what's your word of the year?
On the morning of January 1st, our dog Hope wanted to be the first to welcome 2024. Since Story, no longer a puppy, joined our family, it's become rare for Hope to be the earliest riser. Although I looked forward to sleeping in, I took it as a sign.
Hope would be the theme of 2024.
After taking her outside, I sat at the kitchen table for my morning pages and wrote about hope and the year ahead. I decided it would be my word of the year.
They say hope isn't a strategy, but it can make all the difference. I've always been an optimistic person, but optimism isn't hope. If you're optimistic, you believe that things will work, but hope is knowing you can act to make things better.
As A. Lincoln said, "Hope is more than the sunny view that everything will turn out alright; it is believing you have the will and the way to accomplish your goals."
Back to last week.
Once I finished journaling, I started to head downstairs for some New Year's Day yoga, and at the bottom of the staircase was a pile of packaging foil. Our cats, Jensie in particular, I suspect, rang in the new year by somehow finding the antibiotics prescribed to one of our other dogs. He ate six tablets. Cats!
Then, surrender became another word for the year.
Surrender doesn't mean that we are giving up. Over the years, I've realized that the only thing we should expect is that the unexpected will happen. Surrender gives us the ability to meet the unexpected with more grace.
We discover empowerment when we lean into vulnerability, authenticity, and surrender to the 'higher power barista' that fills our 'M.U.G.' (Mother Earth, The Universe, and God) each morning.
Rather than striving or clinching, surrender opens up a portal of personal growth, a deeper connection with ourselves and others, and the ability to put a beautiful ripple into the world.
Yesterday, we held our first Pause Breathe Reflect silent retreat. We surrendered to tranquility. It was terrific, and as we broke the silence, I shared a few words about returning home.
Rumi wrote in his poem The Guest House: This being human is a guest house/ Every morning a new arrival./ A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor./ Welcome and entertain them all!
Talk about surrender.
Approaching life in this manner necessitates a solid foundation for our 'home,' grounded in the cornerstones of values, purpose, community, and mindfulness. It requires alignment.
While we often spend a disproportionate amount of time enhancing our home's curb appeal and interior aesthetic, these efforts are prone to crumble without a solid foundation.
As we begin the new year, inspecting or reflecting, much like our retreat attendees did, proves valuable. With the first week of the year already behind us – a quick start indeed – there's still plenty of time to contemplate how you want to show up for yourself this year and strengthen your foundation.
I inquired with the like-hearted humans who receive my text messages about their 'Word of the Year,' you can view their responses in the word cloud below.
What's your word(s)?
I'll wrap up with this. Last week, we received a holiday card from a friend, who signed off with this message: "And so we carry on. Art can save us. Hope dies last. And small acts can change the world."
How true indeed!