My one little word for 2011
My one little word for 2011 was thrive. It sounded so upbeat when I chose it in January, so harmless, so optimistic, so healthy! I imagined abundance in every part of my life– thriving in my relationship with my husband, thriving in my body, thriving in our financial life. I suppose I didn’t think it through completely. Perhaps it was magical thinking? I must have assumed that I would simply wake up one day and just be thriving, simply because I declared it so… without having to do anything in particular!
What I didn’t realize is that when I chose this adorable little word, that I needed to be prepared to lose everything– have everything be tossed in the air and end up in a big, messy pile on the floor –waiting to be put back together.
It has been fascinating to witness; how each part of my life systematically fell apart one by one. In January, my son Ben’s health got to crisis point and after many doctor’s visits and tests, we finally found him the medication he has needed for years. In spring, we had, er, a bit of a cash flow crisis. Yikes! This was our big wake-up call and inspired us to finally clean up our finances, look at what we were spending and make a plan to save.
Soon after, even my business got turned upside down and I realized that I had been ignoring the truth about that for a long time too– that there were changes that needed to be made and new dreams that needed to be dreamed up for my creative businesses. Out of that came a brand new photography e-course that I launched this summer that is making me really happy. I’m feeling truly alive and inspired in my work again. It seems that in order to thrive, everything had to break and be put back together again.
Trusting the Mess
But how can we trust the mess? How do we have faith when it’s all falling apart? It’s hard to keep going sometimes, especially when it looks like we’ve failed, that the mess is too big to clean up, or that we somehow blew it.
But you know what helped me?
My one little word.
That little word, thrive.
When I took a helicopter view of my life– even while it was unraveling this year– I saw one thing very clearly– that I was manifesting a life where my family and I would THRIVE. Hilariously, we even switched to Kaiser this year. This one little word kept it all in perspective, gave me faith that there was a bigger picture here, that I was part of a larger story. Most importantly, it reminded me that I had power, that I had a hand in how that story unfolded.
There is a story Ann Lamott tells in one of her books that I have always loved. She tells it below:
“Carolyn Myss, the medical intuitive who writes and lectures about why people don’t heal, flew to Russia a few years ago to give some lectures. Everything that could go wrong did — flights were cancelled or overbooked, connections missed, her reserved room at the hotel given to someone else. She kept trying to be a good sport, but finally, two mornings later, on the train to her conference on healing, she began to whine at the man sitting beside her about how infuriating her journey had been thus far.
It turned out that this man worked for the Dalai Lama. And he said, gently, that they believe when a lot of things are going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born-and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.”
My one little word has been a gift– it has been a way that I held myself and my family more gently this year, with more compassion and more faith. It is a lens through which I glimpsed a truer story– that no matter how messy life gets, we are going to be more than okay on the other side; that we can trust what life hands us… and that sometimes when things fall apart, it’s just that something big and lovely is trying to get itself born.
In case you missed it
If you haven’t had a chance to download the “Complete Your Year” Worksheet, you can still find it here! And there is still room in the January Mondo Beyondo session. Just leave a comment and you’ll receive the secret coupon code.