A few years ago, I came up with a word to represent the new year. The word was fun. I wanted my year to be filled with more fun and the intent was to have everything I did contribute to that feeling. Those of you who’ve been following me for a while may remember how my year of fun turned out – It became my year of grief, loss, and sadness. I won’t get into those details now (you can read more about it here); however, I will share that what I learned from that year is the experience I had was exactly what I needed, more so than “fun” and in spite of how difficult it was.
Here we are in a new year and I decided it’s again time for a word to represent what I want this year to encompass. My word for the new year is presence. You might think that’s an interesting word choice, especially since the last time I did this the word was fun. I could have picked any word, right? I mean why not try for “fun” again? (well, maybe not THAT word), but it could have been adventure or magical, or delicious… and yet, I know presence is my word for 2018. How did I decide that was it? If you haven’t chosen a word to represent this year yet, perhaps my process can assist you with selecting one.
First, I paid attention to my frustrations.
I’ve felt scattered these last few months. I had a lot of things vying for my attention and in addition to those things, there were more things that I wanted to put my attention on – yep, I was scattered. And frustrated. Days were slipping away and I was left feeling like, “what the heck did I do today?” This also frustrated me. I wanted more space in and sacred attention toward what I was doing. That was the first indicator that presence was missing.
Next, I realized and admitted to my addiction to my iPhone.
Admit it – you are too. We all are. I love my iPhone and the convenience it provides me. And I also realize how easily it distracts me. For example, I was watching the winter finale of a TV show my husband and I are hooked on and a commercial came on. Yes, I grabbed my phone and before I knew it I’m sucked into something on social media or an email or any other millions of things that are available to on that little device, and I’d forgotten what I was watching on TV. I had to ask my husband what happened or rewind and catch up. This is all unnecessary and avoidable. It happens a lot and I knew I wanted to stop allowing my iPhone (or any mobile device) to pull my attention away from what I was doing.
Finally, I was reminded how precious time is.
This past year marked three years since my father passed away and a fourth set of holidays without him. I am still in disbelief over this fact. The past three years have flown by and the further away I get from being physically present with my dad, the more I yearn for more time with him. Time that I had and am sure spent being distracted by other things going on around me or in my life. As time continues to pass and my older relatives get even older, as I watch my niece and nephew grow at warp speed, and see my fur-babies getting some more grey around their snouts, I am reminded that we are only given a finite amount of time with all these amazing beings. And that time goes incredibly fast. I don’t want to be distracted while I have the opportunity to be with them and create meaningful moments and memories.
All these things led to presence coming out as my strongest desire for the upcoming year. Sure, adventure might provide a more exciting year but PRESENCE is the feeling I need and know I want more of in my life. What exactly does this mean for me? It means I focus on one thing at a time all the time. No more watching a movie with my husband with my iPhone in one hand. No more having a conversation on the phone with my mom while trying to type an email. No more responding to a text while my sister is in the middle of talking to me. Whatever and whoever is in my presence gets all of me. Period. Will this be easy? I doubt it! But I’m committed to it and will do my best.
One thing that my year of fun turned year of grief/sadness/loss taught me is to be flexible and not get too attached to intentions and plans (and words). I’ve abided by that ever since my year of fun took its drastic turn and this year will be no different. I’m excited for whatever this new year holds and I believe my intention to be present through all of it will be my biggest opportunity, and I know can bring me my greatest joy.
Happy New Year!