(Some of this post has been copied and pasted, so if you think you’ve read parts of it before you probably have. I have new friends this year though so…..)
Once again, it’s (almost!) that time of year.
Word Of The Year time!
I thought I might jump on here as a reminder to those of you who join me and to explain the genesis of the practice for those of you who might like to give it a shot.
In late 2010 I read a blog by someone (and it kills me that I have no recollection of who it was…of course, I was still drinking then, so it’s not a huge surprise!) who talked about how useless resolutions were for her and how she had, for years, chosen a single word as her, what? inspiration, focus, meditation? for the year. I really don’t remember much except “resolutions are useless” and “a word”. I certainly knew resolutions were useless by then, but the idea of a word for the year stuck. It intrigued me and I thought I’d maybe give it a spin.
Well, I thought and thought about my word. I thought a surprising amount about it because, as I stated above, I was still drinking. However, I read about the word after my horrendous Thanksgiving Day bottom and thus I had already set in motion whatever was set in motion that day.
I finally decided on the word YES! It was a big word, a HUGE word, but I felt so sad and desperate and I needed a big word, a big challenge, a big change.
So I chose YES and it chose me. I decided to say yes to everything, no matter how afraid I was, and I was scared of everything. By that point I barely left the house, so this was a big deal. In January I was asked about training to be a leader for the grief groups and I said YES. I just did it. And the year continued like that. I got sober, found work I loved to do and just changed so much.
The second year I chose ENOUGH. I had this notion that it was about being enough, good enough, smart enough, whatever enough. The interesting thing about the word of the year though is that, while we may have an idea in our heads about what the words mean, often times the words work us differently. The word enough came to be more about ENOUGH! I’ve had it vs. I am enough. It was a good lesson for me in allowing the word to work me, and it does. Choosing a word is a lot about trusting the process and allowing. It’s not for the faint-of-heart.
Year 3 I chose OPEN and, wow. It was an amazing year in terms of being open to all sorts of new thought. I went to yoga for the first time, and although it wasn’t until the end of the year that I actually established a practice, the genesis was in the word. I also sold my house, my son moved out in his own,I moved to an apartment and changed so much about my life. I found the beginnings of spirituality, something I had been so closed off to for so long. I started a daily gratitude practice and, um, gratitude? I had to be very open to that! OPEN was great word for me.
Last year I chose the word FREE. The start of that word working me was in September 2013 when I moved into my apartment, but FREE was perfect word for my first full year out on my own again. Unfettered, not tied down to anyone or anything. No son, no dog….just me. Free to do all the yoga I wanted, to move into meditation, to say more yeses than ever because I was free to. I see now how that word was working me again, vs my working it.
For 2015 I chose the word CURIOUS. It’s been pretty wonderful. This year I jumped into a yoga teacher training and it just started a huge onslaught of things to be curious about, starting with my practice and how it changes. Plus..Sanskrit! That’s pretty curious! (Namaste). I quit Face Book (and can I tell you how glad I am as I see what type of political insanity we are faced with? I would have been blocking people right and left anyway!). I have moved into meditation this year and I also took a course with a teacher via online that had to do with self-care and Auyervedic principle. I got curious about what getting up earlier might mean to me, what longer meditation might mean, what the practice of abhyanga (self oil massage based on dosha type….I KNOW!!! it sounds crazy but I have fallen in love with it). I get up early Sunday mornings and church is the farmer’s market and all the deliciousness that curiosity about cleaner eating has brought me. I’m not off-line..actually I have become obsessed with podcasts about anything and everything…curiousity run amok!
I have also realized that all my curiosity about online dating is waning, and fast. I find I am curious about what it might mean to face the rest of my life without a significant other. I’ll never be alone; I am too blessed with unimaginably exquisite friendships and support. But I am sitting in this one, have been for a while. At the same time, my relationship with the fabulous Wonder Boy has never been better, and I have practiced curiosity with him all year….how would it be if I actually just stayed our of his business, let him truly make his decisions, not give unasked for advice? It has been a good year for both of us, even though I had to watch as he endured some struggle. This morning we met for tea because, well, he hadn’t seen me in a week and….miracle!
Another big part of the whole Word Of The Year idea is that I don’t let go of the words.They stay with me, and I keep working with them. I’m writing about curious now, but I am still living in that freedom, that openness, that sense of enough and, always, the yes.
And now it’s almost 2016 and time for my 6th Word Of The Year! It’s amazing to me and wonderful. I have a list…but I always do. I think of a great word then kind of try it out, maybe discard it or maybe put it on the back burner because something else has chimed in…it’s a process, and one that I enjoy. I have some terrific possibilities and , hopefully, will decide by the January 1.
But I need to keep in mind, and remind all of you, that whatever word we choose works us, not the other way around. Allowing it to propel us into new adventures or keep us grounded, to remind us of our true selves and what we cherish, or to make us aware of what we need more of. The word we choose, I think, chooses us. And January 1st is just another day. If a word hasn’t settled by then, whatever. It will come when it’s ready. There really are no guidelines here. This is a practice that those of us who do it take seriously…but not too damn much! It means a lot and is a lot of fun; surprising and exhilarating and often liberating…especially the first time when you let go of the idea of resolutions and get willing to follow a word. It only takes the willingness to allow whatever happens to happen, and to be aware of how the word is working in your life
Anyway, I wanted to put out this reminder and explanation. Reminding those of you who have been joining me to get thinking, and inviting others to join in if the practice resonants with you. I dedicate a post to my word, as do many of you. I am looking forward to reading them all in the New Year.
I can’t wait!!!!