Earlier this week, I was inspired by Vivienne's "word of the year" post, and really challenged myself to come up with one of my own for this coming year. I've half-heartedly considered choosing a word of the year before, but I've never actually done it (and I certainly felt a level of resistance around it, not sure why). This time I felt ready, but I didn't really know where to start, so of course I googled it and found a helpful worksheet that helped me to hash things out.
I've been feeling very stuck these last couple years, like I've been trying to get somewhere, and can't seem to figure out where it is that I want to go or how to get there. I've been feeling this immense pressure to figure it out, to get healthy, to get going... but it's so counterproductive - pressure is the enemy of an anxious person with chronic illness! Round and round I've gone, wanting, yearning, but feeling held back by my body or my mind or my history or pretty much everything. It's not a nice feeling and as much as I've wanted to, it's been hard to shake. The reality is that I had expectations about where I'd be by now, and they haven't been met.
Alas, I know that it's time to move on in some sense. I watched a wonderful episode of The Good Life Project today, with a woman named Christina Rasmussen, on "Reclaiming Life After Loss", and it really struck a chord with me. She talked about the steps that take you from being stuck in grief (whether it's over losing a loved one, a job, or I would add one's health and one's dreams for the future...) to re-entering life. She called this gap between loss and re-entering life "the waiting room", which I found very revealing. She also said that some people never re-enter life, spending their lives stuck in the waiting room, stuck in grief. And by golly, I do not want to do that!
I've known for a while now that I'm no longer working towards a return to my old life (pre-spring 2012). Not only is it not feasible for me, but I have really grown to acknowledge that it wasn't the right kind of life for me in the first place. I got caught up in working so hard to do all these things that looked good, or were important to other people, this desire to please others has guided me for the past decade or so... And in the process, I forgot what was truly important to me. But this last while, I've had nothing but time to think, and I understand now that my goal isn't to go back.
My goal is to go forward into the life that I always wanted and was really meant to have, before I got off track. This is going to be a new way of life that instead of draining me, nurtures me, so I can be my best self no matter what the circumstances.
My word for 2014 is "Allow"
Allowing life to flow without my needing to push so hard. Being open to good things happening, rather than anticipating more going wrong.
Allowing each day to come and go with ease rather than anxiety and resistance.
Allowing myself to appreciate what I can do, rather than fret over what I can't.
Allowing myself to live life at a slower pace for as long as I need to, maybe forever.
Allowing myself to do the things I love - without guilt, without pressure.
Allowing myself to pursue my passion, not needing permission from anyone else but myself.
Allowing my true self to come to the surface and shine through, letting go of other peoples' expectations of me.
Allowing love to be the primary feeling in my life, easing up on fear and vigilance.
Allowing imperfection in myself and others.
Allowing space in my life for joy, failure, grief, wonder, and everything in between. Being true to my feelings, not censoring myself or thinking I should or shouldn't feel a certain way.
Allowing my self and my life to change, and welcoming it.
Do you have a word of the year? I'd love to hear it.