Take a moment to reflect

Take a moment to reflect as we come into the holiday season. Give yourself a few moments to think about how far you’ve come, what you’ve learned, what made you grow, what stretched you out of your comfort zone, and what you accomplished. Whether great or small, important to many or just to yourself, give yourself some praise. Put to the side for a moment all the things that you could have done or been better, things you started but didn’t complete, goals you didn’t accomplish, and changes you wanted but didn’t make. Save those for your next set of goals or resolutions. Allow yourself at least one minute to reflect on your successes this year. If this is unfamiliar, start small and think of those you have made smile, helped, supported and loved.
This year has been filled with hard-work, some accomplishments, many challenges and even more opportunities. When I started the year I had worries about continuing full time doing my PhD on a part time income. The reality being, my grades were high enough to get in the PhD programme but not good enough to earn a scholarship. One of the things I’m proud of, is that as I earned more, my lifestyle didn’t get too fancy or change too much. I have always been resourceful and resourcefulness is one of my greatest talents. You might believe the universe came to my rescue, because much to everyone’s surprise after a restructure, a full-time role was created working with a dream-team, in a dream-job. So, the dream-duo became the Dynamic-Trifecta team and off we set on creating a vision and purpose, defining our pedagogical foundations and seeing how far we could go in progressing Māori and Pacific students with our Te Fale Pouāwhina – Student Learning Services programmes. Choice work team!

At the same time, I got through my provisional year and navigated my way through an ethics proposal which required four revisions. Despite losing interest, getting pissed off, and falling in to victim mode, I got over myself and just did what I had to do. At first I freaked myself out with the process. It seemed to take too long when my other peers were getting through. Then I came to understand it is not a race, it is about extending beyond your comfort zone, learning the rules of the game, playing the game and winning. Last week, I eventually got through! Ethics approved – yee ha! Next year, I won’t torture myself with all that “bull*&^%-story” I was telling myself, and just learn the game better, play the game better and take each win and celebrate.

I learned there is no such thing as work-life balance when you work full time, study part time and sign up for the Oxfam 50km Trailwalker challenge. Every decision counts. Whether it is to have that extra sleep instead of getting up earlier to study, exercise or meditate. There is a cost and you must be ready to pay. Instead of mindlessly choosing to get some more sleep by default because of not making a decision or following through on a previous decision, you will be called to take responsibility eventually. Choose your choices, because you might need that extra sleep more than that extra training. Go with what ever is the best decision at the time, because eventually down the track you will be accountable for that decision. Decisions such as meeting hand-in deadlines, or walking the 50km walk too heavy or not fit enough. That’s when those previous decisions or non-decisions will count. I think of the amazing women around me, some also have children, life-partners, and community responsibilities to juggle as well! Thank you amazing wahine for the inspirations you are! From these women, my mentors and peers, I learned that what you must do is balance diet, exercise, rest and me-time. Sticking to the basics; drinking plenty of water, excellent nutrition, good daily habits to conquer self-doubt, self-criticism or negative self-talk, and regular bouts of exercise, even if it means getting off the bus earlier to walk a little extra or taking the stairs – it all counts towards managing what you’ve decided are your goals and having life-life balance.

A wise lecturer showed us a slide one day that said something like, the harder I work, the luckier I become. I think this has been my experience this year. I’ve attracted so many opportunities and I’ve noticed them, and been ready for them. The opportunities were probably always there but before I wasn’t ready or self-aware enough to notice. I’ve travelled to Australia to be coached by some of the best and most influential personal development trainers in the world alongside some of the most interesting and exciting people. I’ve been to some phenomenal conferences and learned from some cutting-edge thought leaders. I’ve been privileged to work with outstanding Māori and Pacific students who challenged me to be a better version of myself. I’ve been sustained by and collaborated with some absolute legends. My family has backed me every step of the way and given me space to do what I have to do. Yes, this year I am truly grateful! Reaching my half-way milestone has caused me to reflect and realise with gratitude what a truly blessed person I am. Despite where I have come from and what I’ve been through, I wouldn’t change a thing because I’ve learned everything I needed to, to be right here where I am at now. Just me and enough!

Next year I’ll work on being kinder to myself and others. I will continue filling my mind with positive self-talk and self-praise, to reprogramme some of the self-destructive and undermining programming I’ve allowed into my world. I’ll continue to progress my goals, learn more, grow as a person and develop daily habits that ensure my mission is fulfilled: To empower myself and others to realise tino rangatiratanga and know our true spiritual identity.

What about you? Take a moment now to reflect. Will you find learning in all the times you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new, challenging or difficult? Did you learn from the times, events, and occassions when it didn’t quite go to plan? Did you extend yourself and do better than you did the day before? Did you take a few moments to think about how far you’ve come? Did you reflect on what made you grow? Did you allow yourself a moment to revel in who you are and what you have accomplished? If not, then when? You deserve those few moments, you really do!!! Enjoy them!


  1. Jodi Porter

    Ataahua rawa Abigail xox Thanks for being part of what was a very reflexive retreat for me…not much writing done, but lots of inner healing and outward gazing xox Look forward to being able to cheer you on in your Oxfam hikoi and to celebrate this phd milestone once we both submit! Mauri ora e hoa xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Digital IwI

    Ae rā, e tika ana te kōrero nei. Kimihia te ao hou, kimihia te ao hurihuri. Heoi anō, kei reira ngā tāngata hou mōu hei whakaarahia, hei hapaitia, hei whakapikia, tae noa atu ki ngā reanga teitei mōu. Nā reira, Meri Kirihimete ki a koe me tōu whānau, nā Hone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mbrebner

    I did the full-time work, part-time study and ridiculously long walk a few years ago. I was only studying at undergrad level, but I was doing the 100 km Oxfam walk. It is a fabulous experience. I was so elated when we crossed the finish line. It was definitely worth it. I’m happy to meet for a coffee to give you some tips, and would love to sponsor you. The important thing to note, is that it is doable; although I will leave it to other people who know me go comment on how sane I was at the end of it! Kia kaha.


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