I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions.
Somehow they’ve always felt forced and hollow.
With no real joy attached.
So last week, when a friend sent me a New Year’s Eve meditation I was momentarily skeptical.
This better not be about resolutions, I grumbled to myself.
But I was pleasantly surprised.
The goal of the meditation was to come up with a word that would guide me through the new year.
I loved this idea.
In the past I have done a similar thing – intuitively feeling my way into a word I believed would represent my coming year.
A word that would help me move towards a more fulfilling life.
And it had definitely worked.
At the end of one particularly challenging year, after losing my Dad, my beloved dog, and a close friendship all within two months, I was guided to choose two words for the upcoming year: openness and joy.
That year I focused on remaining open to possibilities and only moving towards people, ideas and experiences that brought me joy.
It turned out to be a very good year.
I shifted out of grief into some new and exciting areas.
Took courses, met new people, and really put myself out there.
I became a Sacred Gifts Guide, landed a full-time job in a beautiful location with people I loved.
And got back on my feet financially.
Keeping the words openness and joy as my focus had moved me from a place of deep sadness into a brand new life.
At the end of that year I intuitively chose two more words (one of which I’ve already forgotten) to guide me through the next year.
The word I didn’t forget – humbleness – ended up being far more powerful.
And far more in my face.
After being a divorced, single parent for over a decade I was blessed to meet and fall in love with a wonderful man that year.
However I had many, many humbling moments in our first few months together.
As I learned to navigate our relationship.
I learned a lot about myself that year.
And boy was some of that growth ever painful.
The Universe has a funny sense of humour.
Humbleness is not a word I would choose again.
Last year I completely forgot about choosing a word and started the year off like any other.
In hindsight I’d probably drifted away from the idea.
Because I’d been so wrapped up in my relationship.
Like numerous times before, I had gotten distracted by we and lost touch with me.
So this year I knew the guided word meditation was something that I wanted, or rather needed, to do.
My romantic relationship had become increasingly rocky over the past few months.
And I was feeling confused about my future.
I had been asking the Universe repeatedly for some guidance and clarity.
I knew instinctively that I needed to find a way to get centered before any decisions could be made.
To go within to find myself again.
Reconnect with my dreams and goals for the new year.
Meditating on a theme word for the new year seemed like the perfect way to do it.
So one sunny afternoon last week I sat down on a bench above the sea.
Plugged my ear buds in.
Closed my eyes.
And let the guided meditation take me on a journey.
Before I knew it, up from the very depths of my soul popped my new word for the year: freedom.
Yes I thought….
It felt so good to say it!
My spirit lifted instantly.
My energy soared.
FREEDOM was definitely my word.
Freedom to express myself fully.
To feel ALL of my feelings without apology.
Freedom to follow my dreams and to choose my own path.
Freedom from guilt and shame.
From feeling bad about myself for not being good enough.
Happy enough. Calm enough.
Fill in the blank enough.
And most importantly: freedom to be me.
ALL of me.
Sensitive, emotional, loving.
And yes, sometimes overwhelmed, cranky and hot-headed, too.
As I sat there in the sun and contemplated the word freedom, a funny thing happened.
The word gave me hope.
It helped to guide me back to myself.
Back to my inner power.
To knowing that no one needs to have my back. Because I have my back.
Back to knowing that I am worthy and lovable just as I am.
Over the next few days as I continued to hold the word freedom in my head and heart, I deliberated whether to stay in my relationship or not.
The more I imagined the freedom that lay ahead of me by daring to let go of a relationship that was no longer serving me, the more hopeful I felt.
My answer was clear.
There was no reason to hold on anymore to something and someone that was not feeding my soul.
I have the freedom to choose.
And I was choosing to let go.
I now have a whole new year in front of me.
A year to rediscover myself. What I want.
My slate is clean.
The new year looks clear and bright and shiny.
And for the first time in a long time, I feel excited and free.
Very, very free.
So what about you?
Have you picked your word for the year?
Update: watch my video on choosing an inspiring word for the year.