Here we are again. 2013 has laid down the welcome mat and we've no choice but to walk through the door, still glancing over our shoulder and wondering where 2012 went.
And with the new year comes the chance for a new word. Resolutions, while well-intentioned, are just opportunities for disappointment when we break or abandon them...at least that's my theory so I'm a big fan of the One Little Word concept. For some it can be resolution-like and they choose a word that applies to something specific they want to change or address in their lives but for me it's more like a personal motto for the year. It's a broader concept...a touchstone to refocus and re-center my efforts to be the best me I can be.
Previous years' words have included choose joy, listen, rejoice, complete, now and last year's word lean forward. Yes, it's clear I have difficulty limiting myself to just one word but I'm always amazed as I look back at the end of the year at just how powerful the year's word (or words, in some cases) has been and how many areas of my life it affected.
I loved lean forward...the concept that you would live each day on purpose, catch the best bits it had to offer and build those days, choice by choice. Did I live up to all that potential? Probably not as well as I could have but that's not the point. One Word is an not all or nothing idea; it's an opportunity to learn and grow and then do it again the next year with a new word. And that, I think, I did do.
This year's word choose me weeks ago, perhaps the earliest point of any year. But when it came to me, I knew it was the perfect fit. The word?
In its simplest form breathe is a word I hear repeatedly in my twice-a-week yoga class where form dictates that you inhale in certain phases of a pose and exhale in others. The idea behind that is to allow the muscles targeted by the pose get the most benefit out of the movement. And we're encouraged to focus on our breathing as we stretch too, in part to take our minds off the momentary twinge of pushing our bodies past where they're comfortable but also to relax so we're no longer as uncomfortable.
Perhaps all that New Age music playing softly in the background in yoga class has affected my thinking but I see a metaphor to life in breathe's role in yoga. Let me explain.
Breathe in. I want to inhale the happy times, warm laughter and fleeting seconds of unexpected joy. I should be present in those moments, soak them in and remember them when they are but a wisp of a memory.
Breathe out. Life is full of things I cannot control; I want to let them go. Stress and worry serve no positive purpose and I am better putting my energies into solutions for things over which I have some power.
Breathe in. My world always seems to be spinning faster than I'd like. A deep breath will slow it down, momentarily at least, so that I can appreciate all that surrounds me.
Breathe out. And when that world is moving too fast, that same deep breath will bring things back into focus, allowing me to see what's really most important or needs most to be done.
Breathe in. My life is filled with good people...people I love and enjoy. I need to remember that there is a difference between looking and seeing, between hearing and listening. If the love of family and friends is the currency of life, I am a wealthy woman and I need to be vigilant in being grateful for it.
Breathe out. I believe hardship can be an opportunity instead of an obstacle. Some of the most lasting lessons I've learned came about that way. Over the course of our marriage we've often stopped and asked, "Will this matter in six month? A year? Five years." Just breathe goes a long way towards clearing my head, settling my nerves and focusing my efforts on solving the dilemma at hand.
Breathe in. I need to inhale and take that leap of faith more often...accepting challenges and being willing to stretch myself. To open the door to chance. After all, forever is sitting just on the other side.
Breathe out. It might be with a sigh instead of a breath but I want to be mindful of letting go of discouragement and disappointment when they come, for they surely will. It's OK to grieve them momentarily and then move on. The cost of carrying regret is too high and my world holds too many positives to dwell on the negatives.
Breathe in. Life is Good.
Breathe...I can't wait to see where you and I will go in 2013.