Looking Back From Wholeness


There are years that ask questions, and years that answer. Zora Neale Hurston

I want to begin by looking back. In assessing the previous year of homeschooling, I want us to focus on the lessons taught that had absolutely nothing to do with curriculum. What did we learn about ourselves? What did we learn about our children?

Can we withhold judgement and view last year as simply information. Some information may inspire change; some may beckon new horizons; some may confirm suspicions. It is all merely information. The question, I think, is how can we use the information in the most positive, life-giving way going forward.

This past year has things to tell us. Let us be brave enough to listen.


  • Close your eyes and think back over last year. What words and/or images come to mind?
  • Did any questions arise?
  • Were any answers given?
  • Can you put words around the biggest gain or improvement?
  • Can you name your biggest struggle?
  • How were you surprised?

After sitting with these questions, journaling about the answers and then giving yourself some time and distance, move onto the following two statements.

  • Name one thing from last year you want to carry forward. Tuck this away and know it will be with you always.
  • Name one thing from last year you want to release. With an open heart and a tender spirit, gently coax this from your conscious mind. It does not serve you anymore.


You have reflected on last year. You have mined its depths and discovered its offerings. You have embraced one of the gems and left behind one of the stones. In doing this, you bring a sense of equanimity to the present moment. You now stand in a place of balance. Breathe deeply and consciously from the center of your body.

While something may come to an ending on the surface of time, its presence, meaning, and effect continue to be held and integrated into the eternal. This is how spirit unfolds and deepens. In this sense, eternal time is intimate; it is where the unfolding narrative of individual life is gathered and woven. Eternal life is eternal memory; therefore, it becomes possible to imagine a realm beyond endings where all that has unfolded is not canceled or lost, but where the spirit-depths of it are already arriving home.” – John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us


  • John O’Donohue’s poem “At the End of the Year” is a beautiful reflection.
  • Mark Nepo’s short poem “Thinking like a Butterfly” speaks eloquently about breaking patterns.
  • Brené Brown’s words on the “Courage to be Vulnerable” are life changing. Life. Changing.
  • This piece of Celtic music captures the cyclical nature of the universe and invites you to step into the flow and dance.
  • It is said the bracing bite of ginger inspires courage. This honey-sweetened syrup is delicious mixed with club soda, a splash of lemon and bit of mint.
  • These essential oils offer powerful etheric support: valor, peace&calming, joy.



Click to see all posts in this series.

Click to see all posts in this series.


17 thoughts on “Looking Back From Wholeness

  1. Sheila, I love the approach you are taking here. I think it is spot on…thank you for creating such a nurturing framework for this work. You rock:)

  2. I agree with Alison. You rock Sheila! These are wonderful questions and resources for reflection! Thank you, as always

    • Such richness all in one post! So much to savor. Love the poems and the Celtic music. Looking forward to listening to that podcast too!

      • I find that piece of music so grounding and engaging. It can bring me to tears. I listened to it on Sunday as I was driving to my neighbor’s house. They just had a new baby and the mama needed some help nursing. This was unchartered water in our relationship, but nursing is something I believe in so strongly. I put the song on repeat for the drive and I was ready to “dare greatly” (a la Brene) when I arrived.

        Jude plays it on the penny whistle and it is so lovely – squeaks and all.

  3. Shelia,
    Thank you! I’ve journaled about your questions and am letting them rest. What a good half hour that just was! It feels perfectly aligned with where I am in the planning process, looking towards next year and yet firmly planted in this summer out breath space. Back in April I was beginning to reflect on our family’s homeschooling journey in a more formal way and searched high and low for creative “asessment” questions. I ended up writing my own in attempts to push myself to go deeper. Your questions here magically complement those early spring ponderings and helped me pick up the process again. Send me an email if you’d like to hear my April questions! Thank you for inviting us in Shelia!

  4. This year was surprising in many ways. Unfolding is a word I see a lot here and one I have been thinking about a good deal lately. I think it best describes our first year of homeschooling high school. I was surprised at what I was able to let go and how much was learned just through the day to day. I was also surprised at how quickly the year flew by. I am so grateful that I had friends like you, Alison, Siobhan to help me dive in. Life changing. Never looking back!

  5. Pingback: Art Journal Friday | Sure as the World

  6. Pingback: Looking Ahead from Wholeness | Sure as the World

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