Every January for the last 6 years, rather than make resolutions, I have been choosing three words as intentions for the coming year. I use these words as morning affirmations – every day. I use these words as passwords on my electronic medical record system. This way, every day, several times a day, I am reminded of my intention and what I want to focus on during the year. Or at least until I modify my three words – my mantra.
These affirmations help me direct my life on the path I choose to live.
For many years, my path was directed by society, by family, by expectations. I was just following in footsteps. That is often how we begin our life. We learn to walk and begin our lives by following our role models, our family, peer pressure, the news. The elementary school curriculum for social studies: year by year, children learn first about themselves, then immediate family, then community, then city, state, country and world. We start inward and then grow as beings living in the world at large.
Our society frequently forgets to teach children how to continually turn inward and stay in their own body and own mind and evolve in a way that’s meaningful and befitting to their special, unique person. Instead, we teach how to belong to community, which often means conforming to fit in – into the norm. The outliers and the misfits are often relegated to the edges and teased, mocked and ridiculed.
And yet as adults, those who stay true to their inner selves and don’t blend in are often the ones who experiment with what it means to be different. They become celebrated artists, musicians, inventors, leaders and DISRUPTORs who innovate, blaze new trails and propel our society forward.
We can choose to follow the well-worn path that others before us have taken or we can choose our own individual journey. We can define our dash, based on the philosophy of the dash poem, in a way that feels right to us.
How many of us chose our career or college major because it was practical rather than because it spoke to our soul. Or a parent nudged us in that direction. How do we then pivot to fill our soul and remain true to our dreams and desires while still participating in our life and our present roles. It can take time to steer a big ship, but we can vector into new waters, inch by inch.
We all need to turn inward to define who we are and who we want to be.
I encourage everyone to sit still each morning and evening, breathe deeply, and meditate. Take time to just sit and be. Listen to your body and your mind and your soul.
Who are you?
What do you want?
What is your passion?
Set an intention for how you want to live your day, month and year. Write your dreams and then create concrete action steps to turn your dreams into goals. You may be an accountant who works with numbers all day, but deep down you are an artist or a creative writer. Schedule a class on painting or drawing or pottery. Join a writing group.
We need to accept ourselves and our story to date. Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past. Forgiveness is also letting go of the past so that it no longer controls you.
It is time to rewrite your story—you are the powerful hero in your story, overcoming obstacles and having an adventure. That adventure is your dash. At 90+, what stories do you want to tell others about your adventurous life? How do you want to be the DISRUPTOR in your life or in the life of others?
This year, in addition to my three words, my friend sent me an email to a site that randomly generated a word for me for 2020—I am gifting that word to all of you—That word was: STORY.
How will you write your story and amp your new year finally?
PS coming soon to WCWRC, a workshop with an expert writer to help you creatively rewrite your story. And live this New Year to your fullest.