word of the year

A new year + a new energy = BEAUTY

I wasn't going to have a word, an intention, this year.

I first chose a  word for the year back in 2013, the year I changed my life, the year I became for the first time conscious, aware that it was entirely up to me to take responsibility for my life, for deciding what I wanted it to be and to creating that.  

It was April really that year that it all became clear that this is what I had to do - so I gave in my notice at the job that really wasn't for me at all and was making me ill, and found another which would give me time and breathing space to see what else I wanted to do ... and the word ALIVE just gave itself to me.

It literally was as important as that, I felt that I had come alive, at last.

Only a few months later it was the start of 2014 and again, the word just came to me.  It was BOLD and it was a perfect word for that time as I was so excited to see what I wanted to do and where I was going and to try things out and see what felt right - I needed some boldness to start doing different things - blogging more and also starting my supperclub, The Tiniest Thai in London.

It felt good, creative, a rush of being alive and bold and all this lovely free-flowing energy, like being rushed down a river, but staying upright with ease, surfing life.

And 2015 - well, I just couldn't wait for it!  I felt a gathering momentum and that it would be the most amazing year and leaping point into something huge ... but I didn't settle on a word, nothing quite felt right ...

I tried out, tried on ... SOAR, PLAY, ACTION ... but nothing felt right and sometimes 2015 felt a struggle - like I was pushing too much, had expected so much.  Towards the end of the year I thought perhaps DISCOVER or EXPERIMENT was more what the year had been about.

I'm wasn't sure any more that it felt right to me to set a word for a calendar year and to process things like this.

It feels a little rigid and as though I'm putting rules somehow around things ...

I set the intention of GRACE for 2016 and it took right through until the last quarter of 2017 (yep, I carried over this word into another year) until I felt at one with GRACE.

But what a huge change it has been - one of stepping into a way of feeling of being, rather than doing. One that needed that time and 2017 in particular felt a time of BECOMING and of BEING.

I spent a lot of time during 2017 travelling to Norfolk regularly to visit my mum, who's bedbound with heart failure and kidney failure. I visit on a Saturday every three weeks or so, a round trip of 6-7 hours.  She reads suspense novels and I go out to get anything she fancies eating as she can't get it for herself of course. 

I sit on the train watching the seasons change over the Fens, thinking about life, death, my grandparents, my childhood, the big wheel of history as the train rushes in a straight line under that big sky.

I have done less writing, and the supperclubs have taken a back seat.

I have felt more at one with the seasons, and I have been feeling conscious about pacing myself, thinking more about my health and not to get too tired - of prioritising what is important for me to do. This is new for me, to have this consciousness as I've always just run at things and relied on my strength and health to carry me through, not thinking at what cost.

I have felt quieter and more gentle, and I realised towards the end of the year that I felt stronger too for being so.  

Feeling everything that swirls around, just out of reach, like something half dreamt, like dust motes in the sun out of the corner of your eye, like a fleeting memory, a kind of nostalgia, a fragment of thought, of everything that one is, we just ARE.

I did a lot less doing and lot more being.

And stepping into being rather than doing, felt like a state of grace to me. A surrender and a trust.

It feels that the intention of grace had to become a part of me ... saw me choosing to spend my energy and time on what nurtures me rather than what drives me.

It's felt a mini-hibernation in some ways, anchoring in some habits of journaling and of yoga, of sleeping and reading more, an odd sense of knowing the way ... allowing that to be what it is.  

Where am I going? I light the way for myself.

Things are softer and kinder. Without rules and without processes.

A new way of being that doesn't need the beginning and end of the year to denote a new stage in itself.

But then again .... it does.

I watch the seasons change and feel at one with that rhythm of nature, at one with the old ways. I've been remembering how much from childhood I was fascinated with learning about natural remedies and medicines, about magic and ritual and healing, and I've started sharing some of this knowledge ... just a little, just when it feels right.

I've spent more time reading and learning about something I've always been interested in, numerolgy.  

It's so fitting too for everything I've been feeling .. to learn about the energy of the year from its number ... and 2018 has the energy of the Master number 11 (2+0+1+8 = 11) ... 'my' number too with my birthday being 11/11.

And there it is then.

I do after all return to the beginning and end of a year, to the rhythm of life rather than a process and I am called to set a vibration rather than an intention or a word, to flow with the energy of this year.

That vibration swirls around me as a shawl of magic, of remembrance, of purpose, of comfort, of safety, of strength, of an old lamp on the end of a stick, shining a path through the snow, the dark earth, the daffodils, the warm sandy beach, the crunch of leaves that then fall and through the whole cycle again.

This year's vibration - as the year's energy will ebb and flow - I surround myself with and choose to seek out and to see and be at one with ... BEAUTY.

There is tons of information about numerolgy and about the energy of this year, but here's just a couple of features/resources I found interesting and helpful.

THIS one - the overall theme of 2018 is love.

And HERE for a really comprehensive look. I had already settled on BEAUTY before reading this and love that 11 = Shambhala. 

'The word ‘Shambhala’ resonates to the Master Number 11 in numerology… and is the perfect word to help us embrace the greater potential of our Universal 11 Year.

Shambhala is a sanskrit word that roughly translates to a place of peace, tranquility & happiness.  Each of us has the FREEDOM in our hearts/minds to choose to experience Heaven here on Earth, a place of Shambhala.   We have the choice to live our lives being kind to one another, to live in harmony with the Earth and in service to something greater than us. 

Our Universal 11 Year is our wakeup call to remember Shambhala, to remember how beautiful the world feels when we experience our lives through our hearts and how when we choose to create Shambhala in everything we do we awaken the best in ourselves and inspire others to do the same.'


What's going to be your word for 2016?

I haven't done this for long really - just a couple of years - but coming across this exercise in setting an intention for the year ahead has had a huge impact on me and my life.  

It's also led me to so, so much more learning and friends and ideas and creativity and ways of seeing the world.

And it's so simple.  

Just setting an intention for the year ahead, and choosing a word that embodies that intention. 

Now, just two short years later, I see a lot of my friends and people in my communities all set their word/s and intention/s for the year ahead and it's fascinating and inspiring to hear what they're planning. 

When it first started for me, it was something I read about midway through 2013.  

This was a big year for me - a year of huge change, the year I realised it was up to me and no one else to grab my life by the horns and create the life I want - to take charge, to take responsibility, at last, for my own life.

It was a momentous realisation and one that I am passionate about talking about and sharing as I know that if I could be sleepwalking through my life for so long, then so can others and just as I found some people and ideas that inspired me to find out more - I want to talk about it too and share what I'm learning.

So it was midway through the year that I heard about deciding on a word for the year.  

I had just made some big decisions and given in my notice at a job that wasn't right for me at all.  However, I'm glad I did that job that wasn't right for me.  It was the final straw, it was then that I had the realisation that working, working, working and being so down and and yes a bit downtrodden by life to be honest wasn't what I wanted.  And nor was the reckless, carefree, slightly hysterical level of socialising and partying that went before - just other ways to block out the emptiness of not knowing or realising how to affect what happens in your life.

So, pretty momentous really, realising that it was me, just me, and only me, who could take charge of my own life.  Be the figurehead of my own ship. 

Anyway, my word, my intention, call it what you like, just jumped into my head that day in July 2013, when I was winding down what I didn't want to do and looking ahead to what I did.  

And that word was ALIVE.  

And ... exciting! It's honestly not over-stating it to say that's what happened to me that year, at least in how I felt it (I probably didn't look or seem that much different externally really).  

I took in big breaths of excitement and hope and awareness and possibility ... and came ALIVE (again).

It worked really well for me, having this intention set, this word of my own.  I started talking about it to friends and family, and my sisters both set their words and intentions for 2014 too. 

My word for 2014 was BOLD and that, that was just perfect.  

I learnt more, I took more in, I tried things out, I was open to trying and bold suited me absolutely perfectly ... 2014 was so full of boldness and possibility that nearing the end of the year I could barely contain excitement for all that 2015 would bring.  Honestly, I couldn't wait to get there! 

But then something happened.  I think I'd been too excited.  I couldn't settle on a word, on an intention, and that felt really odd after how naturally and easily the last two had come.  I tried on a few: Soar then Play.  Then Play didn't feel action-oriented enough.  I tried on Action. I tried on Play Fierce. 

A couple of months into the year I was trying out so much, trying on so much and feeling confused and tired and unexpectedly let down by the promise that 2015 had seemingly failed to show.

I look back now and I think my intention - having looked back at my actual actions - was EXPERIMENT. Or DISCOVER.  

But at the end of 2014 I was rushing headlong into something but without actually know what that was.  And that's fine too.  I know that having had that experience I'll think very differently if and when a word or feeling or intention doesn't come easily again.

But this year, for 2016, I've known my word for a while.  She snuck up on me and got close and I've been living with her for a couple of months now.

My intention for 2016 is GRACE.  

I am going to live in a GRACEFUL way and be GRACEFUL too.  

(I am after all a Tuesday's child, full of grace ... don't you know?)

Words mean different things to us all, so to clarify - for me, grace is a combination of generosity, elegance, calmness, kindness, lightness, thoughtfulness and ... hospitality - for want of a better word. Perhaps warmth would be that better word.

It's behaving and thinking and being - in a way that nurtures and leads through lightness and ease. 

It is going to shape how I choose to react to things and inform the ways I move forward on things. It feels a grown up part of me, but still with an essence of lightness and playfulness, but more mindful.  

Yes, more grown up. (But still with a lot of drive and passion behind it of course). 

So that's my intention for 2016.  

And if you're happy to share, I would LOVE to know what your word for 2016 is going to be - and what it means to you. 

Let me know in the comments (way, way, way down the bottom of the page) or of course, pop in to my FB page and comment there.

Whatever you decide, I wish you happiness, love and adventures in 2016.