Word of the Year (Guest Post)

Every December I choose a single word to inspire me and to set the tone for the year.

Instead of making a list of resolutions that I would probably never revisit, I have my one word to use as a touchstone to remind me of my desires and hopes for the year. A word to help me stay on my path. A word to motivate and centre me. This word becomes my sankalpa, or intention, for my daily life.

I first came across the word of the year idea in late 2013. I had decided to give up alcohol for a year starting December 1, 2013. In the sober blog world I came across the idea of using a word as a guide for the year to help reinforce my desire to stay sober. I decided that my word for 2014 would be ACCEPTANCE.  I used it at yoga as my intention. I used it when I was mad at how life was. I used it when things didn’t go my way.

By the end of 2014 acceptance felt familiar and I realized having a set intention had been a positive force in my life. I also decided living alcohol free would be a permanent choice for me.

In 2015 I chose LOVE. I believe love is the root of everything. That we all need more love, not less, especially when we are angry, hurting, failing. And so I tried to respond to life with love. I was kinder and gentler to myself. 

I though love might continue and be my word every year, but when 2016 came around it was clear that my word would be FAITH. Faith in myself. Faith that I was ok, that I was a capable, competent and worthy person. Faith that I was on the right path.

Faith took me far in 2016. When we had to flee our home in Fort McMurray and drive through a fire (literally…I drove my van down a road burning on both sides). I had faith that I could handle the situation. And when I needed help doing that I asked for it. By allowing others to help hold me up when I was falling apart, I realized that I truly do have faith in me to do whatever needs to be done.

2017.  SANTOSHA or contentment. It is one of the niyamas, one of the 8 Limbs of ashtanga yoga. For me, it is being satisfied with what is…not rallying for or against what isn’t. It’s that deep feeling that everything is ok, that things are exactly as they are supposed to be. This one is tattooed on my wrist.

2018 was BELIEVE. I believe life is beautiful, that an open mind can see endless possibilities and that when I do things wholeheartedly I can be proud of my actions, even if the results aren’t always what I expect. Believe served me well that year.

In 2019 I picked the word BLOOM. I had found a quote “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted. Bloom.” I think it is from Christine Caine.

I had just separated from my husband and was devastated. I felt so overwhelmed and lost. Everything had changed. The image of the seed germinating quietly underground soothed me. 

Today, divorced and settled, and still sober! I feel like I have finally broken free of the ground and am blooming.

So, here we are, at 2020. I ask myself, what next? EXPLORE came to mind. I want to explore life and my own perspective. I want to step back and explore how my body feels in yoga. I want to explore going places on my own. I want to explore life with my kids, who are growing into adults so quickly.

Earlier this year my therapist asked me what my wants and needs are for myself. I couldn’t answer the question and it distressed me that I don’t even know what I need or want. I am 48. Shouldn’t I know this by now? 

2020 is my opportunity to explore exactly that. What do I want and need out of life, for me?

Explore feels exciting, a little scary, and motivating, just what I need. 

New Years resolutions feel restrictive to me. Setting an annual intention, with one single word, has really been a positive and affirming choice for me. Perhaps you might like to try it for 2020? If so, please share your word and why you chose it in the comments.

Stillness in peace