At the end of each year there are several traditions I delight in. The coach in me gets a bit excited. It’s the blank page. I’m never certain whether it comes from a strong positive optimistic place, or an ‘oh my goodness look at that whole untrodden year stretching ahead, quick we’d better control it somehow’ place. Somewhere in between probably.
I choose a word for the year. I started it about five years ago. Though please don’t ask me to recall the five years of words because bizarrely I haven’t retained them in my head. It’s as though while in action they are hugely significant and afterwards float away on the breeze. I know one year was ‘establish’. This year’s word I dropped part way through the summer when my head became so full that I couldn’t keep hold of it any longer. Your step-dad being terminally ill will do that. For the life of me I can’t remember it right now, it’ll come back to me at some point, but I do know that while I had it it gave me a real sense of being grounded in something. In meaningful work and choice and purpose. That’s why I like it.
Normally the word is completely obvious to me. I don’t have to think too hard. It’s most likely the word that sits at the core of all the things rolling around my mind. The thread that pulls them all together. But this year it wasn’t there so readily. I signed up to Susannah Conway’s ‘find your word’ emails and lo and behold after reading just the first one I realised it was there, I’d just been too busy to notice it jumping up and down in my peripheral vision.
Simply that. Uninspiring to some. Massive for me. With many many meanings.
Noticing the space between the traumas of the past year and the present. Important to honour it, while acknowledging that we are moving through it. Holding a space for the people in my life who are hurting. Including myself. Being grounded in our space here, at home. Nurturing it, adding the sparkle around the edges. Clearing the space, as we move into a time that sees us with two hands available for much more of the day than we’ve been used to. Creating space, physically and metaphorically, for the creative work I want to pursue. Seeking out space for myself now that I’m a teeny bit less needed. Opening up a space for my thoughts and explorations. This space. There’s an important chapter in my journey unfolding (aren’t they all?) and I could do with a sounding board. Even a blank empty one to begin with. And lots more.
It’s a good word for where I am right now. It inspires that deep calm breath you take when you look at the wide open sea. It feels full of promise and possibility. It seems hope-filled and expansive and poised. Because simply creating space invites something good in. My wonderful wise yoga teacher would say those words and I’d believe her. Because it’s the way of the universe isn’t it.
Pictures from a recent walk in the woods. More on those other traditions in the next post.