I’m relatively new to the practice, but when January rolls around now, I enjoy setting myself a one-word intention for the year to come—a North Star or guiding light, if you will. Last year was the first time I consciously selected an Annual Theme Word. After some stillness, silence, and earnest soul-searching, I decided on the word “Ease” for 2014. To me, “Ease” implied loosening my death grip on the natural unfolding process of life. It suggested play, light-heartedness, and a general cooling of my jets, which had been running on overdrive since approximately… birth. Yes, “Ease” was a word that massaged me with a silky caress. It soothed me with promises of relaxation and glimpses of not having to try so damn hard all of the damn time. “Ease” was delicious to me—luxurious, decadent, and practically sinful. I yearned for Ease, and I hoped with childlike sincerity that the simple act of choosing it as my Word of The Year would somehow entice Ease to choose me back.
Hahaha– Let it be known that Ease does not choose.
Ease is available, yes— and willing, and delighted at every single opportunity to float, carefree, down the river of life. Certainly, I experienced many periods of Ease throughout 2014, and the magic of those moments rendered me dazzled and star struck. Ease will dance, it will stretch, and it will languish in contentment with anyone who wishes to be in its serene company. But Ease will never ask you to dance. No. You must claim Ease for yourself, rather than waiting on it to make the first move. You must demand its presence, not hope for a mere handout after everyone else has had a share. Ease requires ownership, in a sense—a commitment to step forward and to declare with confidence, “Yes, that’s mine.”
What I discovered throughout 2014 was that I approached Ease with a little too much apprehension and intimidation for its liking. Ease wanted me to feel comfortable and natural in its presence, which I did… sometimes. Otherwise, I was mostly awkward and stilted, practically tripping over myself every ten seconds to ensure that Ease was doing alright and that it had everything it needed. Can I get you a drink? Um, how is the temperature in here? Should I turn on the heat? Or the A/C? Can I feed you some grapes and fan you with a palm leaf?
Basically, I was like a nerdy pubescent boy in the company of an ultra-sophisticated and hyper-attractive older woman, with the possibility of sex—inexplicably but distinctly—lingering in the air. Given my aching lack of experience, I did not have the confidence or, frankly, the balls to make her my own. (Yes: I just said balls!) Sure, Ease and I still had a nice time together… playing board games… and yes, we continued to hang out every now and then… um, surfing the internet on our iPhones, but it’s only with wiser, more perceptive eyes that I’m finally able to see what could have been between the two of us. And let me just say this: it could have been A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
But enough with the creepy sex analogies! (Hi, Grandma!)
Ahem. In 2015, I’m getting back to the basics with my Word of the Year. I’ve learned through experience that it makes no sense to set a fabulous intention for yourself if precisely 2% of your being really believes that fabulousness is even possible for you (on a good day). Was “Ease” something I truly desired for myself? Absolutely! But deep down, did I actually believe a life of Ease was possible for me? That I was worthy of Ease, right now, with no adjustments or qualifiers required? That floating through an entire year on the magic carpet of Ease was something that was truly, immediately, and unequivocally available to li’l ol’ me?! Um… no. [cue sad trombone sound]
And quick aside, because I can hear your protests all the way through my spotty wifi connection: Am I suggesting that you shouldn’t dream big or that you should avoid setting glorious goals for yourself? Totally not! Am I imploring you to be “realistic” (aka: boring and stuck to the same old status quo)? No way! Am I saying that you should water down your most sacred of hopes, or that you should dilute and distort them until they are completely unrecognizable to your heart but benign and acceptable enough to The Man? Come on—never. What I am saying is this: set yourself up to win. How’s that for a novel concept, right? Enough with setting absurd, ridiculous, or certifiably impossible goals for yourself and then feeling shitty and deserving of punishment when you inevitably come up short. Enough. Instead, why not name yourself a prize that’s within reach now—one that you’ll still covet and adore—and then reach for it? Claim it. Own it. And then… do it again. Set yourself up to win a little bit more! State your prize—your star, your dream, a feeling that you’d totally relish!—and then reach for it. Today! Claim it. Own it! Rinse. Repeat.
Listen: You know I am totally on board with rainbows, unicorns, and starry-eyed gazes toward the very bright future, but there’s also something magical and unbeatable about that “Yes! I did it!” feeling. And hey—maybe you still want to go way long when it comes to your goals for 2015, but for me, after coming up short with Ease last year and feeling disheartened about it, I’m ready to set myself up to win. [End aside.]
After all of this, my word for 2015 is “Trust”.
To me, this word is profoundly personal and undoubtedly internal. However, it’s connected to a cosmic order, too. Most importantly, it’s available to me right now, and every time I consciously engage in an act of trusting myself, it feels like I’m taking a bath in pure rubies and silk. Decadence!
“Trust” is about grounding in myself again and taking root in my intuition. 1st Chakra Word, 100%. For years—starting in grade school and continuing throughout most of my adult life—I have largely pointed my radars outward. How can I excel in this environment? What do I need to do in order to earn an ‘A’ (or approval, or success, or the marker of achievement de jour)? What are others doing? How do I compare to them? Am I missing something? What advice do other people have for me?
Trust is about me, though. How do I feel? What do I know? It’s a reconnection. A rekindling. To me, Trust differs from a vague, outward-facing faith in a larger presence—ideally, Trust implies a recognition of that larger presence within myself. Similarly, Trust is not a vain attempt to control or manipulate the circumstances to my liking (although I sure have lots of experience with that!) Rather, Trust involves a deep, deliberate understanding that the circumstances are aligned in my favor, always and without fail. TRUST. Whereas “Ease” enticed me outside of myself to an extent, promising me a comfortable existence just ahead of where I was—one that always felt slightly out of reach—“Trust” now implores me to turn inward again. Right now. It’s already here. I already know. Everything is going to be alright.
Just like the Root Chakra itself, “Trust” lays the foundation for everything else. The way I see it, strengthening my Trust muscle is like building up my core stability—from that position of alignment and groundedness, everything else becomes more easily within reach. To return to my painful pre-pubescent analogy now– this year, I’ll be like the nerd who decides to hit the gym for a while. (In solitude, when it’s totally dead in there, like on a Friday evening at 8pm.) Anyway, I’ll be there with my headphones on, listening to Depeche Mode (the true music of my heart), and I’ll be totally tuned in while I’m pumping iron in my own little world. Gradually, I’ll develop muscles. Increasingly, I’ll up my strength and fitness. And one day in the not-so-distant-future, well, what do you know? Self-Assured, Chiseled-But-Totally-Not-In-Your-Face-About-It Me will bump into Ease. And, let’s just say, the sparks will fly… It all starts with Trust! 🙂
Whew! You made it through my epic, long-awaited Word of 2015 post! How about you? Did you set yourself a word, theme, or intention for this year? If so, please share! If not, do you have an annual ritual that you engage in when December makes way for January? I’d love to hear about it.
Wow. You’ve put a lot of though into this – I really admire that. I haven’t done any such concentrated introspection for 2015. I’ve set a couple of small, attainable, rather nebulous goals and I’m going to try to be at “ease” if I get somewhere near them.
If I recall, though, Peg– you have set yourself up to win when it comes to resolutions before. Weren’t you the brave woman who resolved to breathe, blink, and bathe every day? YOU’RE AMAZING!
Such a powerful post, Dana. I’ve been reading about Trust lately. Osho said that if you can trust, you will remain open. You will flower and help others to flower. The alternative to trust, he said, is fear.
I love the way you string together words and stories and images. 🙂
My word for the year is Playful, but I may switch course. I think Playful for me is like Ease was for you. I may very well be doing the same thing you did in expecting Playful to come to me, as if it will spontaneously become a part of my life. It does happen spontaneously at times, especially when I’m with my granddaughters. The oldest, Emma, is like me in that she is a people pleaser and the responsible older sister and she’s somewhat fearful of new situations. Maddy, the youngest, is the epitome of Playful and Spontaneous. Whenever I spend time with Maddy I think to myself, “I want to be like Maddy when I grow up.” She trusts and has little or no fear. She runs headlong into everything. She’s always laughing, smiling, or giggling, and there is a playful quality to everything she does, even when she’s serious and concentrating on something.
Ah, yes– Playful would totally be an “Ease” word for me, too! (As much as I wish it were different.) Sometimes I’ve toyed with the idea of naming a year “The Year of Fun”, but inevitably I ask myself, “WHO AM I KIDDING?”. because scheduling and planning Fun sort of defeats the purpose, no?
And yes– Trust is a huge word for me. HUGE! To me, the opposite of Trust is Control, which also boils down to Fear (not contradicting Osho by any means– no way!) Giving in to Trust lets the universe take the reins again, rather than me trying (in vain) to micromanage, predict, and control everything. So far, it’s been a challenging word to attune to, mainly because we’ve been so un-grounded lately with our ongoing travels. However, I love having that word to go back to whenever I’m feeling frazzled and, um, out of control. It’s like a constant reminder for myself. Right: Trust. I can do this.
Thanks for stopping by, Robin– I know you’re still recovering from surgery and it means a lot to see you around these parts! 🙂
Trust. Excellent choice.
My village people would love you as their chieftain.
Now I just need a theme song…
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