Take a Moment, and Look Back

Nancy KalinaBack in 2008, I was hiking with my partner through the Lake District in northern England. We witnessed such immense beauty all around us as we traveled from inn to inn. One day while hiking a particularly long stretch, our hike leader, a retired gentleman named Thomas, stopped the two of us and asked us to turn around. He said, “Let’s take a moment and simply look back and see how far we have come.” We were both in awe of how much land we had crossed since morning. It didn’t seem possible, and yet, looking back, we saw proof of the miles we had traversed and the farmland we had trekked. Most importantly, looking back allowed us to celebrate our progress.

Progress is a topic that inspires a lot of discussion among many people from CEOs to philosophers on what is more beneficial for our personal growth: looking forward or looking back. Some argue that we should never look back but only look forward to the direction we are going. However, a few people suggest that we, from time to time, glance back, notice, learn from our past missteps, and simply breathe and rejoice in how far we have come. During a public talk, spiritual teacher and self-help author Marianne Williamson once said something like, “When I look at where I am now and where I want to be, I don’t get discouraged because I am so impressed that I have come so far from where I used to be. This is not a perfect quote, but you get the gist. Those of us who are on the path to being the best people we can be make progress steadily. We just don’t always notice or acknowledge it.

So, this month, I am asking you to acknowledge your progress. I think December is the perfect time for all of us to take a moment, look back, and simply honor how far we have come on our journey of personal growth. It’s admirable to have chosen a path of personal growth and to be the best you can be. However, if you are like me, you may have a tendency to beat yourself up when you take a step back from time to time. Maybe one day you experienced peace and calm and were nonjudgmental. But the next day, you found yourself judging your neighbor, gossiping, eating too much food, or letting the small things in your life wear you down. This happens to all of us.

What’s interesting to me is that now I notice more quickly when I have gotten off path or where I have taken a couple steps back. I can turn things around more quickly than I used to, and isn’t that a sign of growth? For example, many of you are aware that my right hip is degenerating. In October, I went to see my surgeon to check in on the state of my hip and whether I was closer to needing surgery. He noticed I am now using a cane, but the Xray showed that the degeneration hadn’t worsened since the Xray seven months earlier. I was calm and relaxed throughout this conversation. The next day, my mom called to see how the appointment went. When she asked how I felt about not being ready for surgery, I stated I felt fine. In the moment, I did not realize what a growth this was for me. Eight years ago, when my left hip was degenerating, I would go to the surgeon and hope to God that he would schedule surgery. I really was attached to a certain outcome from the appointment that would alleviate my pain. Then, I would be depressed for days when he stated it was not time yet. Until I took a moment to look back on my appointment, I did not notice that I had no expectation for surgery and therefore felt completely fine. I did not even realize my own growth in not experiencing any distress or depression as a result of the appointment and it not being time. I was perfectly content with how the appointment unfolded. I am so impressed with my incredible growth in how I perceive and respond to appointments about my degenerative hip. It is truly a monumental shift that only I can personally experience. Additionally, it certainly acts as a marker for me to take a moment and look back on my personal journey.

Coming upon the year’s end, take a moment and look back on your own personal journey during 2014. I invite you to take time and simply notice the growth that you have experienced over this past year.

  • Have you started exercising a little more this year?
  • Have you had more peaceful conversations with someone where historically communication has been stressful?
  • Have you had moments where you are very proud of your inner self?
  • Have you begun to give yourself a couple hours each week to feed your soul?

Also, if you want some support as you start down the path to creating a healthier you, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to support you on your journey!


Sharing Corner

Just a reminder, folks, that I have holiday specials running through December 31, 2014. If you are interested in life coaching with me, email or call now to cash in on the deals.



I hope you all enjoy these quotes that align with the message in this article.

I think we all would love to see more love in the world. This year has been a challenging time in the United States and worldwide. It’s time for a soulful revolution. We can achieve this one person at a time. I do not want to be political here. However, I do want to share with you a message that it is important for all of us to heal as people and countries.

I am choosing to share this little lesser-known Dixie Chicks song, which is simply about hoping for a more loving and peaceful world. Enjoy this video and its message. Enjoy yourself, your friends, family, and everyone around you this holiday season.



Until next time,

Safe Space Life Coaching

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