Friday, January 1, 2016

Word of the Year 2016 - AUTHENTIC - AUTHENTICITY

Authentic:  Real or genuine: not copied or false.  True.  Accurate.  An original. 
Authenticity: The truthfulness of origins, attributes, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions.  In philosophy a particular way of dealing with the external world, being faithful to internal rather than external ideas. 

I’ve chosen a Word every year for quite a few years now starting this practice even before it was so popular. I really love the concept and invest some time in the selection process.  It’s become a holiday ritual, letting my yearly Word of the Year evolve through thought, prayer, and meditation the week between Christmas and New Years. The soft glow of the Christmas tree lights and a big overstuffed chair are conducive to this kind of introspection.  Being reflective and seeking guidance in picking my Word of the Year is worth the investment of time it takes and works so much better for me than a check sheet of New Year resolutions that come wrapped with a lot of pressure. I am no longer interested in resolute efforts that I know through past trial, will set me up later to feel inadequate, regretful and defeated.  Keep it simple is not just a slogan to me, it’s a conscious decision.  

At this stage of my life I am not necessarily seeking to accomplish things either.  I am looking to grow a better human being; one that is living up to her potential.  That takes cultivating qualities, building spiritual muscles, around the framework of my life as it exists, not how I wish it was.   Aspirations are fine, if they are of the kind that enhance and grow the human spirit and others. However, I think gifts and abundance arrive as a result of that growth.  Or, maybe it's this simple - we learn to recognize them even if they aren't the sparkly obvious ones.  

The practice of One Word, also removes my tendency to live in the “When”, postponing life. It drives my focus towards co-creating my present, moment by moment.  I no longer live with: When I loose 30 pounds on my January 1st diet.  Or, when I get healthier, after my surgery, better blood work, or new body parts.   Again, I am not saying there is anything wrong with working towards goals, I just think the pathway to those goals, for me,  has been to place my attention on one Word that strengthens qualities that may serve me better in getting to those goals rather than charging towards a single end result.  When I do that, the word becomes an intention that is seared into my heart and head, and the UNFOLDING  of it has been gratefully passed back into the hands of God.  To steal an AA phrase and concept, I want to practice my Word in all my affairs. 

My New Year mantra is: It is my heart's desire to be like a feather on the breath of God.  This makes this year’s Word of the Year task even simpler.  My only business is to use and apply that Word to situations that arise and to grease the sticking points throughout the year. If I do that, I will be prepared when God's breath moves me where I need to be.  Every year, I can now look back and see a pattern, leading me to the next yearly Word and a new level of awareness.  Every Word over the last few years has been leading up to the next.  I don’t know that authentic would have been possible until I learned what it means to blossom (2011), set myself free (2012), be fearless (2013), create (2014), and  renew (2015).  It takes a free, fearless spirit to create a renewed life authentically. 

Last year, my Word, renew, was in the front of my mind as I changed some habits that I had draped over my shoulders like a security blanket, but then they turned on me and were weighing me down.  The word renew was in the front of my mind as I paid attention to what I put into my body and how I treated it.  The word renew kept me curious and interested in anything new that might even moderately be a healing tool for not only my physical form, but my spirit.  I investigated food as medicine, the Healing Arts, Tapping, Aromatherapy, Himalayan Salt Lamps, Essential Oils, Reiki, Forgiveness Therapy;  stepping out of the conventional box, to explore anything that might rejuvenate and refresh whether it was proven, practical, or FDA approved.  Experimentation, belief and faith became my new Science.   

There were times when my Word pushed hard on me and the evidence of success wasn’t immediately apparent.  Those times I had to remember the ghost of Words past.  I learned to be fearless by practicing it. I set myself free, by recognizing I was the one that chained myself to things that didn’t honor who I was. And, creating, well, that was entirely up to me too.  My talent wasn’t dependent on what other people thought of it!  I could create, a beautiful meal, a comfortable home, an interesting story, an environment of love,  a good life. My creativity was a personal thing.  God didn't place it inside me to necessarily gather a big audience.  He placed it there as an expression of  His love and a gift to me.

Word of the year might be a simple practice, but changing old, misbehaving behaviors is much harder than laying out a to-do list.  They are like leeches, burrowing under your skin and don't budge much without personal effort. Early in the year,  applying my Word always feels like a clumsy cha-cha - one, two, back, back, back. Eventually though, it memorizes the steps and finds its flow. The Word rises up and the spiritual question gets asked.  Will selling my house help me to feel free? Is switching churches going to help me to blossom in my spiritual knowledge and understanding of God?  What other things can I do to renew stale relationships?   What are some actions I can take  that will lead to an authentic life?   In doing this, am I being true to my values and standing for authenticity?

 Authentic is my chosen Word of the Year for 2016. I have prayed it into being, God's breathed life into it and  starting today, I’ll strive to practice authenticity in all my affairs.  

I’ll check back in a few months and let you know how it’s going.