Do you have a “Word of the Year”? This is my ninth year doing this tradition! I almost didn’t pick one for this year, but I’m really glad I changed my mind.
I knew from slightly before 2016 started that it was going to be a doozie of a year. I was not only right, but I vastly underestimated exactly how hard it was going to be for me. Without a doubt, 2016 was the absolute worst year of my life (and honestly, I’ve had some pretty bad ones before then)… With my intuition and foresight informing me ahead of time that 2016 was going to be rough for me, I chose the word “Flow” for 2016. I envisioned the storms-a-comin’ with me floating through them, remaining intact the entire time. That image helped me through some really tough days. Without that, I may not have survived all the storms I went through.
What I didn’t anticipate is that allowing myself to roll-with-the-punches and go-with-the-flow, I would curl up physically and metaphorically into a ball of tightness that has now become so stiff with the atrophy of it all, I can barely move without pain (physical, mental, and emotional). I protected my core so heartily, and necessarily, that I now am covered in a unique armor I’ve never seen nor felt before. I want to keep that armor as it’s waterproofing me and keeping me tough, but I don’t want to be all stiff inside of it. Life isn’t worth living in that stiff state.
With that in mind, I’ve chosen the word STRETCH for my “Word of the Year” for 2017. Each day this year, I want to focus on stretching my physical self, my body: arms, legs, back, feet, hands, neck, torso, so that I’m no longer in a tight little protective ball getting stiffer and achier because I curled inward for so long. I want to focus on stretching out my body systematically and productively. Each day this year, I want to stretch my mental focus and allow my attention to more quickly go elsewhere when situations, movies/books/television/stories, people, conversations, food, or whatever-crossed-my-path no longer deserves my attention. Life is too short to spend it concentrating on things that I don’t care about. Each day this year, I want to stretch my emotional focus so that I allow the intensity of my emotions and the deep truths behind them to shine in my writing and personal life. I’m actually the most emotional person I know, and I can cultivate my emotions by allowing myself to be more me. This year, I will stretch.