New Year, New Word, New Practice (same ol’ me)

My words for the year

My words for the year

Choosing a word of the year has become trendy, which means there are those who love it, those who hate it, those who feel they should follow it though they’re not sure they want to, those who feel badly (or righteous) because they’re not doing it, and those who don’t know what to think about it all. This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the point.

I can’t remember how many years I’ve chosen a word to be my north star for 365 days. It must have started around the time I gave up on resolutions and decided on a kinder, simpler way to step into a new year. I’ve fallen deeply in love with the process. It works for me. Usually there’s one main word that shows up (this year it’s Home) but there are often more swimming around in my consciousness, like a constellation instead of a single star. I’ve learned to welcome whatever intuition brings.

The last two years I’ve also chosen a daily practice.  In 2012 I went to Celebration School. 2013 became a Year of Noticing. Both involved a daily Facebook check in. I loved the feedback and community that came as a result. But since I tend to leave my practice to the end of the day (a habit I’m slooooowly changing) I needed one that didn’t involve sitting down at the computer right before bed. This year I’m turning inward and my practice (writing a poem a day) will be less public, though pieces of it will show up here, I’m sure.

This year we traveled on New Year’s Eve, coming home from a week with my family in Canada. What struck me the morning of January 1st was that it was just another day (with extra permission to sleep in) and I was the same me I’d been the night before. So many years I’ve gone to bed on December 31st hoping that by the end of the following year I’d be different – thinner, more successful, happier, more rested, better known. This year I’m feeling good about who I am and the path I’m on. There are still habits I’m working to shift (see above) and days that I wish things would happen faster but it’s a relief to not feel desperate about change.

For 2014, as I hold my words close and begin my new practice I am keeping my heart open to the me that lives this life, day in, day out, with the disorganized desk, the cluttered inbox, the soft belly, and the strange resistance to making space for pleasure and creativity and enough sleep. Because that me, she’s doing the best she can and she’s worthy of my kindness and my love.

How have you begun your year? I’d love to know.

P.S. If you do have a word and want it to keep it close in tangible way, here are three wonderful options for you: Kelly Barton’s beautiful hand painted wood slice and Liz Lamoreux’s custom soul mantra necklaces or pocket talismans.

P.P.S. I’m excited to be back after my creative sabbatical and I’m working on a few changes behind the scenes. Stay tuned as I unveil them over the next weeks – I hope you’ll like them too!

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8 Responses to New Year, New Word, New Practice (same ol’ me)

  1. kelly barton says:

    i love stillness. the past couple of years i have worked to allow more slow down. to not feel that obligation to go to everything, everytime someone tells me i mush or should. and you know what – i am so much happier. so many nites i turn on the twinkle lights on my mantle and the ones in my dining room. yep, that is all it takes to get that breath to slow and my mind to ease.

    ps. thank you. really.

  2. Roos says:

    Another post that screams YOU. One that shows me why I love and admire you so much.

    You inspired me years ago to start thinking about a word for the year to come. This year it will be compassion. A soft and gentle word. A word for others instead of a word for me, and yet, because of that, even more for me.

    P.s. that’s one hell of a groovy side bar!!

  3. Annie Mac says:

    Happy New Year, and Happy New Practices! : )
    I wanted to point out that while I understand and think your blog title was clever and appropriate for the new year, it’s not accurate. I don’t think you are the “same ol’ me” at all! You have changed & learned & stretched, and I HOPE that you can see that in yourself.
    While I will (quite selfishly) miss your daily posts of Celebrations and Noticings, I am very, very happy for you that you chose a practice that will be much more helpful to you. YAY!! Good for you for not adding to your late night computering habits (I know that one!), which will encourage more sleep, and for choosing a practice that will really feed the well.
    You are fantastic, and I love you.

    • Alana says:

      Lovely Annie Mac. Thank you. I do recognize the growth and change in myself. What I mean by “same ol’ me” is that there’s no magical shift at midnight on Dec 31st – it’s still me, putting one foot in front of the other and growing at my own pace. And the celebration and noticing practices and posts were amazingly helpful to me (and I’m missing that daily check-in right now) but I have a goal of getting to a place where 4 nights out of the week, I’m off the computer after Ada goes to bed. A non-computer related practice seemed essential to help with that. 🙂

  4. Jeanette Visser says:

    Alana, may 2014 be your year of peace….. peace in your heart, peace in your home and peaceful moments in your every day life. Choosing a word as your mantra for a year is a new concept for me, but mine was whispered….. “Surrender” Mmmmmm, first it sounded like Give in, or Give Up, but thanks to your bite size life lessons, I tried not to resist, but sat with it, leaning into it…… So, maybe I need to surrender to the goodness in my life, to joy and love and getting older? Surrender instead of resisting? Will keep you posted 🙂 ( Your Year of Noticing made a huge difference in my life…. Thank you for all those late night postings! )

    • Alana says:

      Oh Jeanette – this makes me so happy! I think there’s beauty and power in surrender. I look forward to hearing more about your discoveries.

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