2017 word of the year emerges

In acknowledgement of the power of words and the vibrations they carry, it’s become a popular practice to choose a guiding theme word for the coming year.

An intention, an aspiration. A declaration, really.

Last year, my word was courage - which it probably could be every year, given that it takes such courage to be in human form, going forth as a mortal, armed only with a precarious balance of knowing and not knowing.

Maybe better would be the phrase, “Give me courage to (be/do/have) _______” … requesting help to embody the quality that speaks to you, be it love, compassion, beauty, grace, simplicity, clarity, in a world that tries to confuse, muddy, defile and complicate.

Otherwise, why would you even need a word?

So, the word for 2017 that emerged for me was, well…



As in, “the process of coming into view”, or “the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent”.

Coming into being. Doesn’t that sound powerful? Bearing a ring of rightness? But requiring courage?

I don’t think there’s really any beginning or end to such a process. Nor that it's particular to me.

What is particular to me, why this word resonates probably has a lot to do with turning fifty last September, completing my certification as a personal trainer this February, and moving forward in my post-divorce life.

Even more, I’m desiring to emerge as a conscious business woman in a climate that will require all of us - women and men - to step up and take personal responsibility for our roles and impact in ‘how the world is’.

Being the change we want to see, and all that.

However, I was gently reminded recently that it’s not always so easy to just… emerge and be visible. For the unpracticed, wielding visibility is a skill.

Recently, I experimented with the art of intentional visibility. I learned two things:

1) Intending to be attractive is attractive.
2) If you intend to be attractive, you should probably be prepared for what you will attract.

I humbly learned (or was reminded) that wielding visibility with grace is a skill. And one that I often lacked.

On this occasion, I was met with a challenge.

On the surface, it was a small, inconsequential challenge, but one that unnervingly knocked me right back to my 7th grade Valentine's Day dance - feeling awkward, self-conscious, doubtful. Exposed. My brain echoed an age-old scolding question that I picked up from God knows where: “Just who do you think you are?”, and I couldn't disappear into the wall far enough.

Not fun. And not becoming of someone who really wants to take her gifts to the next level.

It was shockingly clear that I still live is a state of seeking approval, of seeking permission to say my piece, or take up space.

Of that whole 'taking up space' thing, Rolfer Sukie Baxter wrote that it "is an act of subversion".

That women have been trained to 'deflate' or diminish themselves in size and presence to fit the cultural mold.

And Gena Thomashauer, founder of Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts wrote that women have learned to converse and connect primarily on a level of negativity: sharing the aches, pains, trials and tribulations, but rarely proclaiming and celebrating their victories and successes to one another, supposedly out of fear of bragging or diminishing the other woman.

Essentially, covering up our contributions and radiance - the direct opposite of emerging.

I share these gender-based observations with some hesitation because I know that both men and women deal with the very real and very spiritual challenges of how to come into being in a positive, supportive, life-affirming way.

Very few of us know how to express our power in a healthy manner perhaps because we don't truly understand what power is or where it comes from.

We seem to be either all about the rights or all about the responsibility, but miss grasping the fluid dynamic and inextricable nature of both.

Emergence for me personally will mean trusting my years of experience - as a bodyworker, mother, woman, human; trusting my intentions; and trusting my relationship with God enough to show up and speak up without letting the fears that I’m being rude, inappropriate, insensitive, or (gasp!) wrong paralyze me.

Of course, I will be all of those things some times.

Emergence means that if I do upset someone with my words or actions, I can claim what responsibility for that upset is actually mine and let the rest be their lesson.

As children of God, I believe we are all called to emerge, to come into being.

I believe we can sense this, but it unfolds in weird ways. Or we try to stifle it, depending on our beliefs about power and presence. Or what we understand our ‘being’ to be.

We diminish by playing nice, sucking in the gut, breathing less, depleting ourselves to serve everyone else. Or we try to expand: aggressive driving, man spreading, being a ‘bitch’, achieving at the expense of others.

We long to be visible, to be seen, to be witnessed. To be in community. Testament to the internet and social media, yes?

This is another lesson I’m learning. I’ve been trying to go it alone for way too long. I enjoy solitude when I can come by it, but to be visible means that you have to be seen. By others.


Getting that visibility is risky business, one has to ask herself, what is truly at risk by choosing to emerge ... or not.

So, my friends, who is willing to emerge with me in the coming year? How can we help one another find courage to come into the fullness of our Being?

What does emergence mean for you?

Ponder this while observing a most lovely and miraculous manifestation of emergence: