hope vs despair

For nearly a decade, now, each New Year’s Eve, I have said something like, “Oh, good Lord! I am so grateful this year is over! Next year has got to be better.”

In some ways, each year has been progressively worse; in other ways each year has been phenomenally better. And, I suppose, that is what life is about in this human existence… you take the good, you take the bad… (To all you 80’s kids who now have “The Facts of Life” theme song stuck in your head, you’re welcome!) And then you choose to make the most of it in every way that you can. Or you don’t.

Long ago, I gave up altogether on New Year’s resolutions. I rarely stuck to them for longer than a week and the time wasted in creating them frustrated me. But, I also loved the idea of starting anew when the calendar flips from one year to the next and making the most of the clean slate-ish-ness of that circumstance. So, instead of resolutions, for the last few years, I’ve been playing with the “Word of the Year” to focus my intention for what I desire to actualize during the next 365.25 days.

At the end of 2015, I chose to focus on”Enchanting” for 2016 and did it very publicly, which was super fun. I created graphics and wrote posts and captured photos of the energy of Enchanting that was all around me. I experienced so many new things and old things in new ways and everything – even the “difficult” or mundane – was surprisingly Enchanting. With all of that, though, by the time I got to December 31 that year, I was barely clinging onto my existence here and was drowning in despair. While I had really experienced an Enchanting year, I realized I had lost all Hope, which meant that, for me, I was once again at a very crucial deciding point: am I going to stay on this planet?

In a silent plea to the Universe, I timidly chose my word for 2017, as more of a last-ditch effort to resurrect myself. Without any public announcement, no grand graphics, or even any stories, I chose “Hope” for my word after taking myself through my Wordy Wordsmith process to clear my blockages and zero in on the word that would be most powerful for me to work with for the year. At the January 2017 REVELution, I guided the attendees through the same process and then provided tiny canvases and easels for them to paint their word and solidify their learnings of the day. Quietly, and without aplomb, I painted my word, without much care and very little belief in myself. And when my REVELutionaries asked what my word was, I softly said, “Hope. Because I have lost mine.” That was all I said.

For the next 365 days, I went about my life, glancing at my HOPE artwork on my altar each day, but having no idea what else to do about it. Each day, I chose to get out of bed. Each day, I chose to go forward. Each day, with every stunning piece of heartbreaking news that the year was rife with, I kept choosing to just. keep. going. Even when I didn’t want to do it, I did. Even when I wanted to give up, I dragged myself forward. There were a lot of tears. There were so many questions, most of which were never answered. There was a lot of anger. There was unbelievable frustration and unfathomable behaviors of others that caused me to just shake my head and drag my hands down my face. I kept my pursuit of Hope as a very private thing because I was in a fragile state for most of 2017. Sometime, early in November 2017, I had this awareness of a profound, visceral sense of Hope. I was stunned. My private, quiet process of rebuilding Hope had worked. It was utterly fulfilling and truly astonishing.

These last two weeks, I’ve been running words through my mind, pondering what I want to experience, and where my focus will best serve me. Time and again, my body, mind, and spirit brought me back to the word “Healthy,” but it felt like more than “working out and eating right.” Yesterday, it opened up and I saw that it wasn’t the word “healthy” I wanted to explore, but “HEALTH” as a verb.

So this year, I am focusing on the action of BEING HEALTH in every aspect of my human life and my life as an infinite being who is so much more than my humanness.

I am excited to see what I actualize with this experiment!


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