I’m a firm believer that in order for our souls to evolve we need to reflect on the past in order to carry our soul lessons forward.

If we don’t take the time and set the intention to learn the soul lessons from our “past” the Universe will continue to create opportunities for us to learn.

Our souls need for us to create meaning around our life experiences. It’s how we grow, evolve and use the power of reflection to become wiser.

I’ve heard it said that the heart is the organ of love and the soul is the organ of meaning.

I had the most profound experience with my little Granddaughter this past summer that showed me that we humans are meant to create meaning around what happens to/for us. Even 2 years olds naturally feel the need to do this.

Our family was out in a boat in the middle of a lake. I had little Brooklyn nestled in my arms when out of nowhere a huge wave engulfed the boat. I held her tight as the water threatened to either sink the boat or toss us out. Within seconds I knew we were fine and Brooklyn started to cry from the sheer shock of it all. After some reassurance and snuggles, she quickly settled and we marvelled at what a “great adventure” that was!

I’ll never forget what happened after the initial shock wore off. For the next few days, Brooklyn asked me the same question repeatedly, “Nana, what happened to me?”

She had an instinctual need to create meaning around what happened to her. It’s like her little soul knew what it needed. She needed to create meaning so she could integrate the experience and then move on.

A few days later, she hopped back into the boat and courageously sat upfront again where the incident had happened. She had processed the experience and felt safe. She could move forward.

This natural instinct to create meaning exists in all of us!

Although there is a lot about 2020 that we’d like to forget – there is gold in the challenges and it serves our soul to mine for it.

Here are my top 10 2020 soul lessons:

1. There’s a difference between creating peace and keeping the peace.

As an Enneagram type 9 (the peacemaker) I value inner peace and avoiding conflict.

What I’ve learned is that there are times when conflict is necessary. When we sacrifice ourselves to keep the peace our soul begins to wither. To honor our soul we need to be willing to stand strong in the face of conflict and stay grounded in our truths. We’re not always meant to go with the flow.

2. Not all anxiety is problematic.

I did a lot of “intentional suffering” this year that caused a lot of anxiety.

I knew I needed to change patterns that were firmly entrenched and no longer serving me. This caused anxiety and it was so hard! I also knew I needed to go through it to get to the other side.

I learned that there’s a difference in the anxiety that keeps us stuck and fearful of change and anxiety that is in service of growth and becoming our true selves.

I’m now on the other side and it is SO worth the pain and suffering it took to get there!

3. Relationships also go through the “dark night of the soul”.

A few years ago I experienced what can best be described as the dark night of the soul. It’s a spiritual process of radical change and transformation whereby we come home to our true selves.

After we’ve experienced it as an individual, we are often called to undergo a similar process in our relationships (marriages). This past year my 30 plus year marriage went through a similar dark night of the soul.

It was challenging because we needed to shed outdated beliefs, conditioning, and identification with our roles to connect at a deeper level.

It required that we grow into a new way of being together- one that propels us towards helping each other become whole rather than to “complete” each other.

4. There’s a difference between living a happy life and living a meaningful life.

I noticed that I was hanging on tightly to the belief that I was supposed to be and entitled to be happy. As I began to pay attention to this I could see that there were many things in life that didn’t make me happy. We lose people we love, we have pandemics, we watch people suffer.

When we focus on what brings meaning to our lives rather than what makes us happy we’ll experience a deeper and lasting inner peace. One that isn’t conditional on having everything outside of us be a certain way. We’re open to life as it is.

5. Our soul lessons and self-discovery happens in layers.

This was the year that my shadow needed to come out of hiding. I needed to face the things that I more comfortably projected onto other people. That’s never easy!

As much as I’d like to, I couldn’t bypass this stage and the things I’d rather not see in myself.

A mature spiritual path takes us deeper and not higher.  It was hopeful to feel a sense of lightness and freedom as I began to see those things and still love myself anyway.

6. Beyond the surface stuff, we are all connected.

The pandemic has reminded me that what happens in one part of the world, impacts all parts of the world.

It challenges us to think of the greater good and the realization that what I as an individual does or doesn’t do has a ripple effect and impacts others.

7. The doorway to our true personal power is through our inner realms.

This was one of my big soul lessons this year. I have a strong reliance on my thinking mind and am challenged to trust my deeper ways of knowing. The more I align my decisions on my expanded ways of knowing, the closer they are to what is right for my soul.

Accessing my inner wisdom doesn’t come naturally.  I was reminded of why I need to stick with my meditation, mindfulness, prayer, contemplation and inspirational reading.

They open the door for us to access that which is dormant in us.

8. Be open to seeing repeating patterns in our lives.

For me, the biggest pattern I noticed was my tendency to avoid conflict. Changing this pattern was SO uncomfortable and SO necessary.

These patterns provide a source of information for what we might need to change. If we don’t learn the lesson and take action to make changes, it will be like Groundhog Day.

9. To learn our soul lessons we need to learn how to “sift, shed, and shift.”

Our experiences aren’t just things that happen to us. This concept has been particularly helpful when it comes to my beliefs that I carry around – both conscious and subconscious.

Sifting involves the process of contemplation and the ability to observe ourselves and our lives in action. It enables us to discern what we’re meant to “see” and sift for the lessons before just letting it go.

Shedding involves releasing beliefs, resentments, people, patterns, habits etc. that prevent us from moving forward and evolving.

Shifting means changing the way we behave, think, feel and our energetic footprint.

10. We get stuck because we can’t visualize our future best self.

My training in Integral Coaching and the Enneagram this past year has been a huge gift to me personally as well as to what I bring to my clients.

I thought I was taking it to make me a better coach and I realized that it has changed my own personal life. It has enabled me to visualize and begin to grow into who my soul needs me to become. It has enabled my husband and me to let go of our old, stale, outdated ways of “doing” marriage and step into a new version that allows each of us to grow and expand through our relationship.

2020 was a challenging year for sure!

I invite you to spend some time reflecting on what your top 10 soul lessons are from 2020.

Honour your soul and sift for the gold. It’s truly the type of wealth that money can’t buy.

Please share your top soul lesson from 2020 in the comments below. Our community would love to hear from you!