for the past couple of years, i have chosen a word for the year. in 2010 the word was clear. in 2011, it was wild abandon, and boy was it ever–the outcome of which still has me surprised (and grateful). these past years catapulted me into my voice, my heart, and my passions. quite literally, everything changed. i did many new things, some of them excruciatingly hard, as i made a commitment to myself and to the ones i love to speak my truth, to be transparent, and to feel everything. i fall short every day on this promise, but i hold the intention. because the alternative is a level of discomfort that is intolerable. and i can honestly say that the whole of my life, especially my relationships, holds a fulfilling depth of intimacy that is the reward of this intention. i have personal testimony that love, and the truth, always win.
looking ahead, i know this year holds many more opportunities for travel, beauty, and connection. i also know there will be shifts in the way that happens, specific to my projects and my mission, as i refine my understanding of how best to be of service to my heart and to the world (which i believe is the same thing). in my continued search for doorways to freedom, this fall had me stepping back and going into a deeper level of inquiry with myself than i have before. in these past few months of going in, i have sat with my crazy, my misshapen, my less-than, my too-much, my sad, my hurt, my loneliness, my anxious, my terrified, my embarrassed, my ashamed, my tired and my weak. in the company of these parts of myself, i experienced anger, lethargy, heart palpitations, and more tears than i thought i had left in me (i am a champion crier). i dropped balls, broke promises, and cancelled many things. there were days that i was just a heap on my office floor, surrounded by sufi poetry and tissue box. but i did it. i felt everything and i began to mine for my own prescription for wellness. i asked for help and i accessed the medicine that i needed to feel more free–my own personal alchemy for self-care. more important than sharing the practices i do and the supplements i take, is my sharing that what i realized i had to do was to ask MYSELF, my body, what i needed to feel well, and to listen for the answer.
and that leads me to the word for the year, EMBODY, the definition of which is to “provide a spirit with a physical form.” what became clear to me in 2011 was that the war i have waged with my body no longer serves me, and more so it stands in the way of my fully showing up, experiencing freedom, and being of service to my heart and to the world. i speak of connection and beauty as my highest ideals and passions, yet i have lived a lifetime of disconnection with my own body and of denouncing my own beauty. this is the year to let that go. i want the same intimacy with myself that i seek with others. i want to experience the radiance in myself that i am attracted to in others. i want to feel free in my skin, well from the inside out. i want to have a love affair with myself. this is not about narcissism nor is it about some flogging exercise routine or fasting for a month. i refuse to subscribe to “no pain, no gain.” been there and done that. this is about listening, tending, nurturing. my supporting words are GRACE and EASE. i am making choices based in peace and not in conflict.
choosing a word to guide our intentions for the year is a powerful thing. really, the word chooses us. for me, as i’ve gone to the depths of my spiritual and emotional bodies, and become a more wholly integrated self, it is not at all shocking that the physical body is now speaking its truth. the temple that houses all the impressions of who i am has been neglected. i haven’t loved it. praised and appreciated it, or gently coaxed it into taking its best form. my body has been criticized from within ever since i was told at a young age that it was not ok, and i believed it.
of course, once a word chooses us, the obstacles of doubt and denial stage a flash mob in our path. it has already happened. only this time i have a plan. i am rubbing scented oil on my skin and taking myself for a walk. i am chopping kale and making love. i am indulging my senses and forgiving myself. i am adorning and prioritizing. i am juicing and eating cake. i am meditating and listening. praying and trusting. i am loving. and i am embodying all that i KNOW now to be true.
thank you in advance, 2012.
note: after i had chosen my word, i listened to tara brach’s latest dharma talk, fittingly titled “Embodied Presence.” i treasure her guidance and wisdom. have a listen here.
photo: first sunrise of 2012.