And so it begins, a new year, a new blog, and a new word to highlight and inspire the next 12 months. It’s awesome what a single word can muster, little symbols in succession holding energy for hope, inspiration and movitation. A thoughtfully chosen word can be a beacon for me, a homing signal to follow and realign with when the days get lost, harried, unexpected, or mundane, which inevitably they always do.
First though, I have to tell you a little story about last year’s word “Voice”. Year three was quite the hump year for me in terms of writing and blogging. When I chose the word “Voice”, I was searching for something, anything to point me in a new direction, give me just a sliver, an inkling of an idea of what I am suppose to do with this “one wild and precious life”. A new career, a new focus, a new identity? But instead of a gentle, guiding beacon, that word gave me a solid, white, daunting and immoveable, brick wall.
Was I asking too much, wanting too much? Who knows, but with that wall came anxiety, boarding up spaces in my mind so there was no room to expand, dream or create. For months, writing became labored and difficult. I was distracted and distant. I would sneer at my desktop as I walked by, professing that I would not sit there and stare at the screen that day. An internal civil war ensued where one side told me to “quit the blog- there is nothing to give, no voice, no purpose!”, and the other said “no don’t let it go, not yet, just wait.” Whatever the problem was, it felt bigger than writer’s block, bigger than a temporary setback.
What kind of irony was this anyway?? I ask for Voice and found absolute nothingness, silence. I was stonewalled by my own brain. I had no other option since Voice decided to vacate, so, I surrendered. I just stopped, stopped asking the questions, stopped pressuring myself for answers. I allowed the silence to dampen and seep into the crevices all around that wall. I just enjoyed my days. I spent much less time online (sorry bloggy friends!), reduced blogging other than an occasional post here and there, and did very little crafting of any sort, even fewer photos and polaroids… I focused on my kids and their school activities by volunteering more, spent more time with friends, spent more time reading (yay!), and let my head center on mindless, household, busy work. And in that quiet, away from all that rush and eagerness to define Voice, when movement slowed and silence reigned, groundedness and understanding did gracefully emerge.
Sometimes we ask for things we already have. Peace, happiness, abundance, confidence, love, patience, friendship, voice…We just don’t know it because somewhere we made up our minds that what we have, what we can do, is just not enough. In Blogland, when we have that opportunity to peek into other people’s lives, we can’t help but compare sometimes. And even if we are vigilant of our own Egos, it is cunning enough to slink into the rear alleys of our minds. Suddenly we want more. I wanted more. I wanted to be that artist, that photographer, that writer. I searched for Voice, everywhere but here. And so it took a wall, and it took silence, and it took leaving for awhile to realize that Voice was not something to be hunted, or chased, or wished for. Voice is something we all already have, something to be cultivated only by believing in ourselves.
Voice is here, always, in the way we move or speak, in the way we care or show love, in the way we relax, the way we laugh, the way we retreat into solitude or release sadness. For me, it’s also in the dreams I’ve had all my life. It’s in the way I create, or shoot photographs, and most importantly, it’s in the way I write and share my stories, my life. The moment I sought Voice elsewhere, I found a silent wall in its stead, until I remembered again my own value, my own core. And by filtering out any dreams born out of fear, impulsiveness and insecurity, I did find Voice again. Just in the knick of time too, just in time to say goodbye to 2013, just in time to find a new blogging platform and seek a new word for this year.
I learned a hard lesson last year, one that almost cost me something that I love to do. I began blogging because writing was the only way I knew how to unbottle and sort out all the details of my own stumblings, evolution and gain. And because I thought someone, somewhere might identify with what I was trying to say, how I was trying to live, and want to take what I had to give. It is the essence of why I am here– vulnerability, honesty, learning and evolution, soul-searching, depth, and the love of words, storytelling, sharing and connecting–the marrow and soul of why I love to write. And so quite naturally, my word for 2014
noun 1. the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, esp. something abstract, that determines its character.
I want to stay connected with the essence and soul of my writing. I want to pause on the truest nature of why I do anything and make sure intentions are aligned. What essentially, does something mean to me and is it worth the energy? I want to take heed of and hear my most sincere voice, bearer of my deepest dreams, then share earnestly my experiences with words, actions, and heart. 2014 is going to be an incredible year, not because something remarkable and astounding is going to happen, but because we make our lives remarkable and astounding just by being our truest, most essential selves.
Happy New Year friends and thank you always for reading.
ps. It’s my girl’s birthday today, 9 years old. Happy Birthday darling Little Bee..