Good morning dear friends! I have been missing in action, I know, I know. My organization instinct kicked in late January and February, and I have been putting my house in order, de-cluttering, organizing, planning new projects (including some secret ones that I hope to be able to unveil later this year!) and, overall, getting ready for what looks like will be a very busy year.
I will tell you all about this in my next post, but today I wanted to talk to you about a ritual I initiated last year and that I have come to love: that of changing lists and resolutions for the choice of one word to guide us all year. And the reason I want to tell you about it is because this practice had a great impact on me in 2012.
2012…Have you had years when you look back, at the end, and say “this year changed me”? 2012 was such a year for me.
2012 changed me deeply, the way only difficult years can, and it is only now, already two months into 2013, that I am able to appreciate the extent of this change.I suppose it is always like that with difficult years: when all the bad and the ugly are taking place, our survival instincts kick in and there’s not much time for reflection. It is only when the storm has already passed that we can assess the damage, see what is left, and what we need to repair or rebuild. It is also only then that we can appreciate the extent of our resilience and truly value the skills that helped us through it all.
When 2012 began, I decided to choose a word for the year, instead of making resolutions. I had read about it and heard other people talk about their one word and what a powerful practice it was, and I was curious. So, in December 2011, I sat down in my hotel room in Buenos Aires while the rest of the family slept, with a little notebook given to me by my friend Laura in my lap, and a pen in my hand, and I reflected on the year that was finishing and on my hopes, wants and dreams for the one that was about to begin. I scribbled several words but there was one that kept coming to my mind: Integrate. I didn’t really know why I kept thinking about it or how it could apply to how my life looked at that point, but I decided to trust the Universe and my intuition and chose it nonetheless.
It turned out that it was the right choice, because early in 2012 almost everything I knew or thought I knew seemed to break into a million tiny little pieces, to disintegrate. And my word helped me cope.
When things got tough and then got worse before beginning to get better, I used to close my eyes, think about my one word, and say it aloud and, doing so, keeping it in mind helped me stay still and (moderately) calm and centered amid all chaos. Having just one word instead of lists made it easy to prioritize and, having a versatile word (that was also a call to action, made it simple to adapt its meaning and its message to almost every situation I found myself into. Simple is important when things fall apart because in those moments we cannot cope with confusion. Simple practices are the ones that we are able to maintain, that help keep us grounded. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the daily practice of a simple home yoga routine (yoga, which means none other than union) became such a big part of my life in 2012.
For one whole year, I sought for every part of both myself and my life to become whole, to integrate the person that I had once been with the one that I had become, to discern what it was that I needed to let go of and what I needed to embrace. The year and my word made me face that which was disconnected, that which needed to be integrated, . And the process changed me. Crisis are, indeed, opportunities for growth, as they say. Even if when they are taking place we wish they were not happening, even if when they are taking place it seems impossible to understand what the lessons are behind it all.
I began feeling the urge to choose a new word in early December 2012, when several others starting coming to my mind. Then January came and, after the first round of family colds and flu, I decided to choose my word differently this year, to delve deeper into the practice, to commit to it more because now I knew it was important. I printed Susannah Conway’s 2013 Unravelling the year ahead workbook , played some nice music, made a cup of chamomile tea and gave myself some time to let go of 2012 and start dreaming about what was to come.
I didn’t finish in one take, but I did finish. And also this time, the word chose me.
I had scribbled down a few words and they all seemed to be variations of the same theme but none seemed to click. Then one day, I was pondering about those words in my head while my husband watched the news, when I saw President Obama’s inauguration and remembered the powerful one word message of his campaigns. And then one word came to me, and I knew it was it .
2012 was the time to sit still, to ponder, to let go of what was but is no longer, to become whole.
2013 is the year I want to move forward, to embrace the changes that took place and see where they take me, to step firmly on the new ground and start walking towards the future. In 2013 I hope to explore new hobbies, to let go of fear and take a leap in those areas where, deep inside, I know I’m ready. I hope to challenge myself, to progress, and be a catalyst of change for those who want to come along with me. I want 2013 to be the year where I’ll dream new dreams and work hard to make them come true, and I want to believe, again, that there are no limits to our dreams and that everything is possible if we put our hearts into it.
Do you have a word for 2013? Have you ever chosen one? What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?
Amigos hispanoparlantes: la traducción al español será publicada esta noche!