Every year, I decide on a new word that will depict the coming year for me. I think about it a lot. I pray about it and I take into account my own personal journey of life. Often, after I have decided on a certain word, all of these things come popping into my day, on my facebook newsfeed and in my readings and casual conversations that further confirm the validity of that one special word. This year was no different.
This year, my word is ME. It’s funny actually. The first time the word was dropped into my head, it took me aback. It felt like someone had dropped an armful of dishes in the other room - the sound was so foreign in my head. I can’t have THAT word for my one special word for 2016!! It seems so selfish and so self serving. The ironic thing about it is that I am far from that type of person. My life story is reaching out to others - offering hope to those around me. That’s what propels me - it’s what drives me and makes me happy. When I become inward I begin to feel isolated and depressed.
So this year, I need to focus on me? And I get a resounding YES!!
You see when you love yourself enough to practice self care; to gain a better understanding of yourself and your whole body, you are actually doing those you love the highest service. You are not being selfish at all. You are better able to reach out, to serve and to love those around you when you pay attention to your body's language - listen to its whispers and understand its needs.
I had a sobering conversation with my 10 year old son the other day. He was talking about when he would be 42 (the meaning of life and the universe according to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy :)) and then suddenly, he looked up with tears in his eyes and exclaimed almost panicky, “Will you still be alive when I am 42 MOM!!” I said, “Well, I am pretty sure that I will be. Let’s figure out how old I will be.” So we promptly figured out that I would be 84. His tears starting making their way down his cheeks as he sadly said, “But Grandad was only 75.” I explained to him that Nanna was 77 and his grandma and grandpa (almost) were 80, so lots and lots of people live past 75. That seemed to satisfy him and then he said, “Will you try really hard to stay alive until then?” I assured him that I would.
It was a simple question. A humble question. But it was an "aha" moment for me. And it deserved honest speculation and an honest answer. You see there are things that I can redefine in my life in order to be healthier. There are steps that I can take in order to gain more control of ME. That was all the confirmation that I needed in order to make ME my word for 2016.
My one special word is intertwined with my goals this year. I wanted to share them with you.
All of us need moments of rest. All of us need to pull back, put up our feet and inhale peace. God took a rest on the seventh day of creation so why do WE think we should do any less. These last few years have taught me that I need to carve rest into my calendar. Being too busy; being too rushed isn't healthy for your body or your mind no matter what you are busy with. I have already started working on this and will continue to do so in the coming year.
I love art. I love creating things. There have been pockets of time that I have felt that I didn't have time; that I had to put it on the back burner.. I let the craziness of life steal my creative time. This year, I am going to intentionally invest time into my art. I am going to write, to paint, to take photographs -to do those things that I love. Because I am realizing that what feeds my soul, feeds others as well. What heals me, reaches out to those around me and extends the same healing.
There is so much out there to be said for healthy eating that I don't really need to linger on this point in this blog post.
This is important for me. This is where the rubber meets the road - it is where I decide if I am really trying to live to be 84 or not. All of our food decisions add up. We have to remind ourselves that our decisions today mark some outcomes for our future. Our future is often bought with today's actions.
I have a love/hate relationship with exercise. I hate taking the time to do it - mainly because the BEST time for me is in the morning when I would rather be sleeping. But even if I choose to do it at another time, there seems to be a million other things screaming at me, to get done. Good things. God things. Valid things. Many many times I cave in to those things, forgetting what movement does for my body. I can’t tell you what moving does in doctor’s terms necessarily but I can tell you what it does by self experience.
First of all movement, completely takes my energy to another level. I can always tell when I have been exercising regularly. I have much more energy than when I am not.
It also improves my mood 100%. It’s like a miracle drug - only much much better!!!! I can face harder things; I can look at things through better perspective; I can tackle more difficult life questions.
Lastly, when I stop exercising, I can tell because I start to get achy. My joints start to hurt more. Even if I stop for a few days it starts to get harder to go up and down the stairs or sit on the floor and play with the kids.
These benefits don't even mention the weight loss that naturally comes with it. So why if all these benefits come into play do I fight exercise so much?! When I know the answer to that, I will let you know. Better yet, if you know the answer to that, you can let ME know.
This year, there are some things around the house that need doing. Some projects that need to be finished, places that need clearing out, things that need to be thrown out or given away and routines to get re- rooted. I find that when my house is clean and tidy and free of clutter, my mind is also. I can think clearer and create better. There are less things calling my name, beckoning me and taking me away from artful and beautiful projects. I can more easily be the ME that I want to be.
I have some things to work on this year. I have goals to attain.
I can honestly say that as I step into the newness of 2016, as the plot of the next year begins to slowly unfold, I can almost hear the drum beat of anticipation in my chest.