Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Year of Exploration (One Word 2016)

Last year my word was homing.

It played a much more subtle role in my life than free did the year before, but it was everything I needed it to be. I didn't know when I chose it that I would have such a high needs baby. I couldn't have imagined that at nine months he would still be nowhere near sleeping through the night. But I knew I would need the permission the word gave me, to focus on the home front without regret, to settle in and embrace the baby season as best I could. I'm grateful for the way homing acted as a backdrop in this area of my life, like the perfect paint color: unimposing, almost forgettable, but continuously present, making space. 

I also anticipated a spiritual dimension to the word, and that showed up too, though even more quietly. It was a year of letting go of the old to make space for the new, a process that involved some mourning and loneliness. But we met the challenge bravely, because our family motto is "Take the next right step." Sometimes that is all you can do. 


My word this year is explore. 

I don't yet know exactly what it means for me. Or rather, I know that it is asking me not to know ahead of time what it will be, to just go ahead and inch out into it, letting it open and unravel and become as the year goes on. 

I do know that this year my youngest will begin cruising, then walking, then running. So maybe there will be some parallels there. And I know as he grows and learns and slowly weans off my constant presence that I may be freed up to venture out a little more than I was last year. 

I also know this year I want to live less in my mind, always thinking of the future, and and to be more present in my body and life right now as it is. I really do want that very badly, so I'm going to be intentional at getting better at it. 

I want to live with less caution and more impulse, to contemplate less and do more. And I'm getting the feeling this has something to with silence, because though I may come across as quiet to some, there seems to be no end to the inner chatter going on in my mind and sometimes it all builds up into a wall that keeps me from taking any real action in my life.

So I want to go on and create all ready. I know what it is I am meant to make, I just have to find the time and get to it. I'm not sure how far I'll get this year, but the value is in the action more than the product anyway. Though I do of course hope to have something to show for it in the end. 

I also want to get back in touch with my heart, which I may have subconsciously closed off for a while to care for myself and my family. I think if I have a superpower, it is probably empathy. It is a hard one to carry (aren't they all?) and for a while it just seemed like too much, to always go around feeling the pain of the whole world in addition to my own. But I am a good bit healthier now, and I'd like to open myself back up to feeling some of that. I honestly don't feel fully alive and myself without it. 

So really, there is quite a lot to explore. I'd better get on with it. 


"[Silence] puts us in touch with reality. It makes us far more aware of ourselves, both of our souls, and our bodies. Silence returns us to the present moment, that moment we are always trying to escape." - Anne Winchell Silver, Keeping Silence