Happy New Year! Do not ask me how we got to 2017 already because I haven't a clue, but here we are, so we'd best get on with it!
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a relaxing break whatever you were doing, mine was good, time with family, and a lovely shift in the weather in the last few days which means lots of walks in fresh frosty air and sunshine.
Anyway, on with new stuff! You'll remember in my last post I said I was going to work through Susannah Conway's Unravel Your Year workbook, and Find Your Word mini-course. Well I did, and it's my word for the year that I want to share with you today.
The process that Susannah guides through begins with a series of questions about what your ideal day would look like, and how you want to feel in various aspects of your life in the coming year. Then by gradually filtering out the important-feeling words from what you've written, or choosing by instinct from a list that is suggested, you come to a shortlist that you can work with a little more deeply. What do these words mean (in a dictionary and to you personally), how do they make you feel, are there other supporting words or underlying meanings? Susannah says that ultimately "you want to pick a word you're a little bit in love with", and certainly in my experience it will be one that inspires both excitement and a little bit of fear. Personally, the word should be something that is going to stretch and challenge me a bit, but not feel unattainable. I think I'd got to day 2 of the course when my word started speaking to me, and the next couple of days really confirmed it.
So the word that is going to guide me through 2017 is
After 2016 being the year of Me - of re-finding myself, and re-learning to listen to my heart and my intuition, of trusting my instincts to lead me towards what is right for me - Brave feels like a logical, and confidence-building next step.
This is not about being fearless or reckless, but instead about truly believing in myself and knowing that my decisions will be good ones, not letting fear control me, not letting the negative voice in the back of my head talk me out of doing things I want to try. It's about taking positive steps towards manifesting the life I dream of and hope for, about making the most of opportunities that present themselves, about trying new things, exploring, and putting myself out there more authentically and more confidently that I ever have before.
There are a few areas in particular where I can already sense that Brave is going to need to help me. Firstly, my business, and the plans I have for building things this year. I'll share more about these soon. Secondly, in managing my introversion and finding more courage to get out into the world to meet people in real life, to take friendships that have begun online and strengthen them through in-person meetings, and potentially later on in the year making another attempt at internet dating in the hope of meeting the man of my dreams. That last one will definitely take a bit of working up to having been burned in the past!
Another area I want to give some focus to this year is my eating and food habits. I'm quite a picky eater, and have a tendency to be really unadventurous with my choices sometimes. I struggle with the textures of some foods (onions), strong flavours (anything spicy), and haven't eaten any fruit in decades (don't panic, I do eat vegetables!). I'd like to add more variety to my diet, and experiment with different ingredients and flavours, as well as cooking more from scratch. One reason is because I often struggle when out at restaurants and particularly if abroad because I'm scared of trying something new on a menu in case I don't like it and then go hungry, and I have a real frustration with food that is too 'fussy' and overcomplicated. So expanding my food horizons would also help me feel more comfortable and confident about travelling more widely in the future if I didn't have to worry about keeping an emergency packet of biscuits in my suitcase! And apart from the general desire for a more varied repertoire, there are also the health benefits to consider. I'm not talking about going vegetarian or vegan or gluten free or whatever all the time (I like a good steak and chips too much for that), but thinking more mindfully about what I'm fuelling my body with, noticing the foods that affect me physically, mentally or emotionally, and toning down some of my comfort eating habits (half a dozen chocolate digestives anyone...) So I hope Brave is going to help me here by giving me a nudge to at least try new things, cook different recipes, experiment with different flavours - because you never know, I just might like it!
If you've got any good recommendations for blogs or books you think would be useful for me please do leave a comment or drop me a message, I'd be very grateful for anywhere to give me a positive start!
I've come up with a few ways to keep Brave in mind as I go through this year (and Susannah suggests a number of different tactics in the course) - I've coloured in the mandala poster from the Find Your Word workbook and stuck in on the wall by my desk, I've printed out a selection of photos and quotes that inspire me and will be adding these to magazine cut-outs to create a vision collage, and I'm possibly going to look for a piece of jewellery that I can wear every day to remind me (again, any recommendations welcome). I've also chosen an anthem, a song that came straight to mind when Brave presented itself, and one that I actually haven't listened to in years but remembered the lyrics straight away. The song is Brave by Idina Menzel (she of Let It Go fame), and here's a link to listen to the full song, but it's really the words of the chorus that I'm going to be repeating like a mantra:
If this is the moment I stand here on my own
If this is my rite of passage that somehow leads me home
I might be afraid
But it's my turn to be Brave
Brave, Idina Menzel, 2008
If you've picked a word for the year, or some other way to guide you through, I'd love to hear about it, and what you hope it's going to bring you in 2017. I've a feeling this year is going to be pretty special!