For 2015, I am choosing three new words: Responsibility, Acceptance, and Wonder. They spell RAW, so that is easy for me to remember. RAW RARA (my initials)!
I write each word/quality on a 3x5 card and keep it on my desk where I rotate through them, mixing them in with other vows I have taken and what I call “soul reminders.” I keep the words as a screensaver on my computer. I breathe them in as a way to fortify myself and weave in new qualities, as if I can insert them into my bones, the very marrow of my life and being. I still feel last year’s words: Balance. Spaciousness. Grace. Responsibility seems a heavy word at first. Wasn’t I overly-responsible as the child of an alcoholic, becoming controlling and judgmental, unable to let go? True. But I have a different understanding of responsibility now: Able to Respond. The ability to respond to all that life throws at me. To respond to all that life gives me in the way of opportunity and AFGOs. We often talk about AFGOs in coaching, a handy acronym for Another F**king Growing Opportunity. I don’t always welcome them when they arrive though after awhile (sometimes a long while), I am grateful for their appearance in my life.
Acceptance has always been a hard one for me. I’ve often tried to move directly from Awareness and straight into Action, bypassing Acceptance altogether. It doesn’t usually work out. What does Acceptance actually mean anyway?
In a new book I got for Christmas, Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being by Linda Graham, she defines Acceptance as “coming to terms with what is or has been, so that you can cope going forward.” Ahhhh . . . . that makes more sense. Acceptance is like getting back up on my paddle board after I’ve lost my balance, without first dousing myself in a torrent of judgment and regret. Instead: Ooops, I fell off, now I’m in the water. It’s wet. Okay. How shall I continue?
Lastly, and perhaps my favorite: Wonder. I use the word “wonderful” quite a lot but I don’t always stop to consider the true meaning of the word. Full of wonder. Like a child who sees a bird nesting for the first time. Or an adult watching the sunrise as it illuminates the sky one more day. Louie Schwartzberg’s video on Gratitude is a wonder-full reminder.
I also like a picture I have on my desk of a bear on his hind legs, looking up, surrounded by butterflies. The artist, Robert Bissell writes: “Butterflies and bears are a common theme in my work. The idea of looking up for guidance and the contrast of the lightness of butterflies with the weight of the bears is what interests me. As a child, the untouched summer meadow, full of life and vibrancy is what I remember as being as close to paradise as I could possibly imagine. At those times, all troubles and worries would fall away and a kind of release was felt.”
May you find your own words that have meaning and value to you for 2015. Happy New Year!