2016: Light

2016: Light

One of my favourite things to do each year is to choose a word or a theme to guide me for the next 12 months. I got this idea from Elise Blaha Cripe, via Ali Edwards’ One Little Word project, and I’ve been doing it for three years now. My words so far have been reach in 2013, abundance in 2014, and grace in 2015. Seeing them all together makes me so happy, because any word I take on as a personal theme becomes really special to me. Abundance has probably been my most powerful word thus far – it really guided me through a year that was at times tumultuous and challenging. I also did a great job of keeping it at the front of my mind and reflecting on it often, two things I hope to do this year with my new word.

My word for 2016 is light. Even the word itself feels so evocative and uplifting, and it also makes me feel hopeful. To me, it seems to have that same quality that abundance did, in that it offers a very quick guide to switching to a more positive mindset and handling the less-than-ideal aspects of life. I also love that it has so many uses – it’s both a noun and a verb, not to mention a wonderful physical thing.

There are a few different ways I want to use light this year:

  • Be light: Be kinder to others and to myself. Take myself, and especially my temporary emotions, less seriously. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Be a light: Bring the positivity to the party, or the conversation, or the interaction. Share my knowledge and joy. Spread good ideas and wisdom.
  • Shine light: Focus my attention on all the good, positive, lovely things in my life. Thank and truly appreciate others.
  • Light up: Get really excited about things. Plan adventures, and look forward to them. Engage in interesting conversations, follow through on my passions, say yes to things that are exciting.
  • Feel the light: Literally get outside into the sunshine more often. Bring more light into our home in the form of lamps and warm lightbulbs, as well as a bit of light in the form of life: plants, music, animals. Remember to celebrate my small wins, appreciate when I am appreciated, and notice what’s great.

This year, I’ll also be taking Ali Edwards’ One Little Word workshop class for 2016. I’m hoping it will help me keep my word present in my everyday life and in turn make it more meaningful and helpful for me.

Lots of love and light to you and yours as we head into the new year!

You can see my words from previous years here: reach, abundance, and grace.

If you’d like a high-resolution copy of the wallpaper above, you can download it right here.

2015: Grace

Grace Quote Free Wallpaper >> Life In Limbo

For the past two years, I’ve chosen a guiding word for the year ahead. In 2013, my word was reach, which represented getting outside of my comfort zone after 4 years of doing the same thing, reaching out to others and trying to dream bigger. In 2014, I chose the word abundance, which served me in about a thousand ways this year including encouraging me to think outside the box, recognize all the possibilities open to me, and to think big instead of small. I love both of these words – I was actually reluctant to switch away from abundance, I don’t think it’s finished teaching me things – and will definitely keep them in my toolbox.

For 2015, my word is grace. I can’t say exactly where it came from, but when I was making shortlists of words for the year, grace kept appearing at the very top. This is the first of my words that has felt a little beyond me: I’m not religious, and “graceful” is not even one of the top 50 words that me or anyone I know would use to describe me. I don’t know how to embody grace, I’m pretty bad at having faith in things, I fall down a lot, and I don’t always take care of myself. But I wish I was better at all those things, which is exactly why I need this word this year.

Grace is one of those beautiful words that has so many different meanings and so many synonyms for each of those meanings. Some of my favourites are: charm, ease, kindness, charity, enhance, embellish, elevate. 

There are three ways that I want to approach grace this year:

  • Be graceful: I want to make choices that are in line with my values, stay centered, act calmly, dress well, listen to my still small inner voice, take care of myself, and not fall down so much.
  • Say grace: The way you might say grace around the dinner table to show your thanks for the food, I want to actively appreciate everything I am lucky enough to have in my life. I want to full experience and enjoy the moment. I want to tell people what they mean to me and keep in touch better.
  • Grace of the world: I want to working on letting go more and worrying less. I want to embrace that things work out the way they’re supposed to, and try to believe that “what misses me was never meant for me, and what is meant for me will never miss me.”

My choosing a word for each year is inspired by Ali Edwards’ One Little Word project. Her word this year is give which I love for all its various meanings and may adopt as one of my secondary words for the year (along with whimsy). I love having three little words that have a special meaning in my life, and I’m looking forward to seeing how grace grows with me this year.

Do you choose a word or intention to guide your year? 

More about my words of the year: Reach and Abundance. You can download that wallpaper here.

2014: Abundance

abundance

At the start of 2013, I chose the word reach as my one little word for the year. You can learn more about choosing a word here, but the gist is you choose a word to sort of guide you through the year. I think reach served me very well in 2013. I’ll be honest: my word wasn’t always on my mind, and my monthly goal setting dropped off somewhere around April (oops), but I think even the act of making the intention to reach more in 2013 shaped my choices and thinking this year. I pushed myself, I reached out, I explored the unknown and I tried my very best.

In 2014, my word is abundance. Abundance! I’ve been so into this word and concept over the last couple months that it just seemed like the perfect word to shape the coming year. I also worked through The Desire Map for the first time this December and chose abundance as one of my core desired feelings. I’ll be sharing my other four core desired feelings and what they mean for me in an upcoming post.

To me, abundance means:

  • believing that I am enough, that my choices are the right ones for me, that I’m going to be okay, and that things will work out
  • there is enough of everything to go around: love, money, happiness, adventure, beauty, intelligence
  • that life is not a competition or a zero sum game. Nobody has to lose so that I can win or vice versa. (I’m thinking about this on a macro level, not on a “who gets the job” kind of level)
  • having generosity of spirit: giving people the benefit of the doubt, being kind, giving of myself, my time, and my money, being the bigger person
  • being excited, enthusiastic and passionate about things in my life
  • being magnanimous
  • practicing gratitude for the friends, family, and fun that I have
  • believing that there is time and space to be patient and compassionate with myself and others
  • open-mindedness: there are many good, different ways to think, do, and live

I am really excited about 2014. The details are murky (where I’ll be living, where I’ll be working), but the broad strokes are exciting. I’ll be reading a lot, I’ll be practicing yoga, I’ll be keeping up with my creative projects (this blog and my podcast), I’ll be exploring and trying new things. And all the while, I hope to be remembering abundance and applying that beautiful, generous concept to every area of my life.

I’m very grateful this New Year’s Eve!

Happy New Year, everyone.

 

2013: Reach

Reach

This year, to wrap-up/look forward, I worked through Susannah Conway’s free Unravelling 2013 workbook. I really enjoy taking time to reflect on the year that’s passed and get giddy-excited about the year to come. (Note: I’ve done this with other workbooks, or just in a notebook of my own – it’s not the format that matters to me, it’s the act of actively looking forward that helps me most.)

My favourite exercise was choosing a word for 2013. I had read about having a guiding word for the year before (here and here) and I absolutely loved the idea. I’ve written before about having mantras or words to focus on while running and how much they help me to refocus. So having a word to try and center around this year makes total sense to me.

My word for 2013 is reach.

It’s a word that represents a lot of different things to me, and really captures the types of goals and intentions I have for 2013. I also love that it’s a word that implies autonomy – it’s up to me to reach up and out, it relies on me and my motivation. Reaching is self-driven: I can take it at my own pace, no pressure. Some meanings “reach” has for me, so far:

  • Reach, stretch, grow. Learn, practice, improve, read, try new things, say yes to things that scare and thrill me, say no to things that drain me.
  • Reach my potential. Ironically, I really want to stop ‘reaching’ in one sense of the word – I want to stop escaping into my phone, into social media, into the next big plan or idea. In 2013, I want to be more present. I want to be really in each moment and each experience. I want to let go of the desperate need to document every moment to share it with others, instead just letting myself live through it. I want to experience how wonderful something is while it’s happening, instead of realizing that it was special after it’s happened. I want to be more present and connected with the people I love. I want to reach my potential for health – continuing to eat better and exercise regularly. I want to take pride in the things I love to do. I want to notice the magic and beauty of my everyday life. I want to be grateful and fully love my life.
  • Reach out to others. Keep in touch with my family and far-off friends, more than I do currently. Plan more shared meals and coffee dates. Deepen my friendships. Ask for help, advice, wisdom.
  • Reach for the stars. Dream big. Stretch out of my comfort zone. Have a Great Safe Adventure. Make the impossible seem possible + plausible. Make it happen, all by myself. (I’m in the early stages of planning a great safe adventure in Europe for this summer/fall. It’s exhilarating and seems magical and distant and fantastical but bit by little bit I’m going to make it a reality.)

2013 already seems magic, and full of life, and bursting with happiness and possibility. It is also a picture that is slowly coming into focus but still holds a lot of mystery and things unknown. Which is why, this year, I’m moving away from setting big goals like I did for 2012. The scope of New Years Resolutions is much too wide for me in 2013. I don’t know where I’ll be in 6 months, so setting goals for the year feels wrong and pointless. It’s also true that for the last few years I’ve felt a bit restless and stuck, so setting creative goals to give me something positive and productive to focus on was extremely helpful and adaptive. Yet more and more, they are beginning to really feel arbitrary and constricting. I am happy with all the things I was able to create and achieve through setting lists of goals (and the joy of crossing things off my lists), but for the moment they don’t appeal to me.

In 2013, I’ll be giving myself a short list of goals or intentions each month. I think it will be good to have the flexibility, and to be able to include the things that are truly exciting for me each month. Normally, my intentions for the year get forgotten, because they can be vague and difficult to measure. But intentions are important, and I think by including some in each list of monthly goals, I’ll actually be able to focus on them and incorporate them into my life.

Here’s to 2013! Here’s to freedom, determination, happiness, beauty, good food, great friends, flexibility, lightness, being kind, stretching, adventures, and great big love. I love you, 2013.