One of my favorite things about life is how we’re always learning and growing. There will never come a time when you’ve learned it all, when you’ve mastered life. There are always new lessons and opportunities.
For the past several years I’ve chosen one word to help guide my experiences, to remind me of something I need to learn or remember that year.
My word for 2015 was accept because I had a lot about my life and situation to come to terms with, including flagging energy that was standing in the way of what I wanted to achieve.
Accept served me well. Whenever I bristled against the restrictions of my body or situation, I remembered to accept where I was and what I could do now. As a result, 2015 was a year of deep healing, both physically and mentally.
I spent a lot of time alone, not lonely, just alone with my thoughts and at rest. It was wonderful, actually. I know some of my friends didn’t quite understand where I was or what had happened to me, but it was exactly what I needed at the time.
As I began looking toward 2016, experiencing greater energy and excitement than I’d had throughout much of late 2014 and 2015, I knew this would be a year of greater action.
In fact, I considered the word action as my word for 2016 but, as I took on more responsibility and engaged in more activity, my body reminded me that I must rest as well as act. I’m not fully healed and, as an introvert, my need for downtime exceeds that of the extroverts I know.
Therefore, my word for 2016 became:
Although I know there’s really no such thing as balance in this complex, beautiful life of ours, acknowledging the ideal reminds me that action and rest are two sides of the same coin, interdependent and inextricable.
Whenever I choose a word, I look up its definition to ensure I know what I’m surrendering to. Some of my favorite definitions of balance include:
: a means of judging or deciding
: equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements
: equality between the totals of the two sides of an account
: an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements
: the juxtaposition in writing of syntactically parallel constructions containing similar or contrasting ideas
: physical equilibrium
: the ability to retain one’s balance
: an amount in excess especially on the credit side of an account
: mental and emotional steadiness
(full definition here)
And so I’m entering this new year with an eye toward balance and, in particular, balancing several seeming dichotomies:
- Action and rest
- Introspection and external engagement
- Self-care and caring for others
- Consistency and experimentation
What’s your word for 2016 and how do you expect it to help guide your year?