2021 Word of the Year
It’s June and I am working toward setting my word for the month; my intention to guide and gird my actions for the next few weeks. Setting a word isn’t so much a lock on my behavior as it is a way to help me focus and follow the whispering of my inner voice. Reflecting back on the year so far – we are midway so it seems an appropriate time – and the word selections look like slippery stones in the middle of a stream. Ones that you cross the stream on but maybe you slip and fall and get yourself a bit wet and muddy in the process too.
Growing and stretching your inner self is an elusive process. When you think “aha I’ve got it!” there is a twist and turn into a sudden down pour of memories or grief you thought you processed long ago. There is a push and pull to it all. Something like the throbbing of the tides, and equally salty for me. Or someone jumps in front of you and suddenly shakes your foundation.
It makes me want to escape the places I normally go and wander to unknown territories. Maybe that’s just the urge to run. There is a sadness to transformation, to shedding the old skin for something new, even when it is very much wanted and welcomed. Of course there is excitement and joy, and even a sense of elation. But there is sadness too.
authenticity: connecting your inside & outside so that they are in alignment
Sometimes when we reach a pivot point in our lives, an inflection moment, it can be painful. A letting go of things, places, people, ideas we never thought we would let go of. In that momentary pain though is a lifetime of relief. This incredible feeling of a weight being taken away. That we can shed the burden of the things that no longer fit or maybe never fit, and we can do so with grace and gratitude for the world around us. We can reshape our lives into something new and more comfortable. More meaning can stem from our actions. Acceptance and understanding for the journey that other people are undertaking is more readily available to us.
i spent time thinking connection required a specific location and tools i would never have.
becoming authentic: it is a coming home but not in the way i thought it would be. i am pulled to my childhood places more than i realized i would be, but beyond that i am recalled to the feelings, the actions, the beliefs & behaviors of when i was most connected.
I spent most of my childhood outside. Like any good kid of the 80s our parents simply opened the door and said “get out”. Unlike lots of people, my get out opened up to 60 acres of mountain side woods and not many people. Perhaps that explains my utter inability to make small talk! It certainly explains that my connection is to the Earth, and always has been.
I remember hours spent exploring and wandering through untouched forests, finding freezing cold streams, uncovering childhood treasures. It was idyllic in many ways. Though not in others. In that quiet I learned to listen. I became an observer of the natural world, and also of the people who came into my life. I learned to trust my instincts and listen to that inner voice. Faith in myself and the world around me was rooted in those experiences. As I grew and life changed, as it always does, I buried that connection. I lost the sense that comes from observing and trusting.
It is hard to even write this much about myself for people to consume because of the conditioned response to hide, be quiet, don’t be so personal. Don’t share the imperfections, the weirdness, the unusual ways in which you think. We are all unique and then again, in so many ways we are all the same. The overlapping desire to belong, to be loved, to be valued. Recognizing the humanity and connection between us all though is what is allowing me to open and build a new way of thinking about the past, present and future. One with gratitude and excitement.
There is a feeling of coming home to yourself in the finding of purpose, in dropping away false pretense, in being who you are without apology. It is an unburdening. Bringing your whole self to the world from the inside out takes a lot of work (and some faith). It was time for me to take the leap.
How do you connect? Where will you focus your energy in this second half of 2021?