As the year end approaches, I always seem to retreat into my shell to hibernate for a while. I guess it is my way of figuring out where I have been and where i am going.

2010 has been a year of great learning for me: learning in every arena. Every belief I have held that has been near and dear to my heart has been challenged. I think I have said, "It is not all black and white," more times this year than "Kids, clean your room."

I have struggled with many issues, with some people and sometimes against the Universe. As I sit here this morning and think of goals for 2011, it occurs to me that I cannot really write them until and unless I write down what I learned last year that I can apply to this new coming year:

1. It isnt the Universe that loses faith in us: When things go wrong, I, at least personally, have a tendency to look at the Universe and ask," What's up?" But I realized this year that I am asking the wrong question. It isnt the Universe that loses faith in me, I lose faith in the Universe. Unless I believe that the Universe is conspiring for me, it isn't.

2.  Talent on its own is worthless: I teach writing classes, I have a ton of writer friends, I am surrounded by many people who have exceeded their own expectations and many who have not. I have said this repeatedly and I say it again: talent alone is worthless. Without the commitment behind it, talent will get you nowhere and fast. 

3. People are just that: people. Good or bad is our judgement: After a year of dealing with someone who has been particularly difficult on my ego, I kept thinking why this person was doing what they were doing. I could not, for the life of me, understand. How had I harmed them? What had I done to them? And then I realized, thanks to my husband's insight, that it really isnt about me at all. It is all about them. People's judgements and their opinions reflect them. I cannot allow myself to become a reflection of someone else's opinion about me. 

4. All-in-ness – I learned about this concept from my friend Chris Dorris. People who succeed in what they do are all committed to it. ALL IN. No second thoughts, no second guessing, no beating yourself up over mistakes, no allowing others to beat you up. It is a singlemindedness that provides razor sharp focus. And guess that? What ever we focus on grows. (Apply this to all areas of life, not just work). 

5. True friends are a rare breed: Love them.

6. Social Media is here to stay: I have to say this was the hardest. Sitting on my couch, reading how other people are traveling with world, while I nurse an injured eye, or some other great feat that people were performing, was very hard. i kept thinking I need to do more, needed to do something different. And then Shauna Ahern posted something earlier this year that really hit home and I am paraphrasing here – Why are so many people focused on becoming instead of just being. Now my goal is that – to be who I am, in spirit and in word. 

7. Be true to your passion: For work, the only master you have to please is your passion. It will fuel all else. If you try to please anyone else – the critic, the editor, the reader, the friend, the so-called-friend, the ego.. anyone else.. you will fail. I guarantee it. 

8. Love and opportunities abound: This is a very abundant Universe. There is so much warmth, passion, so much love and abundance. We get what we ask for. Think about it. And the best way to gain abundance is to share yours. Freely.

9. When you least expect it, life will intervene – Deaths, job losses, health issues.. we all have them. We all face them and we all will get through them.. one dream at a time.

10. When you least expect it, the Universe intervenes –  Readers write in with great comments,  you meet your hero, you discover a new writer who will change your life, your friends rally around you, and you believe again that the Universe, indeed, conspires for you. 

This is what I will be thinking of as I set my goals for next year. What will you do? Tell me what you have learned? I would love to learn from you.  


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  1. Thanks for getting me thinking about this: it’s a great exercise before barreling forward with resolutions for next year (in our fervor always to “become”…). I’ve learned to take advantage of opportunities while they are in front of me, because more often that not, “later” will be too late. This kind of thinking got me to where I am now, working in the Republic of Georgia. It also reminds me to take showers at random times during the day when the running water is working!

  2. Great insights Monica. I’ll add my own to your list: Surprise your readers. Bring them ideas that inform them, are contrary to their assumptions and that make them think for themselves.

    Keep them learning and growing and they will keep reading.

  3. “With out the commitment behind it, talent will get you nowhere and fast.”

    So true, Monica!

    Gotta say #6 is a tough one on me, too! But #8 balances everything out.

    Big hugs,

  4. very good insights, here’s mine: whatever we do for others, we should be doing for the sake of doing, not the sake of getting. Realizing this has helped me understand #3 in my own way. People are self-driven, if you do for them and expect something in return, you’ll often be disappointed or bewildered when they don’t come through. However if you do something for others because it fulfills you in some way to do it, how they react is immaterial and, to Shauna’s point, you are on your way to just being.

  5. Great post, Hope post more articles

  6. Excellent, and so true! I’m so glad I have wise friends like you who point out to me these truths that, deep down, i already know. It’s so easy to lose faith, and I’m glad I can be pulled back to remembering how faith is everything.

  7. This is such a wonderful post. It’s been so hard this year – but then I realized that I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been working through something or trying to get through a series of events that left me wondering “Why???” It’s so true that the Universe never loses faith in us. Sometimes you just need to close your eyes and keep walking, knowing that it’s holding your hand and won’t let you fall.

  8. Great post! I love your thoughts because they make me think. I have had a good year, I think, because I have tried hard to change my attitude and expectations. I think it is important not to judge others. It is hard to accept that I cannot change other people or how they feel or behave towards me. I find it difficult to overcome hurtful behavior but I think I can now. The one thing that always gets me back in line is listing all the things I am grateful for.

    It brings me joy and peace to read beautiful writing and to ponder and to allow myself to just be. Thank you, Monica and God Bless.

  9. Thank you, Monica, for a very inspiring post. I always feel uplifted reading you. This year, I have really learned alot observing how generous-hearted people bring joy from spreading their wealth. As you said, “And the best way to gain abundance is to share yours. Freely.” I hope to lead by example in the same way.

  10. Love it Monica! Thanks.

    I was just writing about this stuff today. Number 3 is so hard for me–I can (and have) nurse a small hurt for 20 years. But I am determined to let past hurts and rejections go in 2011. They are over.

    This year, I’ve learned that I urgently need to be more confident and assertive. I’ve learned that just because the people who live there seem to think so the sun doesn’t actually rise and set on Manhattan alone. I’ve learned that at a certain point, the most important challenge is dreaming up successively bigger dreams. I’ve learned that private, daily writing in a notebook is essential to tending to my creativity.

    I’ve learned that there is a crucial difference between the ways I want to think of myself and who I actually am. Important information.

    Bring on 2011!

  11. These wonderful truths you share could not come at a more perfect time for me. Thank you so much for sharing them and for the joy and wisdom you continue to spread.

  12. Each one is a gem. Reading it first thing in the morning changes your outlook towards the day, indeed towards life itself.

  13. Very nice post, Monica! I know people who have a ton of talent but haven’t succeeded as writers due to a lack of, well, actually working on their marketing and getting their work out there.

  14. Hello, Ms. Bhide! This is such a beautiful and moving piece. I love it, just like I love reading every other article you have written. Thanks for being such a great teacher in the 6-week class last Sept.-Oct. You are an inspiration to me. The lessons you imparted to us, your students, were the best things I learned in 2010. I look forward to 2011 with much anticipation and optimism. Thank you again. Please keep writing these lovely pieces.

  15. Great piece Monica. Many of the things you listed feel very familiar to me.Introspection is a great tool. Unfortunately, it’s one that many people fail to use. I think it makes perfect sense to take inventory of things you learned so that you can more fruitfully define your path forward. Your piece serves as timely reminder to reflect and retool, where necessary.

  16. I love that I received your message this morning,oh wait it’s nearly noon, how time flies behind your computer! I read, I absorbed, I feel inspired, Thank You. What hit home is #2, #4, #6. I am completely re-creating my career and what I thought I SHOULD be doing. It’s SCARY and EXCITING all in one. I am feeding my talents and I am ALL-IN, finding where to go with those talents and what is my true driving force and goal is a bit daunting at times. I’ve realized in the past three months that I have loads of interests, now what will I hone in on? I am not trying to please others, I think that’s what I’ve really gained insight about, I write because I love it, and I write about what I want to write about, my humor is exposed, and if it’s offensive because it’s not the typical READ about health issues, then “Your Welcome.” There’s my two cents!

  17. Monica, This a beautiful post. End of the year is a time for reflection more than other times. It is funny how humans track their time but it gives us something to gauge life by and is a measuring stick to progress. Thank you for inviting your readers to share what we have learned and been inspired by… My two wonderful sons 16 and 19, each different as night and day have inspired me by showing they have tenacity to go a tough road no matter what because they follow their passions. Echoing that sentiment is touching others that also live their passions, namely you Monica. That is where life beats every the raw stuff that fuels that ZONE we all live to be in all the time.
    When you give to others, that comes back to you…if it is positive, good comes back, if it is negative, still the same.. We have to fight negativity daily by choosing who we spend time with.
    Be grateful for what you have…no matter how much or how little. This has been a good year to show us what we can live without and still be quite happy. All is good…and maybe better than that.
    Thank you Monica for leading your readers by your humble sharing of who you are. I admire people like you. Beautiful inspiration!

  18. I am still in the process of learning #1. I have been struggling financially for a while but, in August, I was desperate for some kind of vacation. I scraped plane fare together for California. I had virtually no money for when I got there, then my mom sent an early birthday, my friend in San Francisco got her friends together for me to teach a class and a client, who recently moved to the Bay Area, booked a session with me while I was out there. For the entire trip, I fretted about money, yet the Universe provided for me in the shape of wonderful, caring friends. That speaks to #5.

    I am still working on putting my trust in the Universe as I struggle to get back on my feet. I know it is because I am thrashing around. To get in sync with the Universe I need to do as you say in #4, set my sites on my passion with “razor-sharp focus” and go All-in.

    Thanks for a wonderful post, Monica and for all the inspiring comments, everyon!

  19. You make such great points here, Monica. I’m glad you published this now, rather than later towards the year’s end. I’m glad you talked about abundance and giving yourself freely. So often that is a challenge, especially when we are hurt or burned in life. I will keep what you have learned in mind for my own growth. Just know that you giving of your insights so freely is really inspiring to others.

  20. Very inspiring and timely post, Monica. I too, have been taking stock of the last year (wow, its been tough) and trying to work out where I go from here and planning my next adventure/challenge… This year I’ve struggled with the universe and it’s ‘gifts’ to me and battled with my demons, dreams and ideas – But I’m a survivor and don’t like giving in. On reading this post, I realise that we are not alone in this world and we must all just keep working towards our goals, with a passion! I will return to this post again and again as a reminder to keep true to myself… Lets make next year the best ever!

  21. Of all the things you listed, Monica, I have to say learning ALL-IN-NESS is the toughest lesson for me. Despite talent, despite persistence, patience, passion — without committing fully to one’s dreams that’s all they will be. As Linda so sagely points out, really doing something, not just dreaming, is key, whether there’s positive reinforcement or not. Nothing great or even satisfying will come without commitment.

  22. What a beautiful post – thank you for sharing this with us all. I must say your words come at the perfect time for me as I have been in the midst of asking the universe the whole ‘what’s up’ question. Thank you for giving me some perspective and the encouragement to carry on with my passion.

  23. What a great read. Thank you so much for sharing. I can only hope that this inspires others as much as it did me.

  24. Thank you Monica, lovely post. I recently saw very clearly that the love we think we need from others is in reality what we are. No one can take from us what we are. So love freely and with wild abandon. Be the love that you actually are in essence. What others do or don’t do in response is only about them.

  25. What a beautiful post, Monica. Thanks for making us think of all of our blessings and all of the opportunities in life that are just waiting for us.

  26. Thank you so much for this enlightening post Monica. Each year is a lesson in life, we look back and can see how things went according to our actions. We can then make fresh decisions at the start of each new year based on what we learned.
    I have a quote which I particularly like, and It is by the poet Edith Lovejoy Pierce.

    “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called “Opportunity” and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
    Wishing everyone a happy 2011.

  27. take my advice and put your faith in god not what he has created,the universe, faith in an a decaying object is useless

  28. What a great piece. some things I was aware of, others I’d never given a thought to before. It’s a great way to start off the New Year.

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