Doorway in Kilkea 2

For at least 5 years now it has been my New Year’s ritual to pick a word to guide me through the coming year. It is a word I hold dear, whisper upon waking, and hold close to my heart. It is a word that serves as a compass when I am not really sure what I am doing anymore. When I can’t remember what I want, I touch that word again and remember–“Oh yes….this…” The words are always different and yet they keep calling me forward in the same direction each in their own unique way–each of them pulling me forward on my path, one foot in front of the other.

In years passed I have picked words like “blossom“, “renew”, “trust” and “skate“. Last year I picked a word so delicious (“juicy”) I kept it to myself.

I have come to put a lot of power in this word I choose. If I don’t take good care I can get superstitious, even neurotic and fret over the word, fearful that I may inadvertently welcome in suffering I don’t want, or hard times I don’t need. It can be such a big thing to pick a word. Words after all have so much power.

Imagine my delight when I started school this fall and it became a practice to pick a word for the day, a designed created mood, a word that is (to quote my teachers) “big enough to live in”. I embraced the practice as eagerly and as joyously as I embraced my New Year’s ritual. I practiced living into a word each day, sometimes calling on my yearly word, sometimes picking something new my heart needed. However it went, I remembered something that I always knew and often forget.

The word itself is not a magic word, but rather an inspiration to reach deep in my heart and live my life awake. It is not that I am calling forth the word from the world but creating it myself in every moment. I remember that my word does not represent how the world meets me, but rather how I meet the world. If my word is peace I don’t expect the Universe to deliver peace to my door, but rather I commit to meet whatever comes with peace. In doing so, I create peace, a joyous peace to live in. I am awake to all the peace around me, (the sleeping child, the flower that knows no fight) and when it isn’t there, I am awake to the possibility that I can create it right here, right now.

This year I am living into the word Open. Open, like openhearted and vulnerable. Open, like ease and simplicity. Open like welcoming. Open like doors that unlock, paths that unfold. Open like embracing whatever comes my way, faithful that the lesson in it is exactly what I need to learn.

This word business is a practice. A practice in which (even after years) I still find myself a beginner. I fall down and pick it up again. I will need to remind myself: Are you open to life? How about now? How about now? One year I posted a sign on my front door so that I would see my word as I left out the door. This year I will say it to myself every time I touch a door. I am making a tag for my key ring. My dear friend Edamarie made me a necklace this year out of an antique keyhole. I will touch it and remember to open up to my life so that my life can open to me.

What it your word for 2012? What magic will you create for all of us? What energy you will be for this world?

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