I have always been a lover of words. Stories, poems, lyrics…the power of words has been visceral for me at times in my life.
I remember a young woman in a bookstore. I see her, a faltering but determined artist-at-heart, reading Letters from a Young Poet by Rainier Maria Rilke for the first time. I swooned in the aisle as his words fell off the page and into my heart. That was me.
Words can pulsate with inspiration, and shatter in heartbreak. They resonate in light and dark. Words have the power to shift, change and even sever. Sometimes…it’s just one word.
I have explored words through creative and business writing; through poetry, songwriting, journaling and collaging. I’m not much of a visual artist, drawing or painting doesn’t come naturally. But in words, I find endless interest, exploration and alchemy. My human experience is intertwined with the creative life force of words.
And so, choosing a Word of The Year…it’s a big deal!
You may have heard of this concept, Word of the Year (WOTY). If not, let me explain. You intentionally choose a word or words, at the beginning of a new year. You choose them because they express what you want to create more of in the 365 unsullied days ahead. Instead of (or perhaps in addition to) goal setting and/or resolutions, choosing your WOTY can be like choosing the energy you want to embody as you dream of, create and navigate the year ahead. It can be a sign post on your journey. It can be an anchor during the storms which inevitably will come. It can be the thought or mantra that brings you back to your center.
I’m a sucker for new beginnings, a fresh start, closing one door so that I can open the next. I think it comes from moving around so much as a kid. My Dad was a wanderer. We moved about every two years and so I became an expert at fresh starts (not willingly). I was extremely shy so those first days at a new school, were painful. But it did create perfect circumstances for reinvention which I wholeheartedly embrace. I love Mondays, New Moons and New Years Day for this very reason.
Even when it's scary as hell, there's something exciting and invigorating about a fresh start. Firstly, looking back at all that’s behind you: how far you’ve come, how crazy things got, how time stood still and yet the year was gone in an flash. Despite everything…you did some things! And then you slowly turn your head to face forward. What’s next? Like taking in an early morning sunrise, feeling the cool air warm under the sun burgeoning rays. Possibility and promise live here.
The work I've done in recovery for the past 11 years has given me new insights to uncertainty and that liminal space that precedes a pivot or leap. When I practice living in the present moment, the future and the "how-the-heck-are-you-going-to-get-there", isn’t so daunting. Or maybe it’s knowing that I am capable of change. I am resilient and I can endure. No matter what life hands me, I can hold it and handle it, and still dream up my constantly evolving life. Choosing a word at the beginning of every year has been intuitive exercise. Sometimes, the word has chosen me, and it’s taken time to understand why. Mysterious forces these words can be!
Some years, I’ve gone for multiple words, maybe because I couldn’t decide between a few. Last year, my first word refused to get in the car without her friends.
Coherence. As I understood it, when all the arrows are pointing in the same direction. I needed some of that. Congruence meaning harmony made Coherence even more potent. And of course, without Integrity, it all falls apart. Those were my three words of 2023. They sounded lofty. By mid-year, they felt even loftier.
I struggled with grief, with being pulled in all sorts of directions. I struggled with saying yes when I should have said no, and no when I should have said yes. I had a shifting landscape underneath my feet. And resentment bubbled up like never before. These three words, even though I put them through their paces at the beginning of the year, were like shadows moving in and out of my periphery. Now, as the final days of December lumber by, I understand the role my words played. Despite feeling like I wasn’t living up to the expectations of these words some of the time, I see now, the guidance that they offered. You might be like me (like most humans) and want any change you are dreaming up to happen quickly. A slow, plodding change is never as thrilling. But as I ponder my intentions and the words that expressed them at the beginning of 2023, I realize that I created and lived in congruence, coherence, and integrity much of the year. Even when the pieces of my life felt like they’d never come back together, they slowly are. There is a thread running through all of it, made stronger by this work, and I’m grateful to recognize that now.
If any of what I have shared here resonates...if you are inspired tap into the power of words, I have an invitation. I’m starting a new 10-week program in January, focused on helping you to align, embody, and integrate your specific intention and WOTY into 2024.
With trauma-informed yoga & mindful movement; journaling & self-inquiry; connection & community, Empowered 2024 will help you to anchor into what means the most in your recovery and life, so that you can journey with intention and purpose throughout the year, no matter what life brings.
The program includes:
Trauma-informed yoga and mindful movement practices (six of them) with me on Saturdays; live on Zoom at 9AM pacific, 12PM eastern; recorded in case you miss a live session.
Sharing & Integration Circles for inspiration and support (January 13, February 3 and March 2)
Monthly worksheets featuring self-inquiry exercises, journal prompts and inspiration to anchor in to your WOTY, create & practice presence and build energetic resonance.
Music inspiration (three themed Spotify playlists)
An intimate community of women empowering women.
My goal is to EMPOWER you to:
Explore and create meaning and intention for the coming new year
Integrate and embody your WOTY/intentions in a more holistic and tangible way
Impact the way you make choices, take action and navigate recovery and life in 2024
Connect with an intimate group of transforming women creating their lives in real-time
We begin on January 11th (the New Moon in Capricorn) and our first Zoom session is on January 13th. We finish our magic on March 19th.
It's $199USD for the program. Please note that sliding scale price options are available! Don’t hesitate to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if this could be supportive for you!
And if you're interested in checking out a conversation between a fab client/soul-sister and I chatting about WOTY, check out this LIVE recorded last week. Tami is a true warrior and I'm in awe at all she has managed to hold in 2023. I'm so excited she'll be back for Empowered 2024. Look for an upcoming convo with EBR member Maria, another amazing woman who made big changes in 2023! If you haven't already, please join me on instagram @expand.beyond.recovery
Any questions? Reach out! If this sounds like a perfect way to start your year, click on EMPOWERED to register!
Thank you for being here with me this year. It's been an inspiring and challenging year. Being in this space, sharing it with you has been part of my expansion and growth in 2023.
I am wishing you peace, big love and all the vibes this holiday season!