Even though new year’s day is just another day, I still like to honour the newness of it. Starting a new year like a clean slate might feel completely arbitrary, but there’s something to it as well. At the end of each year, it can feel good, cathartic even, to come full circle and finish a specific chapter. And it gives us a sense of purpose too, to look at each new year as a fresh start. It is a time to check in with yourself and think about your goals and dreams.
As I have written in last year’s post, I am not huge on the idea of new year’s resolutions. I don’t have some grand plans or things I want to change, other than the plans I’ve already made a while ago and the things I’m continuously working on.
But I do have intentions. I like to start off the new year with some notion of what I’m going to focus on. Sometimes it’s certain things I want to practice or do. Last year, I had six such things. In hindsight, that was a bit much. Which is also okay, because 2018 was all about self-discovery. But this year, I chose to stick to only one intention. A state of being, symbolised by one word for the year.
Intuitively choosing my word of the year
I have to admit that the idea to choose one word for the year didn’t come from me. At the end of December, I downloaded a reflection workbook from Susannah Conway. A few pages in, she asks to come up with a word to guide you through the year. Something that is encouraging, inspiring, and reminds you of what’s important. One word to encompass all these things. No pressure!
Initially, upon reading this assignment, I thought of the things that will be high on my to-do list for this year. Yoga. Meditation. Studying. Starting a new job. Starting a yoga business. It is my aim to get back into the flow of daily life, after retreating from it for about a year.
The only problem is that these things I mentioned above are just things I’m planning to do. They don’t encapsulate what I hope to get out of this year. If you really think about these words, they don’t mean all that much. Okay, maybe studying and learning refer to a state of being as well as to things to do. But they weren’t feeling quite right.
One thing I’ve learned in the past year, is to observe and know the difference between the stories my mind comes up with, and the messages from my intuition. These things were hard to distinguish at first, but they actually feel different. When your intuition gives you a message, the whole body agrees. There is a deep knowing, even if you cannot explain it rationally.
The only thing you need to do to access your intuition is to allow it to speak. Intuitive messages show up in moments of solitude and stillness. They stop by in the few moments that your mind is quiet, knowing that only then there is a safe space without judgment.
My word for the year came up in such a moment of solitude and stillness. On the day after Christmas I was meditating and out of the blue, a word came into my awareness. This word was “trust” and it was met with my body’s confirmation. Of course, one of my reactions was to undermine this intuitive message, and critically analyse why it made no sense at all. What about all the learning and studying? Weren’t they fun and good suggestions? At least those words made logical sense.
But as I tried to nominate the word “study” for word of the year instead, I could almost hear my intuition laughing at me. The word “trust” was non-negotiable. It had to be my word for the year. I had to concede.
In all fairness, cultivating trust actually makes a lot of sense. In 2018 I finally learned to deal with my panic attacks. But that doesn’t mean I never feel any anxiety anymore. And it also doesn’t mean that I feel 100% confident about myself at all times. Quite the opposite.
Over the past year, I realised that all of my worries, distractions, insecurities and neurotic habits are a result of my lack of trust. Trust in myself and my capabilities, trust in other people, trust in the planet and the universe. It’s like there is another tiny person inside of me who always needs to be in control of whatever happens. As if this tiny person has access to a secret control room in my brain where it can actually influence what other people think and how world politics will develop.
All the while, all I really want is to let go. To slide through life. To surrender fully. Trust.
Learning to let go
Trust is a fitting word for the year, because it is a fitting word for my life. I have intimately gotten to know my fear, yet there is still more that I can learn to embrace. I’m still learning to consciously bow to every experience.
And letting go has always been hard for me. But learning how to let go has been even harder. I’ve always thought that letting go is a verb. Something you actively have to do, as if you’re pushing something away and saying “look at me letting go!”. But that’s not how letting go goes.
One thing I took from a therapist last year, is that letting go is not about actively letting things go. It’s about allowing things to let go of you. Imagine holding a pen in the fist of your hand. What happens when you relax your hand? The pen drops to the floor. Not because you make it drop, but because you give gravity the opportunity to do its work. That’s what letting go is. It’s ceasing to hold on. Trusting that things will let go of you.
There is so much wisdom in this, but I can still cultivate this more fully. I’ve started to firm my grip on life somewhere in my early teenage years and my body is only now starting to learn how to relax. It takes time to learn how to trust fully. But it is the natural state of being, if you allow it to be.
The year ahead
So trust is my reminder to myself. Letting go of worries about my body. Feeling more secure about money and my health. Having confidence in my abilities as a person and as a friend. Not worry as much about my friendships. Not worry as much about all of my relationships. Trusting myself to show up on my mat every day. Letting people make their own decisions instead of controlling them. Trusting that life will provide me with opportunities for growth. Trusting that I will learn the lessons I need to learn. Letting go of expectations from others. Trusting my body to take deep breaths. Trusting the universe to take care of me. Sliding through life instead of holding on. All of these things, without force. Simply letting go.
There’s a lot more I would like to cultivate this year. A renewed sense of wonder. The discipline to study and to focus. Deep inner work.
But 2019 already feels more focused than the past year. And trust really says it all. I can write down these things and let them go straight away, trusting that I will work on them. No need to check in with myself or actively pursuing my goals.