I was first introduced to The Alphabet of Now by one of my favorite bloggers, Lindsey Mead of A Design So Vast. It’s a fun way to take a snapshot of life, especially as we turn the page from one year to the next.
I’d love it if you joined me. Feel free to post your answers in the comments, or a link to your blog post if you write one. If you share on Facebook, please tag me so I can read it.
Wishing you a magical end to 2015 and may your new year be exactly what you need.
A: Ada, always. She is the light of my life and watching her grow is pure delight. She challenges me, teaches me, moves me. That she is in my life at all reminds me that each of us is a miracle.
B: Brother. We just came back from a week with my brother and his family. He is ridiculously smart, hilariously funny and always broadens my perspective on the world. I don’t see him often but I’m always grateful when our families get to spend time together.
C: Cozy. I’m craving coziness these days – whether it’s the warmth of my winter jacket against the chill in the air (yes, even here in California) or cuddling up on the couch to watch a movie with my two favorite people. Cozy is something I want more of in 2016 because to me, it also implies that there is time to enjoy and appreciate it.
D: Devotion. My word for 2016. It’s become a mantra that beats in time with my heart and is pulling me forward into this new year. Delicious was a close second for word of the year. I might have to spend some time devoted to delicious in 2016.
E: Excellence. When WebTalkRadio invited me to host a podcast, they provided me with a seasoned and very talented coach. She has been integral to the success of the podcast this year and she keeps pushing me toward excellence (without perfectionism). I am deeply grateful for her support.
F: Food. This fall we hired a personal chef (a single mama from our daughter’s school) to cook two meals a week for us. My husband is on the road so much that when it came to dinners, I found myself throwing together what I could as quickly as I could and it became very unsatisfying. It wasn’t terribly healthy either. It felt ridiculous at first because in my head, I knew I “should” be able to make a healthy meal every night. It was such a huge gift though, to have delicious food in the fridge and we’re actually saving money on take out and wasting less food.
G: Gratitude. It’s such a part of my life and my daily practice. I am always saying thank you and I could say it even more, especially to the people in my closest circles who do so much to make my life magical.
H: Happiness. I love my life and sometimes I fall into a trough of shoulds and end up carrying what feels like the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’m re-evaluating what’s on my plate and making a few changes so there’s more room for quiet afternoons, snuggles on the couch, visits or phone calls with friends and all the other things that make me happy.
I: Intentions. I don’t do goals or resolutions at the new year, but I do have clear intentions for my life and the direction I’m heading. I’m sitting with those today and wondering what 2016 will bring.
J: Joy. I’m saying yes to more joy this year. Every year. I think it’s always good to expand one’s capacity to experience joy.
K: Kindness. I remember realizing several years ago how my expectations of people, even strangers, affected my interactions with them. Because I expect people to be kind, they usually are. It makes life much easier and less stressful. And when people aren’t kind, I do my best to see them with compassionate eyes, even if those eyes are momentarily looking through a haze of anger.
L: Love. Laughter. Leggings. Because the first is fundamental to my world view, the second to my well being and the third to my comfort. ‘Nuff said.
M: Magic. I’ve long been a believer in the magic and mystery of the universe. The deeper I dive into it, the more magic shows up in my life.
N: Naturopath. I started seeing a naturopath a few months ago and she uncovered some health issues that I’d been feeling but no one else had been able to make sense of. I’m hopeful that working with her will finally ease some of the challenges I’ve experienced the last few years.
O: Ocean. Living near the ocean sustains me in so many ways. I breathe more deeply at her shore. I continue to be immeasurably grateful for her gifts, even as she scares me sometimes with her power. The beach is often my office and it’s where I go when I need perspective, answers and strength. And the sunsets remind me of all that is good and right in the world.
P: Practice. I’m deepening my devotion to my personal and spiritual practices and I can feel the positive effects in tangible and intangible ways. Practice is powerful. Practice is what leads to mastery.
Q: Questions. I realized at one point this year that I don’t ask enough questions of myself, of others, of life. I’m reigniting my curiosity and remembering that there is no dumb question if sincerely asked. It helps me stay in touch with my beginner’s mind and reminds me there’s always more to learn.
R: Reading. Reading has always been one of my greatest passions and there’s so little time for it in this full life of work and parenting and partnering. I’m doing my best to add it in where I can, even if that means listening to a book on tape in bits and pieces or having three books on the go that I can pick up and put down as necessary. (P.S. Have any favorites to recommend?)
S: Strength. I started exercising in new ways this year, in modified cross-fit or boot-camp style classes that I alternately hate and mildly dislike. Normally I dance, do yoga, walk or hike (and I still do those) but I got a little addicted to how much stronger my body felt from these workouts. I’m actually starting to enjoy them. Sometimes they’re too much and I don’t go – I can only push my body so far right now. There’s something about the discipline and focus that it takes to get through them that reminds of the ballet classes of my youth. And the drive to actually see my tricep muscles and do a full push up are fun motivators right now.
T: Trust. Always. Learning. Deepening. My life lesson is slowly becoming one of my superpowers.
U: Unknown. Even though I have dreams and desires I’m working toward, I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a vast unknown. I have a feeling this next year is going to bring some big challenges and even bigger gifts (like every year does). So here I stand, wings spread, ready to soar into the next chapter of this great adventure.
V: Violence and Vrai. As I contemplated the letter V, these are the two words I couldn’t shake. Violence because the world seems filled with it right now and vrai – French for true – because we all have to find what’s true for us in the midst of it. I refuse to live in fear and I acknowledge that fear lives in me. I see the violence and hold onto the belief that there are enough of us who wish to make the world a better, safer, kinder place that we will eventually reach a tipping point. I have to find my true place in the balance of darkness and light, of observation and action. So do you, n’est-ce pas?
W: Wishes. I have big wishes this year – for me, for those I love, for the world at large. I’m blowing dandelions and eyelashes and birthday candles and wishing on stars. And then I’m letting go, trusting that they’ll land where they need to.
X: (E)Xplore. At the urging of Jena and Cigdem over at The Inky Path, I’ve chosen Exploration as my writing word for 2016. I want to be more present here on the blog and the only way I can do that is to give myself time and space to write badly and explore the things I want to say privately first. The pressure to publish has kept me feeling stuck recently (along with much of my focus going to the podcast and client work). Writing feels as necessary as breathing to me, and yet it’s one of the first ways I shut myself down. This is the year of putting freedom back into my written words so I can find my way back to the practice of writing, the way back to that piece of my soul that feels lost and abandoned without it.
Y: Yes. I’m practicing saying yes again this year thanks to my friend Kiran over at Mystic Girl in the City. This means more discernment, more saying no, more space to feel whether something is really a yes before the word is voiced. I’m practicing a true yes, not an obligated yes or a thoughtless yes but a deep, delicious yes. This is a very real and sometimes painful challenge, but when I allow myself to focus on it, the magic increases a hundredfold.
Z: Zzzzzzz’s. I’m still working on getting enough sleep, particularly since I’m getting up earlier to create space for my practices before the day begins. Years of not enough rest have caught up to me (along with those previously mentioned health issues) and sleep has become even more important. I don’t regret the years of sleep-deprivation when my daughter was young and I’m doing my best to counter their effects now.
What’s your Alphabet of Now? I’d love to know.