This year instead of making resolutions I took up Rachel's suggestion at inspacesbetween to come up with three words to live by for 2012. Words are powerful tools or reminders that many of us have yet to live our best lives. Words inspire, motivate, and encourage us to experience something new. They act as springboards from which we take our first dive, plunging into infinite possibilities and breaking free of old labels that once defined us. Words create windows from which we can fly free to stretch our wings. Words create doors, opening us up to opportunities we might have otherwise passed by. Words are ultimately the spaces in between, giving us pause to appreciate the unexpected. Here are my three power words.
Over the last few years I've felt myself physically, mentally, and spiritually contract, cringing in heightened sensitivity to a life filled with demands and setbacks. As if by pulling inwards I could somehow protect myself from further disappointment, pretending I was okay when in fact I felt pulled in every direction but where I wanted to be. By making myself small maybe I thought I could skate unseen, putting off or permanently deleting those things I wasn't quite ready to tackle. But my shrinking world quickly led to a waning tolerance for anyone and anything that didn't easily slot into my newly trimmed worldview. I found myself struggling to navigate the peaks and pitfalls of my daily grind. I wrestled with self-doubt, u-turned from opportunities, and jeopardized close relationships all because my house of cards had started closing in on me. My hope this year is to Expand, to unfurl and breathe deep all life has to offer me. To break my own self-imposed boundaries and learn to fly with unclipped wings. Expand. Breathe. Expand. Release.
I think it's more difficult to trust in yourself than it is to trust others. Every time you fail, second-guess, or doubt yourself in any capacity, you trust yourself a little less. This is also true for every time you say you're going to do something, be someone, or attain a goal and you don't. Each time we disappoint ourselves, we lose a little bit more faith. This year I want to simply Believe. In dreams, in possibilities, but mostly in me. I want to plunge into things even without the guarantees. Invest in dreams, relationships, and myself even though it might not work out. But mostly, I want to allow myself to be seen even if it makes me vulnerable. Before courage, compassion, and connection - first, you must Believe.
This is probably the most difficult for me. Giving myself permission to Shine. I'm not necessarily talking about showing off or tooting my own horn but hey, why not? Why are some of us so afraid to show our brilliance? As kids we're encouraged to collect gold stars but discouraged from eclipsing our peers. When we're no longer kids with parents to brag about our accomplishments, who do we look to but ourselves to shout out our achievements? Even as a young girl, I always felt I had to hold back my natural abilities, behave less competitively, and to celebrate my achievements quietly. This year I want to radiate, shimmer, and sparkle from the inside out. I believe when we're no longer trying to hide, we discover our authentic selves - this is the star you were truly meant to be in all it's luminosity.
ph: (expand) jessica neuwerth; (shine) thomas hoepker