And my word of the year is...
... not especially poetic. Like, "beauty", or "connection", or "courage", of "self care".
In fact, it even ignores one of my guidelines for setting intention, which is to declare what you DO want, not what you don't.
Yet, after shuffling through a few good candidates, and learning from my teacher Katy Bowman, that sometimes we have to release chronic holding patterns before we can find our true alignment, this is the word made the most sense for now. That being:
Yes. The process of eliminating toxins.
Toxins being those things not in alignment with our design which can make us sick ... or, even at low cumulative levels, disrupt or inhibit our natural life processes.
Which eventually will make us sick.
Nourishment is all well and good, but a body with gunked up and overburdened organs can't assimilate nutrients and support that body in an effective way.
A soul with deep rooted stories about its worthlessness wouldn't be able to internalize all the sincerest affirmations in the world.
A favorite internet voice of mine, author Jen Louden, recently asked a compelling question:
"What would 2018 look like if you stayed on your own side entirely, no matter what?"
(She does not include this article on her site, so if you'd like to read it, let me know, and I'll forward it to ya. It's lovely...)
It was this question that determined my settling on this word, as all the ways I've NOT been on my own side had becoming a recurring observation as of late.
As in, all the ways I've been blocking or postponing my own well-being and life expression, and how that lack of expression has been turning inward to ferment and poison. (Interestingly, in Chinese Medicine, the Liver - being a major detoxifying organ of the body - holds also the energy of self-expression and creativity.)
Here's my short list (and maybe you have yours...)
- Getting all the housework/chores done before I work on my own business projects (which I, surprisingly, always seem to run out of time for)
- Signing up for emails that I don't have time to read, thereby transforming my inbox into its own time-sucking project
- Eating foods out of convenience or politeness that I know will make me feel yucky
- Holding back from saying/writing something potentially controversial that might 'offend', even if it comes from my heart with good intention (and then mistrusting my intention)
- Neglecting my own body mechanics or energy levels in order to accommodate clients
- Imbibing in a glass of wine at the end of the day to gain temporary relief from the anguish of all of the above. And then another. And then another...
- And then, beating myself up for not doing a damn thing differently. Again.
It's that last point that echoed in Jen's post.
"I am writing the second draft of my memoir and one pattern has emerged that is so painful to see: I spent a lot of my time being far too hard on myself. Even cruel. Seeing scenes emerge on the page where I was absolutely certain I was too dumb, too unlovable, too whatever, to do or have what I wanted, has brought me to my knees many times.
Of course, it wasn't just being hard on myself that was painful, it was also the resulting isolation, the dreams I gave up on because of the self-criticism, and the weeks lost to depression. (Bold face mine.)
I thought that being hard on myself was how I motivated myself. Turns out, that's how you demotivate yourself. How you increase your anxiety and the feeling of being a fraud."
Does this feel familiar? Did you just whisper a silent 'Yeah, me too...'?
It's helpful, I guess, to know we're not alone.
Still, the heavy lifting work that only we can do still lies ahead of us - to challenge and purge those stories and change the script.
Her article goes on with examples of rephrasing those conversations with self in a more loving, compassionate way (like what we might say to our best friend were she abusing herself so).
But, the truth is, detoxification in any form is hard. We adapt to the poison. We may even become dependent upon it, even as it slowly drains away our life force.
Our relationships become based on what we feed ourselves, and how we process our life experiences. To become healthy is to change EVERYTHING.
Byron Katie asks, "Who would you be without those thoughts? Without those stories?"
As much as we yearn to lay down the self-destruction and purge ourselves of what's making us ill, tired, heavy, less than the bright, beautiful, creative beings we are meant to be, the demons we give quarter to are known. Familiar and safe.
Indeed, who would we be without those stories?
Detoxing is a leap of faith. Faith that your body and soul still have enough substance and resilience to withstand the process itself, as well as that the results - no matter what - will have been worth the struggle (which will be life-long...)
For many, it takes a hitting of rock bottom - waking up to the reality that there's no where else to go but up, or into the grave - to finally find the resolve to purge.
For me, it's only been felt as an emerging, gnawing discomfort and frustration, tinged with occasional anxiety and depression. (Plus, a recent incident in which I totally choked during a corporate presentation. You wanna talk about cruel and scathing self-criticism, held up as proof that I. Totally. Suck. I almost quit my practice that day. How I managed to turn it around within the next hour as a 'learning experience' could only be described as an act of grace.)
I'm a youthful 51 years old in many ways. In others, I feel so much older, with obsessive thoughts about how little time I have left on this planet.
Another toxic story to jettison or reframe? Yeah, probably...
My desire for this year is not just for myself to clear the blocks, purge the toxic habits and stories.
Because if you find yourself in these words, and you have the courage to detox as well, maybe we can support and encourage each other. Maybe together we can make this year the one in which we emerge healthy, whole and shining, and a living expression of Who We Really Are.
I'm convinced the world cannot wait another minute for this. (But, hey, no pressure... ;)