January 1, 2018 11:30am Hawaii time In the skies, 30,000 ft above Oahu 2017. It could not have been any better.

As I take this 366th day in, and renew the cycle of gratitude, I’d like to share with you all how I was able to live the best year of my life so far.

It’s not ‘best’ because it was all positive, nor was it a year of all successes, unlocked achievements, nor completed life goals. It was not ‘best’ because I traveled decently, got a job promotion, nor about all progress in my yoga, surfing, running, etc. It is best because it is. It just is, and I lived it as beautiful as I could.

I lived 2017 as real and authentic as possible, as each day rolled out and gave me the chance to make it worthwhile. Surely it was not all good, positive and comfortable.

Many days I thought too much about my life: about where I am and about where I want to be, how I want to be remembered, etc etc – picking my brain too much on things that I wanted to give a damn about.

Some days I struggled with questions and big decisions: Is this really the right job? Am I having a work-life balance? Am I having a meaningful contribution to society without compensating my wellbeing, my sanity? Am I thinking about myself as I endeavor to more risky challenges at work and in life in general? Should I renew my contract for another year? I don’t think I can really live in the city fulltime…..

Other days I laid in bed sick, either nursing a cold, sore throat, dysmenorrhea, over fatigue, or needing to recuperate from too much traveling, too much running, or too much sun (yes! Haha)

There were days I couldn’t bring myself to focus on what I had to do, and worse, I got distracted by social media – scrolling IG or FB up and down, watching live feeds or videos, only to realise I’ve been sitting there for 2 hours not moving my ass, my head (or brain!) starts to hurt and my eyes twitch from the brightness of the LCD screen that I blink (or even close my eyes) once or twice, only to return back to scrolling again for another 30 minutes until I realise (again!) it is time to put down the phone because, well, it’s already freakin 3am!!! (Now tell me, does this sound familiar to you, too?)

On very rare days I was lazy, unproductive, and zoned-out (like a zombie).

Oh the year was far from perfect.

BUT every single day, I lived by being me. Every single day, I lived with my truth. Every single day, I lived with acceptance – acceptance that it will not be perfect and that it’s ok.

AND every single day, I lived with a grateful heart – thankful for another chance ‘to be.’

Even if I did not have my physical journal most times, it has become a habit for me to embrace a gratitude practice every morning and every night.

To be more concrete, and to give you realistic examples of what I mean, living gratefully has helped me in the following aspects:

– by being thankful in the mornings, I suspend my thoughts of ‘what ifs,’ may it be from the day before (maybe I should have asked our board of trustees to give me more time to work from home?) and accept that that was what was meant to be and I am happy to work with it;

– by writing on my daily gratitude journal, I became more conscious about being present at the moment – to catch myself when I dwell too much in the past or worry too much about the future;

– those times I felt uneasy, uncomfortable and like sh*t – I would sit down, relax, close my eyes, think of where I am and tell myself to completely trust the moment and trust the process, to completely surrender – Ishvara Pranidhana <surrender to God>

– those moments I get hit by a wave of strong emotions (usually sadness, deep hurt, heart-clenching pain, bottled-up past emotions, regret), I tell myself ‘Meg, feel what you need to feel, and just let it be, but don’t let it be you because it is NOT you’ (aaah, svadhyaya <self-study> – and all the things I learned from yoga!)

– whenever other people wrong me (somebody cuts in line in front of me; a group of guys whistle and mumble as I pass by the street after a run or after yoga (wearing shorts, usually) I tell myself to be grateful that I treat others well, and sometimes challenge myself to call out a mistake politely (Ate, may pila po, nakapila po kami lahat ng maayos – Sister, there’s a line here, and we are all following in line).

– those times I got into accidents: my long skirt once got jumbled in the motorcycle rear wheel that I ended up with fabric bruises on my thighs and half-naked for 5 minutes before reaching home, or my many many surf accidents (reef cuts, sea urchin stings, a bloody, swollen open wound on my right foot because a log on the beach rolled over my foot) – I tell myself ‘Thank you, Lord, I am still breathing, my heart is still pumping and I am not paralyzed so it’s ok’ ….. translation in Filipino – ‘sige lang, malayo sa bituka!’ Hahaha

– whenever I do my yoga, my intentions are always about inspiration and appreciation. I find that starting my yoga with a sense of welcome for my life; a welcome to the sun that greets my day, usually transforms how I face that day.

There are many more examples. What I am trying to share is that it is in our hands to make our happy days become reality. No one else’s.

If anything, I lived 2017 not thinking about ‘what ifs.’ Every single day, I lived with presence, some days more than others. I have openly accepted that how my life unfolds is how it is meant to unfold. And that while life will not be (and never be) perfect, I can always make the most of it.

It comes with practice. The more I do it, the more it becomes a habit.

I invite you all to make every single day of 2018 count. It will not always be perfect days, but we can make each day beautiful in our own way!

Om Shanti Om ❤