Wholehearted Living – The Journey in Review

A year ago today on my 27th birthday, I had a desire to live more wholeheartedly. Every month we selected one of Brené Brown‘s Guideposts for Wholehearted Living as a lens through which to see our adventures and encounters here in Peace Corps Nicaragua.  I centered myself in what our blog is all about: embracing that life is beautiful, hard, and worth living, that love and light are actually all around, that this moment, whoever and wherever you are in life, is the best part of your life.

Living into these Guideposts was rarely easy.  They always sounded so pretty, so simple.  Forget about what others think? Awesome! Cultivate authenticity, creativity, or laughter?  Sign me up! But when it came down to it, to actually walk the walk was more challenging than I anticipated.

My 27th year was one large lesson in self-compassion and trust.  While these guideposts are life-long endeavors, in spending time thinking about them, and especially writing about them each month, I found strengths I didn’t know I had.  I trusted myself and my inner spirit.  I opened my mind and my heart a bit more to the lessons around me. They sparked conversations between Andrew and I about not only our Peace Corps service, but about how we treat others, how hard we are on ourselves, and how we can be more supportive of each other.

I didn’t have time to write about all of those insights; part of the challenge of these ideas is to live more, after all.  But I am thankful for the moments I did have to reflect in writing and share with all of you.

May We Suggest’s
Journeying Towards Wholehearted Living

November 2014:
The Idea

Be Free and Live Wholeheartedly: Intentions for my 27th Year


December 2014:
Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison

+ Comparing Our Service to Others
Goodbye Pinterest, Hello Christmas Cheer
Comparing Christmases – On Nacatamales, Generosity, and Love


January 2015:
Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness

+ 30 Miles to Integration
+ Volunteer Resiliency and the Life Cycle of a Volunteer
Transformation, Conjugation, & Taller de Español


February 2015:
Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty

+ An Uncertain Start
+ The First Week(s) of School


March 2015:
Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think

+ Taking Back the Run


April 2015:
Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth

Volcán Telica: A Science Teacher’s Dream
Adventure Is Out There! — Río San Juan Edition
+ Teaching Thoughts


May 2015:
May We Reflect

On May 1, 2014, we gave May Day a new twist.  In celebration of the ideas of spring and new growth, we set 5 goals to guide our way on and into our Peace Corps service. In place of a Brené Brown guidepost for this month, we took some time to reflect on these five intentions and how they played out in our lives this last year:

+ May we strive to be present in the midst of transitions.
+ May we set healthy expectations for ourselves.
+ May we not get bored of rice and beans for every single meal.
+ May our hearts remain open and our minds curious, even in the midst of confusion and struggle.
+ May we be receptive to new knowledge and understandings of how life can be lived.


June & July 2015:
Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle

+ Treat Yo-Self Challenge Accepted: Journaling
+ Challenge Accepted Part 2: Gratitude
+ May we be receptive to new knowledge and understandings of how life can be lived.


August 2015:
Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and “Supposed To”

+ Why Peace Corps Blogging is Meaningful Work
+ Meaningful Work One STEP at a Time


September 2015:
Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control.”

Molding Memories in Nicaragua
+ #BaldisBeautiful: Why I’ve Decided to Shave my Head


October 2015:
Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting go of Perfectionism

Chikungunya got you down?  Keep going.


November 2015:
Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark  

+  On Jack-o’-Lanterns and History: Cultural Exchange Chasing Away the Darkness


Although our yearlong blogging focus has come to an end, striving to live as these Guideposts call us to will never fully be finished.  For those who have journeyed with us, shared on posts, or even just read from afar, thank you.

Bring it on 28!  I’m ready to keep living every moment, good and bad, highs and lows, as the best part of my life.


P.S.  Looking for a way to give me a birthday present?  Help TEAM NICARAGUA meet our fundraising goal before I shave my head on December 2nd!

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4 thoughts on “Wholehearted Living – The Journey in Review”

  1. You rock emily! I love this blog focus. Also I love your strength (and mayhaps bordering on obsession?) Of organization as it is cool to see which blogs focus on which guidepost. Love you lots and I hope you treat yo self on your birthday!!!

    1. I loved it, too! It gave me something specific to put my energy towards each month, although yes, I may go a bit overboard on the organization aspect. 😉 I’m rather sad it’s over, but we’re working on some fun themes for next year.

  2. Emily, I hope you had a marvelous birthday. I enjoy reading the blog you & Andrew post, and living vicariously this amazing experience that is the Peace Corps. Blessings & hope your body is once again whole :>)

    1. Thank you, Dianne. My birthday was beyond wonderful – full of laughter, dancing, cakes, and lots of friends. Hope all is well with you and yours as well. I hear Paige and the boy got into schools! Yay!

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