For the last several years, it has been my New Year’s ritual. Encouraged by the lovely Jen Lemen, I pick just one word to be my anthem for the coming year. Its a word that holds in it all the boundless possibility of 365 fresh clean days ahead. Its a word to whisper to myself as I wake up. A word to help me channel what my heart needs, a touchpoint to keep it front and center.
In 2007, as I was recovering from the break-up of my marriage, my word was RENEWAL. In 2008, as I moved forward beyond that crisis my word was BLOSSOM. Last year, as I began the process of a strangely beautiful, challenging inner journey I chose the word TRUST. In all these cases, I found that the year magically delivered the lessons, experiences and opportunities that allowed me to sink into that word. These experiences did not always present as I imagined they might, but they unfolded perfectly nonetheless. My word becomes a prayer, a mantra, a device that immediately allows me to access deep wisdom and cherished dreams.
My experience with my one word has been so powerful that choosing it this year felt both thrilling and terrifying. But a word, is just that, a word. It is not magical alone. It is my awareness, my love, my action in its name that makes it so.
Nevertheless, at the end of last year, I sat in a driveway with the same friend who gave me this exercise, fretting over an appropriate choice. I told her that this year I needed to learn about ease, not the kind of ease that is associated with lying around eating chocolate while someone else cleans, but the ease that comes from grace, lack of resistance and effortless motion. I wanted to glide through the next year, instead of the “stumble stumble trip” sort of hike that many of my adventures have resembled. This is the year I want to learn to get out of my own way and see what develops when I drop my fears and excuses. This is the year I want to learn to stop assuming everything will be an uphill battle and to enjoy what unfolds effortlessly when I let me be me.
She barely missed a beat. SKATE.
I am a bit wobbly on skates. Once upon a time I knew how to glide about, but now I can be tentative and restrained at the rink. Old bones, many years away from the ice, they have all made me a bit wary. Max skates circles around me while I take frequent breaks to rest my weary ankles. I wondered if this word would really do. Sure, SKATE speaks of speed and grace and forward motion–but for others, not for me!
But then I remembered something that happened last February when Max and I went to New Hampshire. My friend Marcy loaned me her hockey equipment and we took to a frozen pond for a pick up game with our boys. I skated on hockey skates for the first time in my life. I tripped and fell and then I started to try things I hadn’t ever tried before because with all that padding, the fear had gone away. It was silly and glorious and while it didn’t transform me as a skater I learned enough that it changed how I approached the rink next time. Looking back on it, that Sunday afternoon was one of the most joyful, light and spirited days of my year. It was a day of laughter, of learning and of –yes–ease. That feeling was exactly what I was searching for this year. That bright blue Sunday afternoon feeling, when the feeling of grace and possibilty came my way, when falling stopped phasing me but instead became a teacher and trying became doing.
Skate is a word that speaks to me of letting go. Skate speaks to me of childhood, and crystal blue skies and forward motion. Skate speaks of speed and abandon and laughter.
So SKATE, I choose you as my word. I welcome you in and hope you bring a sense of ease, grace, fluidity. I know you will bring falls, and bumps, but I will remember they are teachers and like my hockey suited self, I will bounced up from them unharmed. In fact, they will make me laugh. I look forward to gliding along and seeing where we go together, you and I.
Now, you, tell me…What is your word for 2010? What do you wish to welcome in to your year?