As I mentioned yesterday, my word finally presented itself while I was listening to Elise and Ali during Elise's podcast. Eleanor and I were driving back from a quick trip to Portland and she was sleeping, so I was able to catch up with a few episodes. When Ali talked about open, her word from 2013, I felt my shoulders relax and my heart expand and I knew I'd found my word.
Usually I share my word at the end of December. I'd planned to share how I was going to work with four words this year, but I just couldn't figure out how to talk about them, so I knew I hadn't quite found the right practice for me.
That said, I think working with multiple words is an awesome idea and I am actually going to keep those four words + "open" front and center for me this year. Each of them appeared in the brainstorming exercise I did in my journal above: rise, peace, allow, and delight.
I've started this journal that's going to focus on "open." It's where I'll be putting my responses to the prompts in Ali's One Little Word class (which is an awesome way to help you keep your word visible throughout the year - I highly recommend it!) and where I'll just be touching base with myself about how I'm staying open...how the word is affecting me...and what I'm learning along the way. I'm excited to try this method. I can imagine it holding other journaling that feels connected to my soul care practice right now (for example, I'm adding some journaling from Viv's Cultivating Self-Care class).
For a peek at how I created another journal that brought together all I was learning from my 2012 word "whole," see this post.
Here's what I know right now: Open has four really important meaning/intentions for me this year.
1) Staying open to connection: I continue to feel a deep longing for in-person connection on a much more frequent basis. My summer watercolor picnics were one way that I tried to create this for myself and others. I hope to do more things like this and just risk saying, "Want to meet up for coffee?" more often this year. I felt a shift already happening this fall and I want to push myself to keep going, to keep staying open, and to allow space for that connection in my life.
2) Keeping my heart open: This one is especially about my marriage. Since Ellie was born, there are parts of me that have been more closed than I ever imagined they could become, which is in such contrast to how I've felt so broken open in so many beautiful ways these last few years. The first year of her life was such a hard one for me, and I put up some walls for self-protection. As I've said to a few close friends, the first two years of motherhood felt like I was literally keeping her alive while she was on heart medication before and after her heart surgery, and in many ways that was true. And when you're in that kind of caretaker role while also growing your business, sometimes the little acts of connection and intimacy and love give way to the to-do list and the need for deep self-care and rest. The ability to vulnerably say, "I miss you and I need a hug" felt very far away. Right now, I'm asking myself, "How can I be even more open in this moment?" and seeing where it takes me/us. Jon and I also going back to a practice I shared here, where we're going to write letters back and forth in a journal. A simple way to just reconnect. I probably won't be sharing too much about this here (we'll see), but it is an important part of my personal practice this year.
(Note that I'm not looking for advice about this but am instead sharing a brief glimpse into our world because I know it might help someone else who needs to add a similar practice to their intention for themselves and their family right now. Thanks for understanding.)
3) Open to change/feeling uncaged: This connects to wanting to feel freedom as I make some changes to my business, specifically with the ecourses and retreats I offer. No big news yet as I'm in the beginning dreaming stages with some of it. But I'm excited to be in this place of "newness" and possibility again, even while I'm grieving letting go of some things. I'm interested in seeing how the practice of being open helps me heal from this grief (and other grief in my life).
4) Open to the unexpected, to delight: When a customer ordered the phrase "rise and shine" for her word of the year necklace, as I was hammering it, I got this image of how the sun opens up the possibility in each day and how we have the choice to rise and shine and be in this light or to stay closed to what is waiting for us. We can rise up each day. We can stand in our light. We have the choice to be delighted by this possibility or ignore it. I want to stay open to the delight waiting for me each day.
What word are you working with this year?
If you're still deciding, one idea would be to try to the brainstorming exercise I did in the photo above. I put my word in the middle of the page and just started writing words and phrases that felt connected to it, then words connected to those words etc. You could do this with several words you are thinking about working with. Get curious.
And if you have your word, I'd love to know what it is. Share in the comments please. (And maybe even try this exercise with your word as you think about the practice you're creating for yourself right now.)
Thanks for being here beside me,