You were born with wings.
New Year’s resolutions are made with the best of intentions but as we proceed through January, they can begin to feel like a burden we didn’t ask for. It’s difficult enough to endure the cold, dark days of January, without getting disheartened about not meeting self-imposed obligations.
This time last year I proposed abandoning resolutions in favour of a Word of the Year- a way of setting a pattern for how we want to live out the coming year.* The Word you adopt becomes a guidepost that provides direction for choices you make (both large and small) rather than a set of rules. The appeal of a Word of the Year is its economy. No requirement to be perfect or do things in a certain way- simply a focus. Simple is good.
When I started this practice my word of the year was FUN. I decided that on matters of importance- particularly ones that required a decision, such matters had to pass the threshold of Fun. It goes without saying that the laundry and other tedious tasks still have to be done and yes, frustration rears its head from time to time. Having a Word doesn’t inoculate us from difficulty or sorrow. But a Word of the Year such as Fun was a reminder of what was important to me and when possible, to shelve the stuff that wasn’t. I continued to keep the word Fun in my repertoire as I added other words such as Adventure and Mindfulness. All are within the embrace of my much loved word JOY.
In December I began to ponder my Word of the Year for 2018. Some that came to mind were: Boundless; Cherish, Kindness; Play; Inspire, and one of my favourites- Wild. So how to decide? Sometimes a word simply pops into your head and resonates with you in some way. Ideally, that word should reflect the direction or tone you want your life to take.
I have also found that words can present themselves in a range of ways. One word that keeps surfacing for me is Simplicity. Related words as such Shed, or Let Go, or Minimalism seemed to come up too, revealing themselves in conversation, in writing, or in odd situations. For example, I went to buy a 2018 calendar and the only one available in the size I wanted was called Simplicity.
All of that should have been a sign but I decided on Possibilities-specifically Limitless Possibilities. These two words capture a constellation of feelings and experiences that began in 2017 and upon which I hope to build. Possibilities are always open to us and a reminder that life isn’t an either or scenario; there are always choices available, limitless in fact! Possibilities also carry a sense of anticipation and excitement- a wonderful surprise that we don’t know about as yet. Of course we need to act on possibilities- actively reach for them and nurture them along so they become part of our lives. I love how Possibilities invite the question: What are you waiting for?
I haven’t let go of Simplicity. In order to transform possibilities into reality, it’s essential to shed the stuff (material objects; beliefs; limiting thoughts; habits) that we don’t need. How can we fly if we are weighed down by things that are unnecessary or that hold us back?
In setting a pattern for how we live and the choices we make, a Word of the Year also opens the door to questions that help us with those choices:
- What is my story?
- How do I begin?
- What matters?
- Why not? (My favourite!)
Words find a place in our hearts and minds, shaping what we feel and do. As such, words matter. It’s worth some time to consider your Word of the Year. You never know the possibilities ahead.
A number of you sent feedback on the last blog post, Looking Back; Looking Ahead. There was certainly a sense that 2017 was a difficult year. Sometimes current events can feel like a scene out of Dr. Strangelove. Given the disturbing tweets from “45” in response to rocket man about having the bigger button, I was struck by an article (link below) from the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. It was written by Rabbi Lisa Goldstein entitled Add More Light. I love her statement: “There are times when joy is an act of resistance”. What a novel and refreshing take on the somber mood of the world!
*For further information on Word of the Year, see Christine Kane: www.christinekane.com