I’ve chosen my word of the year. This is a practice I like to do to set a broad intention for the year to come. It’s a small, easy thing to do but it has major, major impact. Here’s the thing, I’ve always struggled with New Year’s resolutions despite trying many different formats. Resolving to live by a single word is simple but powerful. Unlike goals, you never forget the word and you can apply it to various aspects of your life-relationships, money, spirituality, parenting, health—all without having to break down each of these aspects and generate unique goals.
My 2017 word was PATIENCE. I was a new mom at the time (let’s face it, I still am) and I was struggling so much with that transition. I was missing the old me-my old energy level, my old freedom, my old sleep schedule. And that combined with the intensity of emotion in the post partum period, I felt like I was rushing to get “through” this tough phase. Patience was the word I needed to remind myself to slow down and savour these moments of new motherhood. Patience was this shining light that reminded me to soften. It was a reminder to be more compassionate to myself and others, not to judge so harshly and not to jump to conclusions so quickly. Perhaps the greatest reminder the word PATIENCE served was to recognize that everything is temporary; the present moment is an ever evolving entity. Whatever tough situation I was feeling was impermanent, it would pass. I just needed to be patient.
And here I am one week into 2018 with a much more patient approach to life. Did I nail it every time? No. I was definitely demanding and impatient many times about little and big things. But giving myself a perfect report card is not the point. I cultivated patience in 2017 and along with it more self love and self compassion. I learned from the times I acted both patiently and impatiently. And now my patience practice will be there in the background getting stronger while I work on a new practice in 2018.
For 2018, I chose the word: WONDER. It’s something I’ve been pondering a lot lately. The world can seem so dark at this time of year, both literally and politically. The days are short and the news is exploding with stories of suffering, intolerance, violence, oppression. It’s easy to get caught up in that depressing highlight reel but, the reality is, the light in the world really is greater than the dark. Nature, despite our constant abuse of her, is abundant and beautiful. In contrast to stories of violence, people really are reaching out and doing good things for each other every day. People are healing and loving. There is fun and joy to be found in every aspect of life, if we let ourselves. So that’s what I’m going to use the word WONDER for, as a guidepost for looking for magic in every experience. Not just the new experiences either but seeing repeated experiences and daily routines with new enthusiasm and appreciation. When I’m feeling bored, I’ll use wonder to push me to step outside my comfort zone. When I’m feeling hurt or shocked, I’ll use wonder to keep me curious about why something is bothering me so much. I’ll use wonder to be creative in coming up with solutions to problems rather than getting stuck in my problems.
There are many lessons I’ve learned from my daughter, but none is greater than seeing her face absorb her entire world with wonder. No item or event is too mundane, she generously gives her attention to her world and absorbs the magic she sees in everything. I’m hopeful to act out wonder even half as well as she does this year.
Perhaps you want to choose a word of the year too…it’s not too late at all! Other words I considered that might inspire you: