This past year has been a doozy. I have heard the same sentiment from many and witnessed the same from many. A year of challenges, changes, losses, pains. Along with those pains came growth, but at a cost. Perhaps 2012 will be known as the year of growing pains.
My arms are open and ready to embrace 2013. They are open but not wide. A guarded embrace will take place as the clock strikes twelve.
As I grew more accustomed to the blogging world over the last few years or so, I embraced the tradition of choosing a word of the year versus making New Year's resolutions. Resolutions never seemed to make it past the idea stage so I had no problem giving up the useless tradition to forge ahead with another.
2011 - Focus
I chose the word focus because it was something I needed to work on, something I was greatly lacking. I chose the word and failed it miserably. I had no plan, no idea how to work with a "word of the year" and ironically, no focus! By the end of 2011 I had to look back at the previous year's blog post to see what my word for the year actually was. I had forgotten. Obviously a complete lack of focus. I found the matter to be quite amusing with no sweat off my back.
2012 - Faith
There was a huge difference with my word for 2012. Difference number one. The word chose me. I did not choose a word, rather I allowed words to play around in my mind until one took hold. I asked the universe to provide my word and it chose Faith. I had been warned that when a word chooses you (versus you choosing a word), you better hang on. The word means business! Can I just say that I believe that was the understatement of the year?
This past year was one of the hardest of my life. Trust me. I have had some hard, ugly, difficult times. This past year saw my marriage challenged, my world shaken, loved ones lost, and a health issue that had me scared for my life. I am still working on how to shake fear as it is the state I have lived in my entire life, though most say they wouldn't know it (my mask hides me well). I have cried more tears in this past year than I thought possible to produce in a lifetime.
Faith started out as something I thought one had, only to discover it is something one does, practices, gains. Faith no longer feels like a noun. I believe it to be more of a verb. People say "Have faith". I always thought my grandmother 'had faith'. Faith is something you work to understand, work to gain and then work to keep. Perhaps once you have done all the work you can 'have' it, but there are still times it is threatened and you must work to keep it. It is shaken and you must stabilize. It is questioned and you must defend.
I walked into my year feeling strong and cocky. "Hmm... cute little word. Pretty sure I know what it means. Let's question it. Digest it. Play with it."
Faith said, "Oh no you don't! I chose you! This is my year. I get the lead. I take control. You are simply along for the ride."
Or so it felt.
I was talking to my husband about a word for this year. He said, "Don't do it." He was as scared for me as I was. He actually said he thought choosing a word to focus on was similar to worshiping a false God. Interesting. Also not real settling. I thought about what he said and thought it sounded a bit like hooey, but at the same time, I was scared. Scared of what the new year would bring, scared to ask for a word, but it had already happened and I knew it. A word had settled in a few weeks prior. I felt it nudging and whispering and trying to attach itself to me. It felt like a good word, a good fit, yet I could not shake the fear it might possibly carry with it a hidden agenda of hard times and painful lessons.
The word whispered "trust me, you need me" and that's when it hit me.
When a word chooses you for a year, it is not the word that brings challenges. Life brings challenges. The word allows for transformation. It allows for growth to occur and wisdom to be gained. When walking with a word, we have something to work with, something to lean on, something to guide us. It shows we are open and willing to learn and transform. It is a way for the Universe to guide us.
Faith carried me through this past year. At first I questioned it. When I started to think I knew what it was, it made sure to let me know I had a lot to learn. It challenged me and left me until I realized that I was the one who left. When I questioned it, it gave me something to focus on, to learn from. It allowed me to look at things differently. It held my hand through the difficulty and celebrated the good.
It has been an extremely hard year. I am thankful I had faith by my side. I plan on continuing to grow with/in faith as I know I have a long way to go. Faith is not a word for a year, it is a word for life.
This year, my year is my year. I claim it for myself. The word that has nudged me will be at my side. I am keeping it to myself (at least for now), holding it gently and close to my heart. Once again, it picked me. In all honesty, having a word choose me when I wasn't sure whether I wanted a word this year, makes me a bit leery. It is a good word. One of the best. I choose to step into the new year with positive intention and gratitude. May the new year choose to greet me with the same. May it choose the same for you.
A few months ago I was blessed with a weekend get-a-way with a few other ladies. One is a forever friend, the other I had never met. I almost chickened out. I ended up staying one night instead of two. It was just right. We stayed up late talking deep and long, sharing stories in front of a wood burning stove. The room pictured below is the one I stayed in at the bed and breakfast. So much introspect and healing and dealing of past has gone on for me this year. It was interesting to me that the room I received was representative of the room I had as a small child. It was rather symbolic of the work I've been doing to make peace with my past.