Re-visiting my Word for the Year - time to stick or twist?
As we near the half-way mark in 2018 (yes really!) I’m feeling drawn to reflect on my Word for the Year – INTUITION. Has it finished with me or do I still have more to learn from this touchstone? Many people take this mid-year mark to check in very intentionally with their WFTY and to decide whether it’s time to stick or twist?
When I set out in January with my heart and mind circling this charismatic word, I was excited as well as compelled to attract more INTUITION into my life. I consciously listened out for nudges and hints from this voice of inner wisdom – sometimes I must admit, more successfully than others. It’s a faculty I employ in my coaching work to help me tune into what’s ‘happening’ during coaching conversations. So I would call this a toned muscle in my coaching life. But in my life beyond coaching, like many of us, this quiet voice can be smothered by ‘doing’ rather ‘being’, which is where intuition can really thrive.
To listen more intently to my intuition, I’ve found walking particularly helpful. Movement, space, time and the stimulations of senses (tranquil buttercup meadows, soaring birdsong, the pungent aroma of wild garlic, and lately, the warmth of sun on my skin) all have primed me to ‘receive’ intuitive messages. So I feel I’m practising tuning in and it’s gradually becoming part of my ‘being’.
Rational Processes in Overdrive!
At the same time though, I’m aware that old habits die hard, and that while my intuition is sending clear messages, and I’m becoming better at receiving them, my habitual response is to check them out with the other side of my brain, which somehow I privilege as ‘rational’. This is the long training of culture, education and society.
Since January I’ve been mulling over a big change in my life – moving from being employed for half my working week (security, stability, but draining my energy and squashing important values) to the alternative of throwing myself wholeheartedly into full-time entrepreneurial adventures (purpose, values-alignment, energy). And of course, approaching big life changes is prime territory for our saboteurs to come out to play.
Saboteurs thrive on fear – of what might go wrong, leaving us penniless, alone and unloved. So no surprises that disaster-movie scenarios were playing in my head during this decision-making process. I’ll be writing more about this in another blog, but for now, it’s enough to say that while my rational mind was building lists, weighing up relevant factors, evaluating which were the most important deciders at this time, my saboteurs were creating visions of future doom which played insistently in the background.
All of this activity created noise and drowned out the one voice I needed to tune into – my own! All along, my intuition was quietly and consistently sure. In fact had given me the answer months ago. I knew, in every fibre of my physical being, which was the right path to fully express who I am and what is most important to me. I already had the knowledge. Listening to my ‘gut’ would have saved many painful should I / shouldn’t I sleepless nights.
I knew. But I needed to prove it to myself!
Back to my Word for the Year
So stick with INTUITION for the rest of this year, or actually use it to let another guide step forward?
When I started this blog, I assumed intuition would be the one. But when I make space to listen, what I actually think I’m finding more insistent is something rather different. I’ve started the WFTY selection process and I’m being pulled between two different energies. But before I reveal the outcome, here’s the process I use to allow my word to come out of the shadows and make its presence crystal clear.
I describe the full process in my December 2017 blogs here.
The key steps are:
1. Use a word cloud to highlight around 12 words that resonate most strongly with you. Walk away for a day. Are there other words that are on the edge of your perception trying to be noticed? Add them.
You can download a word cloud here or create your own.
2. On the following day, return to the list of words you chose yesterday. Read them through, perhaps out loud to bring them alive. Then quickly and without over-thinking it, choose your top 6. Walk away, sleep on it - let your unconscious mind do its work.
3. By now, you might find one word is starting to take prominence. Repeat the process and settle on your top 3. Give yourself a day’s space one last time. Build in some expansion time – walking in nature, yoga, meditation, mindfulness practice, running, listening to music. Whatever creates space for you. Relax – don’t struggle or force it, let it happen naturally.
4. Return to your top 3 and sit a while with each – which one is resonating most strongly? Which one excites you? Gives you energy and hope for the future? Which attracts you? Remember there is no room for ‘should’ in this process – listen to your intuition. If you’re drawn to more than one word, try step 5 before deciding – it will help unpack what that word holds for you.
And now you have it! But be sure your word is just that – ONE word.
5. Next, take a blank sheet of paper. Place your word in the centre and let associating words emerge. So if your word is GRACE, associated words that come to mind might be ‘acceptance’, ‘meditation’, ‘peace’… or whatever your word conjures up for you. There is no right or wrong. This is helping you to get clear on what the word carries for you.
Watch your response – does this feel right? Does it make you feel bigger, better, more?
If ‘yes’ then this is your word for the rest of 2018 – the word that will guide you, work as your touchstone or a perspective that will serve you well at times of stress, challenge, chaos, and offer you growth and renewal.
This process never fails to throw up a few surprises – and this time was no exception. As I moved through each step, I was half-expecting INTUITION would be my guide for the rest of the year. But as I sat with each step, I gradually realized that yes, intuition was still going to be here with me (it always will) but the focus that feels most relevant, most important and that fills me with energy, excitement, hope and wonder is…. LIGHTNESS….
And…… it is also SAVOUR.
But I thought it was important to pick ONE word? Yes, absolutely. One word will guide me through the rest of the year and it will be LIGHTNESS. But SAVOUR also has a role to play and we’ll come to that later
For me, LIGHTNESS grants a much-needed permission slip to stop hustling, pushing, doing, with my nose so close to the grindstone that I lose sight of the wonder around me. Instead, I’m choosing to trust myself and my resourcefulness, to hold my talents and energies with grace, acceptance and simplicity. This is where my being in the world will grow and mature. Not through endless to-do lists (although I will still have frameworks, processes, goals and actions in my business to help it to thrive) but through a lighter mindset that is at ease with itself, accepting that I will thrive through tuning into my intuition (still here you see), my natural flow of values-driven skills, purpose and resourcefulness. I will hold all these lightly rather than with an iron fist.
I’m trusting myself by easing into my true strengths, building a life and business that is a natural expression of who I am. Holding those fundamental things with reverence and LIGHTNESS.
To me, at this time, LIGHTNESS conjures up a gentle power, burnished and nurtured by external and internal forces. And this is where SAVOUR comes in. To better serve LIGHTNESS, I’m saying yes to more presence in the here and now. To enjoying what every sense tunes into. So while LIGHTNESS is a mindset to guide how I show up in the world, SAVOUR is a practice to enable this mindset to thrive.
No, not a new to-do list! Instead, I’m allowing (with lightness) new practices to emerge – new ways of being in the world, of seeing and being seen (watch out for the videos!) of connecting with clients I serve, clear in my purpose, trusting my resources and knowing wholeheartedly that the work I do aligns perfectly with my highest values, with my purpose in life, and that I am expressing these daily.
It’s a wonderful feeling of clarity, assurance and peace. I’m letting go of struggle and mis-alignment, and choosing LIGHTNESS, savouring the world’s gifts, and feeling in tune with everything that matters most to me.
It has been an extraordinary journey this year. INTUITION has taught me much and now I’m adopting LIGHTNESS. A perfect fit!
And you? How has your WFTY served you so far in 2018? Will you stick with it or are there new things to learn as you move along your journey? I’d love to hear your experiences – what’s your story this year?