Year 2021.1: Learn Your Lessons Well

There is only one moment in time when it is essential to awaken. That moment is now. –Buddha

Let us look not back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness. –James Thurber


What’s in YOUR biscuits?

What lessons did you learn in 2020? Here’s a plan for 2021: Learn Your Lessons Well. This is actually playing in my head to the tune of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children Well…” In education, we expect our kids to learn by holding on to the lessons as they move forward. To put it more directly, a psychologist from Wyoming once said, “Learn your lessons as they arrive or they will show up in tomorrow morning’s biscuits.” Personally, I would rather make the effort to really integrate these lessons now and take on the hard task of changing my behavior consistently than to relive some of these lessons down the road.

Making Meaning

The spiritual task of hardship is to make meaning. (We have written about this many times at MessyMarvelous as a path toward joy in this life: here and here and here (among many others.) Hardship pushes us to reach deep inside to come up with those virtues like persistence, courage, and transcendence, to build the resilience needed to thrive in this life. Why would we waste all of the good lessons from this hardship the Universe just gave us? In fact, nothing magical happened in the moments between December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021, except the clock and calendar.

Reflections for 2021

2021 present a new opportunity to learn our lessons. It’s not unlike a resolution but it runs deeper. Not just a simple I’m going to work out more but rather something more like what is it inside of me that keeps me from doing what I know is in my best interest?

  1. What lessons did you learn in 2020?
  2. Which situations were the most challenging?
  3. What personal resources do I bring to bear on those tough situations?
  4. Who did I miss the most? And WHO did I not really miss?
  5. What did I miss the most? And what did I NOT miss?
  6. What were the unexpected joys?
  7. How did I change in ways I did not think possible?
  8. What aspects of my creativity did I use to adapt?
  9. How did I deal with loss and my grief?
  10. How did I nurture hope when I felt lost or despondent?
  11. What are the courageous moments I had this past year?
  12. How have I practiced grace and acceptance with others and with myself?

Any and all of the answers to these questions can represent substantial changes in your life as a result of the pandemic; therefore, these are the lesson you are learning. Learn them well and don’t lose them.

What lies ahead?

As MessyMarvelous opens another year, we have 4 blogs to freshen up your attitude and outlook as we near the anniversary of the start of the pandemic. You know us–we will give you deep and actionable skills that get to a level of change that will make your messy life more marvelous. As always, our blogs will post on Mondays and if you have not already subscribed, you can always find us on Facebook as Messy Marvelous and on Instagram @MessyandMarvelous. Over the next four weeks, look forward to these skills: Fall in Love; Claim Your Core Values; Adopt Essence not Excess; Develop Contemplative Listening.

Let’s not lose the lessons learned. Instead, let’s squeeze all we can out of this latest hardship on our journey in this messy, marvelous life.

warmest wishes to us all in this new year,

Rhea & Amy

Rhea A. Merck, Ph.D.

I am a Licensed Psychologist with a private practice in Columbia, SC, for over twenty years. Additionally, I teach and provide consulting services at the local University. I would describe myself as a persistent woman, mother of 2 amazing young women, writer, teacher, life-long learner, curious & creative human, lover of life, passionate about making life better every day… for more, visit my outdated website at or email me at [email protected]

Amy S. Montanez, D.Min.

I have a private practice of individual psychotherapy and marriage counseling in Columbia, SC. A few years ago my book, Moment to Moment: The Transformative Power of Everyday Life, won Spirituality and Health’s top 100 books of the year. I am passionate about many things in life, but especially about psychology, spirituality, dancing, cooking, marriage, family, friends, writing, traveling, and learning.

You can email me at [email protected]


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No one is too young or too old to develop or refine your Adulting Skills!

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