Each year my husband and I enjoy asking each other this question, “what is your word of the year?” I suppose it’s grown out of or in resistance from forming New Year’s resolutions. For some reason, one word offers an umbrella or a container to help suggest and guide as we continue the path of the great unknown. Some of my words of past years were: ease, ballsy, connection, alignment and evolve. At the end of the year I take time to reflect on the word and notice how it has offered quiet wisdom or introspection into events, experiences and relationships. It’s fun. I encourage you to swap some of your “lose 20 pounds” or “run a marathon” resolutions for something that doesn’t invest itself in a measurable result. Let it come to you from your heart and ensure that it’s both practical and mystical.
This year my word is “story.”
It came to me first as the word “read.” I want to make more time daily to read all the books on my bookshelf that have been waiting for my attention for years – and I do like the thought of me sitting on my couch instead of looking at it as I busy around. Yet as I probed deeper the word “story” came to me and gave me pause and affirmation. I want to listen to the stories of my children. They are living a whole different childhood than what I lived in the 70’s. The other night they wanted Tom and I to watch youtube rewind…it was a visual and musical story of 2017. I learned a few things about pop culture that tells a unique story of their generation – the song Despacito was a hit and a game about hot lava?!? When I listen to their stories I learn about them and the culture they are growing up in – it makes me feel less anxious, judgy and more trusting and accepting and…wondering. I mean, I grew up in a time when people littered their McDonalds burger wrappers out of their gas guzzling station wagons and smoking was still a thing and #me too.
And, I think that I have great stories to share when I choose to live life fully, wholly and authentically. When I am courageous and trusting in the moment my stories have the potential to inspire, uplift, connect and help make this world a better place.
As far as yoga practice goes well, there’s a story or two there. I want to teach and practice yoga as if I’m telling a story or reading one – beyond the mechanics or the grammar of yoga there is an unfolding story that shows up on the mat. Characters set out on a journey, finding their unique path, slaying dragons along the way, shedding the armor that shields them from their true self. There are adventures waiting for us all and new paths unfolding. There are people and places to connect to and to build relationships with that can not only uplift our spirits and raise the vibration of ourselves but of our collective human consciousness. Yoga practice is designed to tap our creativity and imagination. With practice all is coming…stories reveal themselves in ordinary and extraordinary ways.Oh, and how about the story I need to stop telling? My wise friend Helen suggested this practice for me-to think about that story that keeps replaying itself and taking up way too much air space. There was a story I kept telling myself and those around me called, “I’m not enough.” It’s a sad, pity-inviting epic that sucked the peace and joy right out of me..I carried around volumes of it until I finally felt heavy with doubt and exhaustion. So I finally decided no more! I put that story on the shelf and haven’t visited it since. So, another question you may want to ask yourself is, “what is the story I need to stop telling?”
Yoga is not a bunch of poses to achieve or to acquire. Yoga has scope, sequence, arching character developments, chapters upon chapters of practice and process, of adventure and transformation, of falling and flying, of ego and of cosmic realization. We can have access to new and perhaps untold stories of our consciousness if we open and allow the beauty and depth of yoga prose and poetry.
As a yoga community I hope we continue to open ourselves up in conversation and connection to learn about one another through our stories of challenge, surrender, courage and humility. I hope we continue to know the value of self-inquiry into our heart’s longing and sharing with honesty into each other’s eyes, listening to more than our words but to the heartfelt tale of our souls’ desire for peace, unity and wholeness.
What’s your word of 2018?
Happy New Year to you and so much gratitude to all of you for your presence and light at Bainbridge Yoga House.