A lot of people choose a word each year, a theme to focus on and study. I have half-heartedly chosen a word in years past but it has never been a true focus for me. This year I toyed with the idea of choosing a word. I even had it narrowed down to a couple, but nothing was really speaking to me. But today as I was reading my word hit me like a ton of bricks -mindfulness.
I’m only 20-some days late in choosing a word, but mindfulness is the cohesive theme to all the changes I have been making in my life. I’ve been minimizing my possessions, rooting toxic people out of my life, and stepping back from the screens that seem to dominate my life. I’ve become intentional a functional with planning, and I am choosing to turn the TV off and grab a book instead.
Mindfulness is defined as:
“the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”
In many ways I feel like I have been living life on auto pilot for a very long time. One foot in front of the other, numbing the things that didn’t feel good with excess. Excess in food, technology, possessions, alcohol, television. Suddenly I look up and I am on the downhill slide to 40 and I still haven’t figured out where I fit into this world. The good, the bad, the painful; its time for me to wake up and experience life for what it is. To be conscious and aware of the choices I am making and the paths I am walking down. As I begin to practice mindfulness I am discovering that so much of what I have tried to insulate myself from for all of these years really isn’t that bad. Life is pretty great when you take the blinders off and live wholeheartedly.
Mindfulness is a close cousin of intention. It is the habit of making life happen instead of letting life happen to you. Many years ago I believe I achieved a state of mindfulness, and it was equal parts exciting and scary to see the changes that took place in my life. I got out of debt, I met my husband, I stopped buying things made in sweatshops, I became a vegetarian.
While it remains to be seen in any life-altering changes will come of my New Year’s resolve, I already feel something foreign seeping into the cracks of my existence. Peace. I no longer feel an obligation to every single person in my life. If someone is continually a negative presence that pulls on my spirit, I don’t feel guilty about hitting the unfriend button. I’m buying more local and organic food and not beating myself up about the hit to the grocery budget. I’m cooking more meals from scratch. My husband and I are going on dates. I’m taking time for self-care.
In years past I have chosen a word, mediated on it for a month or so, and promptly forgotten about it. We’ll see if this year is any different, but I suspect it will be since this is something I am already trying to incorporate into my life. Did you chose a word for the year? What is it?