering my modest 500+ followers and limited experience (I started January 1st 22’) at the time. The actual donation amount would have been closer to US$543.30 before processing fees, but InsightTimer refused to waive them. I continued to offer all donations collected through March till 3 April as the war dragged on.
Some expressed puzzlement at why I seemed so invested in an unrelated crisis so distant from us. To inspire and move others to stand with Ukraine, to tell my story, and the story of a friend of mine, Roman Torgovistky, Harvard-trained scientist and sleep expert, I created an audio story, Dream with Me.
💭 What important events unfolded in 2022 that shook your world? How did you respond? And how are you now?
A pivotal email: Losing faith, losing steam & realising what matters
On Sunday, 13th March I received an email from Sigrun’s team, ‘Hole in One’, detailing Sigrun’s golf triumphs on her holiday in Tenerife as the Ukraine war dragged on.
That’s what I am doing right now, taking care of my mental health, by taking a break even though it feels weird to take time off when there are so many people suffering. But remember what they say on the airplane, you need to put the oxygen mask first on yourself before you assist someone else. The same applies now, take care of yourself first so you can take care of others too.
I am on a well deserved 2-week holiday/workation in Tenerife playing golf with my husband, Martin. I have been a crappy golfer for a long time but I am playing better than ever before. And for the first time in my life I played a HOLE IN ONE! I can still barely believe it!!
At the time my plate was already overflowing – on top of the by-donation classes for Ukraine and SOMBA kickstart, there were the regular Yoga and Qigong classes I was teaching for various studios and companies to sustain my livelihood, the preparation and marketing for the fourth cohort of the Qigong and Chinese Medicine for Yoga Teacher’s training in April which I was running independently, and my continued studies required to fulfil the graduation requirements for Uma’s Women’s Therapy training.
Reading Sigruns’s email, in that very moment, my last remaining interest and energy for SOMBA gushed out like the last groan of a deflating balloon. Days later, re-reading the email with a clear mind, finally I reached the point of the email – the importance of self-care in a crisis, and could finally appreciate the free resources and coaching call offered by Sigrun and her team during that difficult time, mentioned at the end of the email. But it still didn’t change how disillusioned and disheartened I felt. In the weeks that followed, I lost steam. I followed through but couldn’t wait for SOMBA to finally end.
At that moment I uncovered new information about myself: That in a role model what I prized above anything else, above capability, skill and success, was someone who was selfless, someone who truly cared about others, perhaps even more than themselves.
💭 When was the last time you let your heart get over your head? What did you learn from that experience?
SOMBA Reflections: Real impact, growth change and painful lessons
SOMBA left a bittersweet feeling – There was joy from growth and real change. Outwardly in the world:
- Focus and Flow, a four week productivity and self-growth program for women was created from scratch
- 20 Menstrual awareness and Five Elements resources, including images, video tutorials, audio meditations, stories and reflection journals were created:
- I was making real, positive change on people’s lives – 85 Women received audio, video, written resources and videos supporting them to tap into their inner powers of the four seasons and Five Elements to live cyclically and in a sustainable way. Almost every week I’d receive comments like these:
Thank you for another thought-proving week, so enjoying your course it’s amazing! You are such a wonderful teacher, the course material is clear, well explained, easy to follow and has challenged my thinking in many ways (and it’s only Week 2!).
On a personal level:
- I learnt many valuable marketing tricks, copywriting techniques and coaching skills, and gained a wealth of resources thanks to Sigrun and her team, which I used for marketing my training program with some success.
- I grew as a community builder, learning not just technical skills but practical considerations managing a community of women, increasing my sensitivity as a space-holder
- I deepened my own knowledge of the Four seasons of the menstrual cycle and their connection with the Five elements as a practitioner myself
Undeniably I also felt disappointment and regret at the painful realisation of various ‘mistakes’. Here are my top lessons from SOMBA:
❌ Too little time / multi-tasking : I had too much on my plate at the time. After SOMBA concluded I immediately reduced my workload, and now my approach is always to ensure a bit of slack. 💡 With space there is potential for something magical, unexpected to happen (which did in the second half of 2022!)
❌ Not yet an expert: In the field of menstrual health and productivity I was a relative unknown with no followers, no resources, no presence.💡 Credibility comes through content, resources. Audience-building is much easier after building a foundation first.
❌ Unfamiliar audience: I wanted to expand beyond Yoga Teachers, my usual ‘audience’, a new ‘ideal client’ group, women changemakers, whose motivations, needs and challenges I didn’t yet know well but that I felt drawn to. 💡You can’t create a successful program if you don’t know if it’s really serving the needs of who it’s for
❌ Too much content: Feedback from my participants pointed to overwhelm from too much content at too quick a pace. 💡 Less is more. Rather than a buffet, initial offerings should be structured like bite-sized appetizers to keep your audience hungry for more.
❓ Deviating from the ‘blueprint’: Sigrun’s SOMBA offered a tried-and-tested successful blueprint based on a Facebook-centric audience, which was at odds with my desire and direction to move away from Facebook, and half of my audience’s resistance against Facebook (they don’t have accounts). Against Sigrun’s advice I created my group outside of Facebook, experimenting with community-building platforms like Circle, MightyNetworks and Tribe.so, eventually settling on the last. I had little support and technical expertise to refer to as a result and was on my own, which was tough but I enjoyed. 💡 Reflect if you want to follow the blueprint of others, or create your own. If you choose to follow, follow it to a T. If you choose to walk your own path, let go of comparison.
💭 What painful lessons have you learnt in 2022? How have you grown, changed?
Women’s Circle at YogaUnion: Uncovering my Sankalpa
I am where I am, who I am today because of the first Yoga class I taught in Turin in 2019, and because of that I feel indebted to Pandhora Williams, the teacher I subbed for, and YogaUnion, the studio she co-owns. The first time I heard Pandhora’s story was in the fall of 2021 when over a coffee she told me about how she left her home in Africa for the United States, her encounter with sexual predator Bikram Choudrary, the lawsuit that unfolded and her triumph that then became the seeds for YogaUnion’s eventual unfolding.
I knew this story was too powerful not to be told. Months later, as women’s day started to approach, an idea came to me to propose to Pandhora an in-person Women’s circle at YogaUnion. Few students knew the true meaning of YogaUnion, beyond its exteriors being a trendy hot Yoga studio. Finally, Pandhora’s inspiring and powerful story could inspire the touch the lives of many women, not just with those in Turin, but all around the world, through livestreaming on InsightTimer.
On Sunday 6th March Pandhora welcomed our group of 30 women into our circle in the big sala. Meghan, a fellow Yoga teacher, led a heart-centred Yoga practice, followed by a heartfelt reading by Pandhora of ‘I rise’ by Maya Angelou. I welcomed the global audience of meditators on insightTimer to our circle, and put to use the 7 years I honed my skills as an interviewer in my last full-time job and guided Pandhora to share her powerful and moving story as a woman to our audience in the studio and online, and our circle of women were invited to do the same. Our circle and Pandhora’s story can be heard here.
As the circle drew to a close, Pandhora invited us to write down our dreams and hopes for ourselves in the future, fold them up, and receive another’s’ dream as a gift to bring home for ourselves. Realising we were running overtime and I had to leave to be home to teach online, I wrote quickly without hesitating, and quietly left without taking someone else’s dream. On the slip of paper, I wrote,
My dream is to inspire and touch the lives of millions
I thought I was helping Pandhora and others, but really, I was helping myself. Thanks to her and these other women, I uncovered my true Sankalpa, my heartfelt intention. I overcame self-doubt, I stopped playing small, I went beyond the thinking mind and connected with my heart that knew what truly mattered to me – not financial freedom, not outward success and recognition, not stability, but to make real and lasting impact in the lives of others.
💭 How did you connect with your dream in 2022? What revelations did you make about what you would like to leave in the world?
If you’ve read up till here… congrats and thanks! How did it go? What parts of this post did you enjoy? What insights, thoughts, feelings surfaced? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or email me 🙂 Want to know when part 2 is out? Join my mailing list (scroll down to the bottom)