Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Prompt author: Gwen Bell)
My word for this year is wrestle. Not clad in spandex and getting sweaty (though toddler wrestling comes close, especially during nappy changing these days), but the push-pull momentum of struggle and release. And since I can’t make struggle-and-release into one word, wrestle it is.
As long as I can remember, an inner struggle, a straining at tightly bound knots, real or imagined, has always been a part of my character. Sometimes the struggle makes the knots tighter, sometimes it loosens them, and sometimes it makes no difference - nothing changes and I only end up with rope burns.
This year, I didn’t go back to work as planned. I wrestled with isolation and loneliness, but I discovered greater depth in my slower paced life. I struggled at being a full-time stay at home Mum but I’ve had precious time with my son. I lost a few friends, but I regained a few others and even made some new ones. I spent a lot of time being angry or scared, but I got angry and scared enough to want things to change. I’ve also been more acutely aware of the struggle than ever before. But, I also learned to sit with it. To study it and understand it and try to get to the heart of it. I started having counselling. I got a little bit deeper into my yoga practice and more honest in my writing. I started seeing chinks of truth and slowly, breath by breath, began to let go. The flip side of struggle is release. One doesn’t exist without the other. I do believe that being alive will always entail some sort of struggle, but it doesn’t have to be negative. A bit like that phrase: Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.
So for the coming year, I hope not for a struggle-free life, but for something I’ve been too scared to believe in – until now. I’m going to let hope go to my head and go all out. I want my word for 2011 to be joy. The kind that is deep and true and comes from authenticity, from letting go, and being present and open and tuned in – to possibilities we are not even aware of, to the truths we don’t yet know, to the sacred magic and beauty of the world, seen or unseen. For once, I don't believe it's too much to ask for.