Every year, I choose a focus word to set my intention for the year. That focus word ends up becoming a theme for the following twelve months; it shapes my experiences and acts as an arrow in the bountiful light, and as a lantern when my path plunges into darkness, into the valley of my own shadow.
Last year, my word was “goddess,” which helped me to learn that connecting with divinity isn’t simply about ecstasy; it is about connecting with even the rage and the madness and the grief that goddesses go through in their own stories. It is about knowing oneself as one knows the night and the day: not hating some traits and preferring others, but rather accepting, loving, and embracing both as vital parts of life, and moving through them with ease, as Persephone does between earth and the underworld.
In 2017, my word was “self-love.” It was a word that led to me going on a three day, three night vision fast in the mountains, it led to my relationship with my daughter’s father transforming from domestic partnership to a co-parenting friendship, it led to me cleaning up my diet, and it put me on the path to greater self-awareness. It also gave me a deeper understanding of what self-love truly means: it’s not all bubble baths and lazy Sundays. It’s also looking critically at the parts of our lives (inner and outer) that are no longer serving our growth or the growth of the other people involved, and replacing those parts with things that do serve us and all involved.
Normally, I choose a focus word for my year before the new year even starts. But, deep in grief, my word for 2019 could not find me; I wasn’t listening to anything but the earthquakes in my chest.
Finally, nearly two months after the beginning of the new year (and three months after one of my best friends died) and a night before snow began to fall on this Oregon city, my word came to me: lush.
Lush as in beneficial growth.
Lush as in slowness that is not stasis but is, rather, rich with meaning, mindfulness, and possibility.
Lush as in vivid sensory moments. As in not a moment wasted. Every moment noticed and appreciated for the lusciousness it holds.
Lush as in the mundane becoming magical.
Lush as in living my life like I’m in a Hayao Miyasaki film:
Lush as in a focus on beauty regardless, or because of, circumstance.
As with my past focus words, this word will be both a question and an answer given to myself on a regular basis:
What can I do to make this situation more lush,
more meaningful, more beautiful, more in service to my growth?
Embody lusciousness. Engage the senses in vivid and
sacred ways. Let the material lead to the spiritual,
by appreciating the world as it is,
not as my mind thinks it should be —
yet, not being too attached to it.
Lush, not as an end goal, but rather —
as an avenue to Spirit.
This year, the year I descend from my head into my body.
Into my heart. My gut. My womb.
The year I am not wishing: the year I am doing. The year I am loving. The year I am passion, peace, grounding, and creation all at the same time: the year I am like a deeply rooted, steadily growing plant. Every day worthwhile. Every day making a life.
Because nature does not hurry. Nature doesn’t overthink or over-analyze.
Nature grows. Lets go of what no longer serves. Rests. Then grows some more.
Lush as in nature. Lush as in