January 05, 2015

Softening into 2015

...and goodbye forever, 2014!

It doesn't feel right to say that 2014 was a crappy year, even though I really want to. I did wonderful things; I got to see my best friend twice in two months (take that, distance and crazy different schedules!), saw Andrew McMahon in concert again,

taught some fun cooking classes, took many easy hikes in the woods with J and Tucker,

rescued a pigeon, a cat, and then a dog that was about to be run over on a middle-of-nowhere highway road,

Tucker with Asheron, who now lives with her forever family and is renamed Tovah

But, it was all those in-betweens that really started to wear me out, which culminated with a bad sinus cold, a bout of the flu, and a pair of very tired adrenals once the holidays were over. I'm not used to catching colds (and flus). Even when I'm fatigued to the max, I still manage to fight it off. I can thank my diet for much of my luck health-wise, but we can't forget that diet isn't a cure-all. A healthy body depends on much more than just what we eat. I've talked about this many times on here, but I feel that I need to reiterate.

My health was suffering, so I made a plan. I'm becoming a pro at making these action plans. I took note of the things that I'd like to change and also of the things I couldn't change and would have to manage. I noticed how my body reacted to what I did/said/thought/felt, and followed my intuition.

There is something to the idea that when you open yourself up to answers, you will find what you need. I've been following Susannah Conway's blog for years now, but had never participated in her "Find Your Word" email class. This year, I decided to participate. Feeling confident that I knew which words would make it to the final round, I was completely blind-sided by another choice, one that I couldn't imagine choosing for myself initially: SOFTEN.

There was no denying how strongly I was drawn to the word. I did some journaling exercises and felt even more assured that this was to be my word of 2015. I settled in to the word and noticed that in my everyday life, I found myself whispering, "soften," in my head to help me in various situations.

To me, soften has to do with learning to be flexible with life's happenings, being fluid like water (going with the flow), learning to harness power from unlikely places. I am finding endless other applications for this word in my life. I feel at home in this word, and will carry it with me through the year, or until I no longer find it useful.

In a similar vein, I randomly decided to embark on a "100 days of meditation" challenge for myself. Around Christmastime, I was growing more anxious and overwhelmed with unexpected responsibilities and my inability to do it all because of my dip down in health. One day, I retreated to a quiet, dark room and anointed myself with essential oils (Christmas gift!). I sat down, crossed my legs, and started to meditate. A weird thing happened when I finished. Without any forethought, I posted a picture on my Instagram and hashtagged it #100daysofmeditation #day1.

#100daysofmeditation #day1

Let me interject here by giving you the brief history meditation and me. I've succeeded in incorporating every healing modality that I felt was necessary for my healing except for meditation. I've tried many times, including setting an intention here, and failed. It never stuck. Luckily, I didn't let that feeling of failure stop me from trying again (and again and again.)

I don't know what will happen this time, but I feel good about this. When my mind wanders, I gently bring myself back to center. When I have company, I happily carve out time for my meditation. I get anxious and want to move, and instead take a deep breath and restart my visualizations. Despite these discomforts, I continue to move ahead. It feels right to me, necessary, nourishing. I like having meditation in my life.

I can't help but attribute the success of my new habit to two things: necessity and my word, soften. Life was feeling so crazy, so out of control, so uncertain, that I could either let the overwhelm swallow me whole or do something to change my feelings. Necessity was where it began. Carrying the word "soften" deep in the recesses of my heart is what is keeping it in motion.

I'm feeling pretty thankful for the rough edges of 2014 because it appears to be leading me in a beautiful direction.

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