Here we are, the last of the December Reflections prompts. I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and expansion of using these little nudges to write every day. I know I said that I’d be going back to my regular posting schedule when these were through, but I’m already looking at at a new daily prompt exercise that I plan to start mid-January! So if you wanted to hear less from me… sorry. I do plan to take the first few weeks of January a bit slower (I will still be posting, just not every day).
Last year was the first year that I participated in Susannah Conway‘s 5 day journaling exercise to choose a word for the year. My word for 2015 was Linger, because I wanted to learn to slow down and savor life. I had the word as my phone wallpaper, and it was a constant reminder to stop and enjoy, to linger over life. Mid-way through the year, I found myself more frequently turning down plans, in favor of quiet but impactful, time at home with my family. I found myself saying yes to requests for train track building, even when laundry was piling up. I began to enjoy pulling weeds, because it gave me time to linger over the garden. I indulged in reading and knitting without guilt, because I knew that I was lingering over things that I enjoyed. I plan to continue this slow appreciation of life, even though it is time for my word to change.
Going into the journaling exercises this year, I thought I already knew what my word would be. After so much pain and heartbreak, I thought that I needed to nurture myself. I found myself initially drawn towards self-care words like nurture, tend and soothe. However, as I went through the exercises, exploring what I wanted out of the year to come, I realized that I needed a very different sort of word. A word which is often underrated. I realized that in 2016, what I want most of all, is JOY.
Initially, I dismissed JOY as being a weak word. I felt that it lacked the substance that linger had, and it lacked the comfort called up by words like nurture, tend and soothe. But JOY is more powerful a word than I think many give it credit for. It has been stitched onto one too many Christmas stockings, and is now a word we tend to pass over. However, if you consider what JOY actually means, it’s so much more than a simple Hallmark go-to. JOY is unbridled happiness. It is glee, without restraint. In order to feel JOY, one must be fully open, one must be free of emotional burden. You cannot be JOYFUL and dismayed. You cannot be JOYFUL and afraid. No, indeed when one is JOYFUL, that is all they are. Hence the saying, “pure joy”. JOY is pure. It is all encompassing.
I may find myself calling upon the comforts of tend and nurture as I move through 2016. It will be through taking care of myself and lingering over the things which make me happy, that I expect to find my way to JOY. But find my way, I will.
And so, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a very Happy New Year. In 2016, may you find exactly what you’re looking for.
P.S. – The fun little grouping of items you see above is my Word of the Year Alchemy Kit, from WishStudio!
P.P.S. – It’s not too late to choose a word of your own for 2016! If you’re interested in following the same path that I did, find Susannah Conway’s free course here.