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.
Alright, look at me, posting more than once a week!
I just finished an application to become a transcriptionist. I’ve heard that there’s a high demand for them these days, and since I’m looking for a job that’s flexible, pays a living wage, and that doesn’t require a degree, I decided to look into it. It requires skills I already use at my day job — listening and typing verbatim with proper punctuation and spelling — so I figured it was worth a shot.
I’m actually feeling really excited to get started on doing transcription on the side. Since I can do it from home, maybe if I get really good and have decent income coming in, I can quit my call center job. In fact, I plan on it. I’ve always wanted to have a location-independent job, and now more than ever I want to make that happen.
There’s so much I want to do with my life, but working in an emotionally draining job like a survey call center saps so much of my energy that I often don’t feel like I have anything extra in me for other things. I used to have so much passion, and sometimes I still do — but I know I could have even more, if I was being compensated for doing something I believe in (instead of conducting push polls). While I never pictured myself as a transcriptionist, it’s at least a step towards the life I want to live.
I can see myself working a home-based/location-independent job: decorating my office/desk space the way I want it. Always a pot of tea beside me. Making my hours how I want them — working early in the morning or late at night or in the middle of the day as I feel like or as is convenient for me. I could even do my transcription work at my favorite cafes.
I believe I am worthy of the life of my dreams. The life of my dreams is slow, and sweet, with a beautiful home and a garden and a flexible schedule and room to dance, grow, learn, have impromptu tea parties, eat high-quality organic raw foods, put my daughter in an amazing school, and be able to be out in nature as often as we like.
It’s not that transcription is the answer to my prayers. It’s that it’s the next step in my journey to crafting a life I don’t feel like I need to escape from.