The Year of Trust

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.

I choose you... but do you choose me?

I choose you… but do you choose me?

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.”

These twinkling, starry lights are MINE.

These twinkling, starry lights are 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?

This is sort of how I pursued Ease-- like a rabid, salivating, see-through hound. Not attractive.

This is sort of how I pursued Ease– like a rabid, salivating, see-through hound. Not attractive.

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]

So close, yet so far away...

So close, yet so far away…

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.

I claim the colored light that's filtering through this glass!

I claim the colored light that’s filtering through this glass!

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”.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.

The Year of Ease

Although I’ve always identified more as “book smart” than “street wise”– by a long shot– periodically, I rise to the occasion and learn important life lessons through doing. Most of what I know is largely theoretical in nature (bless you, Communication Studies degrees), but 2013 definitely proved to be the Year of Doing Things… The Hard Way.

This might as well have been the Official Logo of 2013, too.

This might as well have been the Official Logo of 2013, too. Dinosaur mauling seems about right.

I invested most of my energy into “making things happen”, “figuring things out”, bumping against self-imposed rules and limitations, striving, straining, reaching, yearning, and basically mastering the art of swimming upstream in 2013. Midway through the year, I was completely and utterly exhausted– which, when you think about it, is pretty remarkable, considering I had been on holidays for three full months to ring in 2013. Way to excel at pain and suffering on the fast track, Dana! Kudos to you for being the star student in the ‘Making Things More Complicated Than They Need To Be’ Class! (Once on the Honor Roll, always on the Honor Roll, right?)

By August, I had already made resolutions for the new year. (Like I say, I’m way ahead of you guys!) These weren’t ordinary resolutions, though– no. These were solemn promises sworn to myself, borne out of necessity and sheer fatigue.

I promised myself that the new year would be different– that I wouldn’t neglect myself to the point of bottomed-out depletion, that I wouldn’t covet an empty energetic cup like I might a shiny trophy, that I’d turn down the competition dial on my behaviour radio (a whole lot), and that I’d try to max out the present moment, rather than always chasing something in the indeterminate future. Tall order, much? Maybe, but in a flash of genius, I also resolved to open myself up to teachers who could show me a different, more ease-filled path to abundance and prosperity. No more “finding the answers all by myself” or “getting a virtual Ph.D. by reading the entire self-help section of the library” for me! (Brilliant, really.)

Being receptive to something different.

Being receptive to something different.

The first Way-Shower* to cross my path was Leonie Dawson. I had heard Leonie’s name for a few years prior but hadn’t really resonated with (what I assumed was) her goddess-heavy, mama-slanted philosophy. I figured that since I was neither a mother nor a sandal-clad, patchouli-scented goddess, Leonie would have nothing of value to offer me. For the record: I was wrong. Super, duper incorrect. She is a true delight to behold! Something** nudged me to sign up for her newsletter late this summer, and when I did, I made the astounding discovery that Life Did Not Have To Be Hard! I had always– mostly subconsciously– equated capital-S ‘Success’ with boatloads of hard work and a great deal of toiling for good measure, but here was Leonie, frolicking on her gorgeous property with her family, making art, and raking in mega-abundance like it was falling naturally from the trees. Leonie taught me, right quick, that not only was my pipe dream of doing things differently possible, but it was also probable– if not absolutely, 100% essential!

And if Leonie can frolic in a field, I can sure as heck frolic in fog-covered Seattle. (IN A PENTHOUSE, AT THAT!)

And if Leonie can frolic, all carefree in a field, I can sure as heck frolic in fog-covered Seattle, right? (IN A PENTHOUSE SUITE, AT THAT!)

Then came Brené Brown. Again, this was a name that I was familiar with– I had even watched her TED Talk on vulnerability back in the day– but I didn’t really know her like any A-student worth her salt should. That all changed when I read her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and felt like it was written as a personal text book for my life. She even had an entire chapter with the subtitle, “Let Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth”. Ah-mazing! [And cue the Twilight Zone soundtrack, right?] Brené’s book gave me (personal, explicit) permission to stop chasing my own life on a never-ending treadmill of achievements and accomplishments. After reading her book, I felt emboldened to be… less productive. (In a good, non-slacker way– I promise!) Specifically, Brené taught me that we are all so much more than what we do. Sure, it’s great to have goals and to make contributions to the world, but it’s also important to make space for being. (It’s like Ovarian Cyst-er wisdom, all over again!)

Praying Mantis says "Less Doing and More Being Is The Secret To Life!"

Praying Mantis says “Less Doing and More Being Is The Secret To All of Life’s Mysteries!” Seriously. Would I lie to you?

Finally, in waltzed Danielle LaPorte. God, I love Danielle! Danielle is an electric, laser-focused, live-life-the-way-you-really-want-to pioneer. I devoured her Fire Starter Sessions book and promptly chowed down on The Desire Map right afterward. It was a full-on, Danielle LaPorte feast. (And by god, I was a piglet!) Danielle set the goal-setting process straight for me, and by that, I mean she stood it right on its head. No messing around! After reading The Desire Map, I morphed from setting traditional (lame) goals like “I will lose 10lbs!” or “I will buy a house!” to pointing my north star towards what she calls Core Desired Feelings. So now, instead of starting with “goals”, I start with my feelings. What can I do that will help me feel ___________? (In my case: what can I do that will help me feel Radiant, Centered, Magical, Abundant and Free?) I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty revolutionary to me. Life-changing. Soul-Altering. Way-Showing, indeed!

My Core Desired Feelings

My Core Desired Feelings

So. Finally. After a year of energetic toil and spirit-depleting strife, I’ve set a new, one-word intention for 2014: Ease. (Doesn’t that sound enchanting? Ease. Lovely!) I want to feel radiant, yes– but I don’t want to ‘earn’ radiance by laboring up a mountain of discipline and suffering. I want to feel abundant, of course– but if that means shackling myself to a back-breaking work schedule or neglecting my family, friends, or ‘real’ life, then I’m not interested. Ease into The Year of Ease! My life doesn’t have to be easy (at least not all the time), but I will welcome ease with open arms. Enough with imitating the salmon run in my own life– I’m ready to float like a leaf on the river towards my biggest dreams and highest potential. You in?


If you want to get concrete about your own Core Desired Feelings, I really recommend reading The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. This book used to be offered as an audio-visual program through Danielle’s website but it will be released as a regular book on Amazon (and in bookstores everywhere) as of January 1st. I’ve also loved completing Leonie Dawson’s 2014 Create Your Amazing Year Workbook & Planner (Life Edition) for the first time this December. 100% converted to Leonie-ism now! It was through this particular workbook that I set the word Ease as my North Star for the upcoming year, and I can’t wait to see what other dreams of mine manifest and unfold as 2014 progresses. The workbook can either be purchased as an e-book here (less than 10 bucks!***) or bought in hard copy (under $30) via Amazon (.com– not available to us Canucks via, unfortunately). Two words, though: Worth It.


*The term “way-shower” was introduced to me by Barbara Stanny in her book, “Secrets of Six Figure Women”.

**And by “something”, I mean it was the knowledge that she runs a $750K business per year working 15 hours a week from her isolated, rainforest home in the middle of nowhere. That got my attention!

*** E-book link is an affiliate link. Like Google Ads… only not at all. I’ve actually used this workbook and actually, personally, cross-my-heart endorse it.