(Most 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 each year though so…..)
Once again, it’s (almost!) that time of year.
Word Of The Year time! (WOTY)
I thought it time to jump in here with 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.
In 2014 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.
2015’s word was CURIOUS. It was wonderful! That year I jumped into a YogaTeacher 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, (update today: back on, but with MANY rules) moved into meditation, experimented with 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 fell in love with it all. Lots of things to be curious about and I explored them, am still exploring.
2016 brought the word TRUST.
I don’t even know what to say about this.
I had very specific reasons for choosing it, and it did work the way I “planned” (REMINDER: never plan!) some, but these last few months? UGH!
I am digging deep for the trust, very deep. But it’s there and I called it in, so now I have to TRUST that it will find me.
And now it’s almost 2017 and time for my 7th Word Of The Year! It’s amazing to me and wonderful.
I admit that for the last few weeks I have felt really strongly that I was going to re-do a word for the first time, that word being TRUST. I’m not gonna pretend I am not scared and worried about many, many (did I say many? ) things. I need to trust that things will be ok, but I know that for many people, probably including myself, they won’t be ok at all.
But another big part of the whole WOTY idea is that I don’t let go of the words.They stay with me, and I keep working with them. I wrote my 2 sentences about TRUST now, but I am still living in that curiosity, freedom, that openness, that sense of enough and, always, the yes.
So I know that TRUST will follow and continue to work me if I am open to it.
Just this morning I was preparing to teach a yoga class and I chose a theme that included an idea, and a word, that practically banged me on the head. It feels so right and incorporates some action to assuage some of the fears I have about the future, some things I am doing right now but need to get more invested in. I’m not announcing it until the 1st of January, as always, because I get great pleasure in writing an announcement blog. It is definitely resonating strongly though, but I like the idea of rolling it around a little until then.
But I also 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. Maybe it popped into your head as you read this, trust that (see what i did there!). There really are no guidelines. 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.
As I said, I dedicate a post to my word, as do many of you. I am looking forward to reading them all in the New Year.
Looking forward is an understatement.…I can’t wait!