Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Looking Back at 2011 to Look Forward to 2012

As I reflect back on the year of 2011 for me, I can appreciate all that I have learned and gotten out of this year. I have accomplished a lot and also failed a lot. I am grateful for both. I have taken risks, which have taught me lessons, I might never have learned had I never tried. Over and over, I have been reminded to truly appreciate the moments and lessons along the journey - no matter how wonderful or painful - for they each come with their own gifts!

So I share with you a look back at 2011. I am sharing 12 memories or lessons, that inspired, informed or shaped my life in some way. I have categorized them across physical, mental, spiritual and emotional realms as I believe that balance in our lives is like the four tires of a car across these realms. If one or more tires are out of balance, then my whole life can get a little rocky and imbalanced. As I strive to find more balance in my life, here are 12 lessons, from 2011, to inform more peace and harmony in my life for 2012! (I know this is a lot of information, but it is a recap, so check out what you want, discard the rest!)

Mental (Intellectual/Biz)

  1. A VC's wisdom. I have to say, I am not the biggest fan of all VC's (Venture Capitalists to some, Vulture Capitalists to others ;). However, that being said, one VC that stands out and writes remarkable, informative blog posts is Fred Wilson. He writes almost every day and shares wisdom from his daily experience as a VC that are insightful. His blog is www.avc.com and a recent blog post and video that stood out for me was about business and sustainability that is long, but worth watching, particularly the last few minutes if you have it in you: http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/10/lineage.html.
  2. Women as a Force for Good. Being that I am a woman in business, I am extremely passionate about our place in business, technology, startups, and investing to both transform business, but also have an impact on the planet. We are the voices for a new sustainable, responsible and conscious capitalism that can make business a force for good! Here are some of my blogs and other interesting articles reminding us of the power (and limitations) of women worth checking out can be found in my recent blog: The Next Steve Jobs...A Chick!
  3. The loss of Steve Jobs. Whether you liked him or not, Steve Jobs's passing this year was a loss of a great mind. My favorites included his tribute to The Crazy Ones and his Stanford Graduation Address. But for the good, there was also the not as well known Dark Side of Jobs. And finally, my favorite a recent article about the next Steve Jobs being a CHICK...Amen to that!


  1. Sugar is bad, mKay?! I know I probably won't win a popularity award condemning sugar around the holidays, but it is worth knowing ALL of the negative implications of sugar and some better alternatives, including: Xylitol and Stevia. More at my Sugar Blog.
  2. Food Matters. What you put in your body - matters - you are what you eat! Evidence shows that every cell in our bodies is replaced somewhere between every year to within seven years. Given that, the implications of studies by Masaru Emoto on water, and the film Food Matters, our bodies are impacted by our thoughts, the food we eat and supplements, so remember to take better care of your body! More at my blogs: You are What You Eat and Supplements for Thought.
  3. Surfing, a great metaphor for life. My passion for surfing has translated into so many lessons in my life. It reminds me to keep getting up, even when I'm knocked down, to have patience, to be present and to be persistent and perseverant. More at my Surfing Blog.


  1. Giving Back. The earthquake in Japan early in the year set the tone for the year - one of giving, one of deep shifts in our planet's consciousness, and the recognition that we are all connected. Giving's visibility and impact grew throughout the year, which leaves us with reminders that in giving we receive! Some of my blogs on Japan and a three part series giving this year include: Giving for Thought-Japan; Look at Giving Part 1, Giving Part 2, Giving Part 3.
  2. Occupy Wallstreet. While some might not put this in the spiritual category, I am putting it here because it is a call for more consciousness and responsibility in finance, business and government. The movement of OccupyWallSt can be tracked at their website: http://occupywallst.org/. Though some of the most powerful moments from the Occupy movement recently that occurred at UC Davis were captured both in Words and in Pictures. Of A good reminder that even in a "free country" and the "greatest democracy on earth," we still have to stay awake and make sure that our freedoms don't get widdled away. Democracy requires consciousness on each of our parts to stay awake and stand up, when necessary, for what we believe in to make this world a better place.
  3. The Power of Meditation and the Aquarian Age. Whether you are a believer or not, increasing evidence is coming out about the benefits of meditation - not only to relieve stress, but actually to heal and to improve our efficiency in life and in business (Got Meditation Blog). Additionally, we have entered the Aquarian Age, which is about bringing more balance, feminine energy and healing to the planet (Aquarian Age Blog). Some of my blogs remind us to Breathe, Pay it Forward, and Leave Everything Better Than When You Found It!


  1. Joy and Laughter. Life just wouldn't be the same without giggles, laughter and joy. So don't forget to have a sense of humor! Here are two funny reminders that made me laugh this year: a Letter to Ryan Gosling that definitely got a giggle out of me and some of my friends ;) and a Video Compilation of parents playing tricks on their kids for Halloween, funny! Laughter - pass it on!
  2. Overcoming Fear. I recently read a quote by Michael J. Fox: "The only thing that separates any one of us from excellence is fear and the opposite of fear is faith." It was a good reminder that in order to overcome our fears, we have to face our fears and go through them (or around them), but not let them stop us - as was my Super P Rappel Against Cancer. Sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel the fear and even let it slow us down - Even Superheroes Have Bad Days! Just as long as we remember to get back up afterwards!
  3. All you need is LOVE. This year hasn't been a big one for me for finding love outside of myself, but it was a good one for finding love within, accepting myself unconditionally and even falling in love with myself. In doing so, I also have realized how important love is...it really is all you need and meeting someone who loves you ain't so bad either...I guess that's something to look forward to in 2012! Perhaps I am learning the Keys to the Castle. And if not, I've always got the Beatles to remind me!

Happy Holidays and New Year! May 2012 be your best year yet!

You can find me at www.facebook.com/pilarstella1 and twitter @pilarstella.

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