For the past several years, I have chosen a word to sort of help me stumble through the year. I'm sure it was my sister who first found Susannah Conway and her Find Your Word website. It's a fun exercise that kind of helps you formulate how you want to see your world in the year ahead by choosing a word. Ms. Conway has a free five day email course which can be used to guide you along in the choosing.
I usually choose my word during the last week of the year, then I spend a couple of days working through Susannah's "unravelling" exercise. It has been a nice way to reflect on the year that was and to look forward to the next year. It does take a little time, but it's worth it to me. I prefer to sit in the middle of my bed with the night table lights on, surrounded by colored markers (Sharpie extra fine point), my dog to keep me company, and silence. This year I added some good smells from my essential oil diffuser. I've had music on before, but I tend to sing along and it takes my mind off the words that I'm writing. I'm not a very good multi-tasker.
The thing about unravelling and resolutions is that I often disregard them after a few months, like most people probably do. The challenge I gave myself is to review my 2016 thoughts once a month; I think I'm going to aim for the first Saturday or Sunday of the month to do that. I'm not sure what it will look like yet, so I'll play that by ear.
The word I chose for 2016 is SOFTEN. I was surprised to get to that word, but the more I thought about it and said it, the more "right" it felt. Going in to the process, I was pretty sure my word for 2016 would be CHANGE. I mean, let's face it, 2016 is full of changes: MT is going to start a new job. T will turn 18, graduate from high school and head off to college. I'm going to celebrate my 50th birthday, for goodness sake!
The more I thought about it, change was going to happen no matter what. I didn't need that word to guide me through the year. I needed a word that would help me deal with the changes!
I thought about OPEN, like being open to the changes. Change can be really hard for me. It can be uncomfortable. Because of that, I didn't think OPEN was the right word. How about ACCEPTANCE? I thought about it, but it seemed so passive, like I was just going to way, "Ok, whatever." That wouldn't do. Then Susannah had a list of words to help prod the process and I saw SOFTEN. I immediately had a warm feeling from it. Gosh, that sounds kind of dorky, but it's the truth. The more I thought about it, the more I was into it.
During the last part of last year, I was very tense for various reasons. I was snappy. I didn't feel like I was putting my best self forward. I was cranky at home and at work. I was short-tempered with everyone and it came across in my tone of voice and in my actions. It wasn't a nice feeling and I couldn't get out of the rut.
Enter my first change using my word: my vow to soften my thoughts and words and feelings and to work my way out of my funk. I know it's only been six days, but I have thought of my word every day it and it has caused me to change what I was going to say or how I reacted to something. I feel good about that change. Reviewing and reaffirming my word will be part of my monthly process.
OY! I sound like such a nerd! Oh well. That's how I roll :)
Another part of the unravelling process that I really enjoy is a page where there is a winding road that starts in January and ends in December. Susannah encourages you to sort of map out the year with things that you know will happen (graduation, birthdays) and fill in some fun stuff you want to do along the way. The next two pages have twelve blocks, one for each month, where you can put in a little more detail about what you want to do in those months. Filling out those blocks is super fun for me! I'm really good at the first three months, the second quarter is a little less full and the third and fourth quarter are almost empty. Guess what? As part of my monthly review, I will look ahead to future months and see what I can fill in. Some things might not get done, but others will. Plus I'll probably have some epiphanies now and then. Those ideas and plans will need to be added to the months.
I love making lists and planning and dreaming!
That's all I've got for tonight. You got a little soul-sharing from me. Please think gentle thoughts about me after you read this, even if you think I'm a bit strange. I actually think I'm pretty practical and realistic in real life. I just like to let go and dream and imagine and stretch my brain every now and again.
Talk to you tomorrow!