“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”-Anais Nin
Last January my dear friend Jen Lemen encouraged me to pick one word that would be the anthem for year. It was the beginning of what I knew would be an interesting twelve months. I was ready to let my failed marriage go, I was ready to start healing. Picking one word to sink into…Well that seemed like an exercise that made alot of sense. I wasn’t sure how I could begin to wrap my head around the huge wide open path of possibility that stretched before me, but I could understand one word, I could wake up in the morning and face one word. It could be a little touchstone, a pact with myself. A mnemonic device of sorts, something to help me remember what my heart thought it needed, to help me call forth what I dreamed of when I felt stuck in the muck. My word could be like a little sign post–something to help guide me through the tougher days.
Last year my word was RENEWAL. It turns out there could not have been a more perfect word to capture the theme of the year. For me, 2007 was like an early spring day. My life, my happiness, my ability to feel real joy–it was coming back, strong and vibrant. In the dark places of my life, the places I thought only dead branches lay, new hope sprung forth like the bright green buds on a dogwood tree. Through the compost pile I thought was my failed little family, community sprung up, thick and green and lush. Over and over again with each breath, I saw an opportunity to start again, to do something a little differently, to hold myself a little more kindly. Even the rain ,when it came, had its purpose. With each difficult experience I learned something and grew a little more. There were lots of moments over the course of the year where my word was just that–a word. To be honest there were whole weeks, months maybe where I didn’t utter it to myself. But, then suddenly, I would remember it and be grateful. It would be a call to recognize renewal when I saw it–in myself, in others, in our lives.
Its that time of year again–time to pick a word that captures my mood as the year starts to roll. This year, I want to do a little welcoming ceremony for my word. I want to make art around it and hang it in the east in my house–the direction of new beginnings. I want to put it over my front door so that I see it every morning as I leave, a little prayer of sorts, a reminder to keep my eyes open for the world unfolding around me.
This year my word is BLOSSOM.
Like last year I have thought quite a bit about this word. I wanted a word that captured being on the edge of possibility, a word that encompassed my belief that something amazing is about to happen–that indeed something amazing is always happening. I walked in the park on New Years Day with my friend Cathy and we tossed about words: adventure, experiment, explore, discover. But all those words seemed too earnest or perhaps too conditional. I wanted a word that expressed the inevitability of how I thought my life was unfolding, exactly as it should, in ways that completely surprise me and take my breath away.
I was coming out of a short sitting meditation when it came to me. Not an idea, but a command, whispered in the gentlest way by the wise woman inside my heart. “Blossom” she said. “Blossom”
Flowers do not think about what they should do next. They do not hesitate to show their beauty. They do not obsess about whether they are talented enough or smart enough to show themselves. They grow, full of life, they stand in the rain, they turn their face toward the sun and then they blossom. And so must I. It is time.
What is your word for 2008?