Since my mid-twenties, I have chosen a word for the year as an intention to guide my actions and heart. My word for the year always speaks to what I want to most value for that moment in time and reminds me of what I most want to be feeling, what I most wish to have in my life, and what I feel called to do because of all of that. That simple little word is like a talisman for my growth and journey.
When I started dreaming about 2017, a really honest desire came up in me. I wanted my life to be profoundly easier. I imagine many of us feel that way and so I don’t want to belabor the difficulties I have faced over the last decade. Suffice to say that most of the people I deeply love have faced great, deep, unthinkable suffering over the years and because of how I am wired—which is profoundly empathetic to the human condition and ridiculously inclined to over engage and over function in times of crises– I have taken on those pains and tragedies, injustices and endings in such a way that I’ve been left largely raw and mostly broken. I’ve worked my way through crises while eating antacids like they are candy. I’ve spent more time than is normal on the floor of my closet, consumed in anxiety so dense that I begin to question if it is just anxiety or maybe a heart attack. If you’ve grappled with anxiety in your life, I know you can relate.
As one of my closest friends has watched the pile-up around me over the years (as well as the crises in her own life), she has lamented the fact that there is no easy button in life. What we wouldn’t pay for one, we’ve laughed. Can Staples get on the production of an actual Easy button stat, please?
So when it came time to start thinking about what I wanted to manifest in 2017, what I most wanted to feel, it should come as no surprise that what was calling to me was EASE. I want things to be easier in my personal life, in the personal lives of those I love, and in my professional life. I want to not make things more complicated as I sometimes do when I over-engage. When things are hard (and have to be hard), I want to feel less panic and fear about them and exhale into the fact that I can have ease in my heart even if I don’t have it in my current circumstances. I want to have more ease in my calendar, more ease in my relationships. I want my stomachaches and heartaches to be replaced with unfettered, fearless joy. I want to feel less dread and more wholehearted anticipation. I want to feel less pressure and enjoy more time margin. I want to be less busy and more at ease.
Now, of course, because it is not just life that makes things uneasy, I do, too, after I choose ease, I had a little word crisis. Do I actually control ‘ease’? Maybe ease is what I am asking of the Universe but maybe what I really want to feel is peace (because I have more control over—with the right tools in pace and a mindset practice and support in place- whether or not I am peaceful; I don’t always control ease). Maybe my word for the year should be Peace. Or MAYBE I should break my own little rule (which is FIND ONE WORD; don’t be a word hoarder) and have two words. Peace will be my intention, Ease will be what I ask of the world.
You know, Easy Peacey.
And then my 1980s love of The Eagles came flooding into my head as I remembered the lyrics of Peaceful Easy Feeling and I could see the full extent of my overworking the thing and I decided to just make things EASIER and go with my first instinct.
So, how do I want to feel in 2017? At ease.
What will I have if I practice feeling at ease? An easier, more joyful life.
What does this desire mean I must do this year?
I will take care of myself, honoring what I know my limits are and holding more and more of them in place rather than just ignoring them and, thus, forcing my nervous system into panic.
I will choose my path by embracing what feels easy (though not necessarily effortless for me). When something feels like an of course, even if the of course comes with lots of work, I will recognize the sense of ease it brings to me and honor it with engagement.
I will make choices and take actions that have easy long-term consequences.
Here’s to helping my very frayed nervous system recover from the battering it has endured and to anticipating the joy that ease will bring me.
What is your word for 2017? Who do you hope to feel in 2017? Who will this feeling allow you to be? What will it allow you to have? What does that mean you will do?
Wishing you a 2017 filled with whatever you most need.