Many bloggers have written early this year about choosing a guiding word for the year rather than making resolutions. I wasn't going to join them—thinking that my personal goals for the coming year don't make for compelling reading—but accountability is a good thing, and I find that when I've put an idea out there by sharing it in this space I am more mindful of it in my day-to-day life.
So here I am.
The word I chose—or rather, the word that chose me—this year is listen.
(If you've spent any amount of time with me in person, feel free to stop reading now & take as long as you need to get that laugh out of your system. I'll wait... Done now? Good; let's proceed.)
In December, while I was thinking about the coming year—my hopes, plans, and dreams for the next twelve months—the word listen came to the front of my mind. The more I meditated, the more firmly that word rooted itself, refusing to budge until I acknowledged that it is, in fact, precisely the word I need to guide me this year.
It's not that I don't listen. Friends come to me, after all, looking for insight or advice, and I've always been generous with both: but that is not the same thing as simply listening, hearing without judgment or commentary, and that, my friends, is where I need to focus my energies.
(Okay, sometimes it's that I don't listen: when I am excited about something or wrapped up in an idea, I am so afraid I'm not explaining myself well that I can go on and on about it. It's like a nervous tic; I can't seem to control it. It is awful.)
Listen goes well beyond listening to others when they are speaking, though.
It is listening to my children: hearing what is happening beneath the crying or whining or whimpering and trying to figure out what they need when they can't tell me in words.
It is listening to myself: to my body when it tells me what it needs (more water, always, it seems) and what it doesn't (all that sugar isn't really necessary...); to my instincts when they tell me to pay closer attention to something I might have otherwise dismissed.
It is listening to the universe: paying attention to the obstacles that are put in my path (or removed from it) and what their presence or absence might be telling me. (I can't shake the feeling that we ignored a couple of big messages last year, in favor of sticking stubbornly to our own plans, and I wonder what might have been in store for us if we'd listened.)
Listen. This is my focus, this year: really hearing and seeing the world around me and the people in it, in all its rich beauty and awful tragedy and everything in between.
What is yours?
(The mantra bracelet in the photo was made for me by Polly, a fellow Apothecary Circle member who makes beautiful jewelry and writes an inspiring blog and is just an all-around lovely person. Her store is here if you'd like to see more of her work.)
I forgot to mention yesterday that the auction was a smashing success, raising more than $5000 for Newtown Parent Connection. Mollie brought in $100, which was quite a bit more than I was expecting—and better still, she was won by my friend Sarah Jane. Mollie is leaving today for Saint Paul and she is excited to meet her new friends; I know she will be very happy in her new home! xoxo