About 8 years ago I let go of my annual tradition of creating a list of New Year’s resolutions. While it was a tradition intended to help me “better” myself, it often caused me stress, disappointment, and seemed to exacerbate my insecurities. While New Year’s resolutions can help some reach goals and craft a vision of themselves, for me it triggers something deep inside of me that says “not enough”, “I’ll be happier when…”, “I need more of...”, “I should”, etc.
Lots of judgment, lots of expectation, lots of future trippin’. Not helpful.
So for those of you who are looking for a different kind of practice this year, I offer a tradition a couple of my dear friends and I started about 8 years ago. Through the years, it has transformed from a tradition to a spiritual practice that has helped me be more present to my life.
Each year on January 1st, my friends and I choose one word. The word that we choose is like a theme that is laced throughout the year. We invite this word into our personal lives in an intentional and focused way. We choose the word and let it reveal its teachings to us all year long. Sometimes the word teaches us obvious or unexpected lessons. Sometimes the word encourages us to embody its essence in various moments through the year. Sometimes the word helps us bring more awareness of its presence in different aspects of our lives. Sometimes we actively cultivate and manifest the qualities of the word in our lives. Sometimes the word shows us its deeper meaning. We hold this word close throughout the year and cultivate a mindful presence to it. We then reflect with each other on how the word shows up in our year as we move through February…June...October…etc. We share with each other ways we see the other person’s word showing up for them. We share with each other testimonies of our dance with our word. And then we start again on January 1st with a new word. Each year is a new discovery.
Some of my words throughout the years…
Each word had lessons and revelations. Each word had a way it challenged and affirmed me. Each word had a deeper meaning by the end of the year.
Blessings and Happy New Year!