For the past few years, I’ve used Susannah Conway’s lovely guide Unravelling the Year Ahead as a gentle way to mark the new year with a bit of reflection. I print it out in booklet form, flip through and fill out whatever bits prompt a response, and then tuck it away with my journals to check back on later. I just pulled out my 2014 book and found it was especially sparse, but the items that I had completed were all the more telling. It was this process that introduced me to the idea of choosing a word for the coming year, and I do really enjoy mulling what single word will become my intention.
My word for 2014 was brave. Not the most original, I know, but it was good to me. When I go back to the place where I was when I chose that word, it feels tight and closed. I needed a little bravery to navigate out of that spot.
I didn’t see just how it would be so at the start, but this turned out to be a very good year in lots of ways. The most universal theme was finding some spaciousness in life again, a little room to play in the margins. Room to fit something new into my weeks, like running. Room to stretch myself with something completely new, like writing a blog! And room to explore more interests, like rug braiding and wildcrafting and soap-making, to name just a few. (And now the word room is bouncing around my brain and sounding really weird.)
Some of the highlights were times off work when I chose more rejuvenating and less exciting vacations. I started 2014 with my first silent meditation retreat, a 5-day experience that set the tone and was profound in ways I didn’t appreciate immediately. In February, I spent a whole week off with a dear friend who visited and in August, we spent a gloriously relaxing week paddling in the North Cascades.
So while space feels like the theme in retrospect, I think it was a few brave choices that cracked open that space, and a lot of little everyday braveness that made it rich.
For 2015, my word is “today”. As I was considering the options, I kept finding myself drawn to very active verbs, which felt like they could easily turn on me. “Today” has some of that same flavor, it says get out there and do it TODAY, no more planning or procrastinating or making excuses. I feel like I’m ready for a daily encouragement to live less in my head and more in my physical world, less in the future or the past and more in the now.
But the flip side is equally compelling to me: “just today”. Once again, an invitation out of my head and the overwhelm I’m prone to find there. An invitation to breathe, a reminder that no matter what the day brings, it’s just one day and all I can ask is that I do right by myself with it.
I feel great energy going into this year, but I don’t have any big master plans that I hope to execute. I’m feeling like it’s all about living the best “today” for 365 days, and then looking back in wonder at everything they held.
Cheers to a 2015 worthy of wonder!