"Let your mind start a journey through a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be. Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar, and you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.” -- Erich Fromm
I have an annoying habit. Wherever my shoes come off is where they stay. It’s a real effort to get them back to the closet. Right now, my running shoes are near the front door. One is actually at the door and the other is closer to the stairs. There is a pair of slippers near the top of the stairs that I kicked off as I searched earlier for said running shoes. I used to make a New Year’s resolution every year to change this habit, to no avail.
About five years ago, I decided to abandon the idea of starting the New Year with a list of things I’d like to change (the shoe thing always topping the list). Instead, I chose a word, one word, as the quality that I would like to instill into my life throughout the coming year. It’s an opportunity to explore and learn about what life looks like through a new lens. I am not unique here. There are books, blogs, and projects dedicated to this concept, and I am a fan.
My first word in 2010 was Aware. In subsequent years, I chose Wellness, Release, and Explore. Last year it was Allow. Each word underscored a larger goal or wish I had for myself as I set off into the year. It also represented a challenge for me. Allowing, for example, required me to lean into the unknown and trust. There were so many new things happening in my life. I asked myself – by allowing – to remain open to the possibility that the course could change based upon my experiences. Instead of trying to plan and control, I allowed my life to unfold and flow.
It became easier in time to remember and consider each word as I worked through the daily routines of life. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I met the challenge within the word head-on. I reflected back at year’s end and realized how engrained it had become in my life. Unlike my shoe habit, I always found growth and success with my word and that encouraged me forward. I have also found that, year over year, the words seem to build upon each other. Awareness led me to Wellness, which empowered me to Release what was keeping me. I was then able to Explore what my life could be like and then Allow it to emerge without unnecessary force or interference.
This year, I choose the word Soar. Once again, I find myself in a space of vast unknown and “newness”. It’s my goal to reach further, beyond any bounds, and remain curious as I allow my story to flourish. The challenge is that I manage my efforts and leverage the power much like a bird rides the currents of the wind. It requires a trust in an invisible force, perhaps similar to that which keeps the birds in motion and aloft. It’s a knowing sensation that altitude, momentum, and movement are achieved when we release ourselves from what keeps us, listen to our soul, and allow ourselves to be lifted.
So that’s my word… soar. If you have one you’d like to share, please leave a comment here or drop me a note via email. I’ll be sharing my progress a few times throughout the year. I’ll also keep working on the shoe thing, but I make no promises!
Happy New Year! May your year be filled with happiness, laughter, wellness, and love… and maybe a new word, too!