I gave up New Year’s resolutions a few years ago. I know goal setting is important, but I make it so complex. I’m demanding too, harder on myself than I am on anyone else. Often I get to the end of the year, only to face the truth; I haven’t lost the same 20 pounds I've been trying to lose for years, nor run a marathon, and still haven’t made the New York Times bestseller list. Maybe subliminally, I make the list so long and demanding, no human power would be able to succeed. Sometimes new experiences, success and the change that accompanies it, can be rather frightening too. Yet, there was another side to it. I discovered so much on my list, was out of my control. That revelation was a deep breath of fresh air actually. I can do the legwork, but expecting specific outcomes wasn't to be part of my job description. For example, to sell a house in a recessed market and community was an unreasonable expectation. Even employment was at the whims of other people and the Universe. How much is in our control? Very little. That manner of goal setting wasn't working for me and I’m kinder to me these days. I have some “loose goals” now. When I do put a few on paper, I name it my “wish list” rather than my “resolutions”.
This end of the year/beginning of the new year soul-searching has evolved into something that works much better for me. I spend some time in meditation and prayer, sit down with my little worksheet, and allow the word to drift into my consciousness. A single word or two, like a mantra, that can be a point of focus as I navigate a brand new year. Last year, that word was BLOSSOM. Now, the first week of January 2011, I did start the year off blossoming in a really visible way. My tired, stressed out body, overtaxed my immune system and I sprouted shingles. On my face, of all places, and I was confined to the house for the first few weeks of the New Year. That really wasn’t what I had in mind. Yet, somehow that solitary time alone honing in on what it means to me to BLOSSOM, jettisoned my determination to continue to cultivate my talents, take my spirituality to another level, and rediscover my joy. That single word served me well. In my undertakings, major as well as minor, I consistently asked the question, “Is this action, belief, person, or endeavor, going to allow me to continue to open up to life and BLOSSOM into the soul my Creator wants me to be?” I’ve gotten to the end of the year, and have deemed it a success. I have blossomed. I’m not the same human spirit I was in January of 2011. I’ve changed: given up some really bad habits, learned to trust my intuition, burned the doormat, grown closer to others, opened my arms wide to opportunity and the world, rather fearlessly. I’ve taken some big risks, and put myself out there farther than I ever have in my life. I worked hard, although it didn’t seem so much like work. It felt more like holding the intention (word) in my mind and heart and just doing what I was led to do, day by day, step by step and letting it all manifest in its own time. I’ve forgiven what needed forgiven, accepted what needed accepted, and invited in the Grace that was just waiting for me to ask. BLOSSOM served me well in 2011.
I began the process of my word for 2012, and thought I was thorough in my examination and had even selected the word. Somehow, when I repeated, it just didn’t fit, although in my head I wanted it to. It was such a nice word. One I could see taking off in a number of lovely directions. I could imagine what the word would bring to me. And, that’s where the unease set in. I was trying to control the choice of the word with this expected outcome, and visions of how it would play out and serve me in the future. Because I was working it in my head, I knew it couldn’t be my word for 2012. It was contrived. It needed to be one that rose to the surface, outside of my expectations and control. What then was my word to be?
Asking for guidance through prayer and meditation and then paying attention, being mindful to the signs around us, always reveals our answer. At first, it was just a little nudge.... the word. It sounded strange in the context I saw it in. It arrived in the mail in the form of a Christmas card. The sentiment, in part read, “Onto the New Year. I hope it brings you happiness, joy and freedom.” Freedom? From what? The word jumped out at me. Where had I heard that word used before, and recently too?
Right before Christmas, a very special person I hadn’t seen in a few years, paid me a visit. We had an unexpectedly profound, honest, talk and the conversation and connection clung to me for the next few days like the sweet scent of my favorite perfume. I have to claim it as one of the highlights of my season. The gift of undivided attention and communicating between hearts, is one of the most precious things another can give us. Later that evening, posted on my Facebook wall, was the single sentence, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”My holiday angel left me that. I got it. It was the icing on our conversation with a great big cherry served up on top. I knew.
My word for 2012 is FREEDOM. I’m not really sure where the word will lead me or even how to apply it to my days, but I know that’s the word. It’s none of my business where it takes me. As I move through the brand New Year, I am sure I will continue to ask the question, often, “Does this action, belief, person, or endeavor create FREEDOM in this life of mine?” I’m not going to put an expectation on how it’s all going to play out. It’s more of an adventure to let the word take me, rather than me taking the word. It seems perfect somehow. You can't be free when you are still trapped inside the bud. You don't even know what it feels like...the warm air, the sunlight on your face, the joy of stretching. First, you blossom, then you're free.
May you find your word in the New Year and allow it to manifest your heart's desires. Happy 2012! Celebrate. Believe. Prosperity. Peace.