For the past couple of years, rather than make resolutions, I have chosen a word to frame my new year. A word that evokes a feeling I want more of in my life. Comfort was my word for 2016. It was about finding comfort in uncertainty and the unfamiliar. When I think back on this year, there was certainly a lot of discomfort (personal, social, political), and I can’t say I was entirely successful in finding a place of comfort—emotionally or physically—in every situation. But success isn't the point. The point is to be mindful, and I was certainly aware of my discomfort.
This journey of feelings, specifically how I want to feel, has been my focus for the past few weeks. I’ve been working my way through The Desire Map, which offers a radical philosophy that we are more fulfilled when we base our goals on how we want to feel vs. setting arbitrary goals in hopes they’ll provide us with the feelings we yearn for when we reach them. These core desired feelings provide inner clarity to help guide our outer action. Or, as Danielle LaPorte says, "Inner attunement equals outer attainment." After doing the work, I landed on these core desired feelings, which feel just right: peace, connection, delight, free, and nourish.
Change of seasons
Just as nature has seasons, so does life, and I am in the midst of transitioning seasons—literally and figuratively. I am experiencing my first real winter with snow and below-freezing temps, and the move to Bend signaled the end of my old season and the beginning of a new season. Rob Bell has a wonderful podcast episode on the topic of seasons, in which he notes that we often stay too long in a particular season. And I have done just that. I have stayed too long with old thoughts, old plans, and old occupations, letting them occupy the space that should be open for the new season to bloom.
I thought I was embracing this new season, feeling the ego-imposed pressure of getting “out there” and finding connections in my new community, establishing my new life. However, I have felt the more subtle but equally persistent tug to cocoon. So much of this year has been externally focused with selling a house, packing up a life, moving to a new state, starting a new job and then quitting, buying a house, moving again, and on and on. Honestly, I’m tired, something I just recently allowed myself to acknowledge and accept. More than anything, I want to go inside, to hibernate, to create space. I am going to follow winter’s lead and do just that, and make this the year of connecting with me.
An old friend
All of this leads back to my word for the coming year. Of my five core desired feelings, it is “delight” that resonates most strongly for me. Delight is a word that feels like an old friend with whom I lost touch but who has been hanging around, popping up from time to time, waiting patiently for me to recognize and embrace her.
The familiarity of “delight” reminded me of a vocation declaration I wrote a couple of years ago after leaving my job for a new pursuit.
“A vocation where I use my hands, head, and heart to provide a product and/or service that delights and has a positive impact, and allows me to connect with others …”
There’s more to the declaration, but what’s interesting is how so much of what I wrote then about what I want for myself is still true now. The key, I believe, is in delight. What better way to connect more deeply with myself than by identifying and indulging in those things that delight me? I have a hunch that focusing on delight will reveal my purpose and next [ad]venture.
In the hustle and humdrum of everyday, though, it’s easy for me to lose sight of the big picture. To keep myself focused on delight, I am starting a #365daysofdelight project, a photo journal of the one thing that lights up my heart and soul each day. I’ll be sharing my daily delight on Instagram (@sassysnash, if you are so inclined). I’ve also added a gallery page to this blog to chronicle the collection.
Although I still have some letting go to do so I can move fully into this new season, I look forward to focusing more on the things that fill me up.
My cup runneth over
As this year draws to a close, I would like to express my deep gratitude to those who definitely fill me with delight—Theresa Trosky, Kristi Bissell, Pat Donovan, Kerryn Elrick, Wendy Battino, and Ali Duffey, all of whom have provided support, encouragement, and space for connecting with myself. They are a mighty tribe! And to Leslie O’Neill, Tami Droese, Gerri Russell, Deb Davis, and Cathy Krizik whose thoughtful feedback on my blog is the inspiration that keeps me writing and sharing. And last but not least, to Todd, whose boundless love gives me space to explore but is always the light that calls me home.
To all of you, I hope 2017 brings delights a-plenty. Happy New Year!