I have been wanting to write about this since before Christmas, and then I had this feeling that it was too late, since it’s hardly the beginning of the year anymore, and then I remembered my treasured personal motto, “Better late than never.” (That, at least is a fitting motto for a notorious procrastinator.)
This is the third year that I have been choosing a word of the year. In 2007 it was “effortlessness” which made me give up on everything, in 2008 it was “healing” which made me realize that I’m far from healed, and also I got pointed towards therapy over and over again, I don’t know, maybe that’s a sign or something. Nevertheless some things got better, so there was actual healing in some areas of my life where I didn’t even realize I was in need of it, like my marriage.
This year I had the feeling that I needed something different, and so the first word that spoke to me was “discipline”. If you don’t know about the practice of choosing a word for the year, I got the idea from Christine Kane, who wrote about it at least here and here (the second link will lead you to a series of posts, go there – you’ll enjoy them).
So, discipline it was. That’s only fitting since this year seems to be all about getting back on track – again. I already had the feeling that I needed to re-cultivate my “inner parent“. Usually I know fairly well what I “should” be doing but mostly I don’t do it. Which is really lame, and has made me unhappier, more tired, and heavier over the past two years or so. For the whole time that I un-changed all of my new shiny and healthy habits, one at a time, I resolved to get back on track. Every single day. But every single day found myself, knitting in the midst of dirty dishes, dreading the grocery shopping, procrastinating for as long as five days about it. Each week I would firmly decide to do the shopping on Thursday, then Friday, then Saturday, and sometimes it would be Monday until I went and got something to eat for my family.
I know it’s pathetic, and it’s not very good for my self-esteem but I also know that I’m not the only one on the planet doing silly things like this. So, starting on December 27th or so, when I felt like this was about to be my beginning of the new year, I got a bit more no-nonsense about my decisions. So, right now, it’s no question of whether I tidy the kitchen in the evening or leave it until morning, I just tidy it in the evening, regardless of how I feel. Also I do my morning routine which consists of meditation, morning pages, and another round of tidying and cleaning.
For the past two weeks I even have been doing the grocery shopping on Thursdays, and some rudimentary house-cleaning on Fridays. I always want to put off the cleaning (and the shopping) until the weekend, and on weekends I always have the feeling that now is the time for knitting and sewing, and reading, and such. Then I think, “But I can always do it on Monday.” which I then don’t and another week goes by with dust bunnies all over the house.
So, discipline turns out to be a very good word for me for this year. Since I’m not procrastinating as much I have more energy, I’m going to bed on time (again more energy), and I don’t spend all my time and energy worrying about things I should be doing.
When I chose discipline, though, I had the feeling that if I only concentrated on that I would soon feel deprived, and resentful, and so I chose a second word to focus on – abundance. I want to concentrate on the fact that there is enough of everything in the world, even energy and time, that I don’t have to hold on to things I don’t love and need, and that there always will be more.
So far this also has worked very well. While there have been a few students quitting during the past months there seem to be more coming as replacements. When I’m not afraid that there never will be cake any more in my life it’s easier to eat just the one piece that makes me feel good instead of the two or three I usually would be eating.
2008 was not the best of years for me but I have the feeling that 2009 will be decidedly better.
Did you choose a word of the year? Will you? Tell me.
Thank you for this nice blogpost.
I think, that the word for me for 2009 should be serenity. I’ll be off meds this year (after 5 yrs. of cancer treatment) and so we are allowed to “try to get pregnant” and after having had a few really bad days last year with everybody (or better all the women around me) getting pregnant I will try to be calm about this and not put pressure on me. It is more important that I feel good, stay healthy and in good humor than to have a child of my own. Setting myself under pressure will just have the contrary effect!
Btw. we do that: cleaning on friday too., All of the house except the sewing/knitting room will be tidied up and cleaned. Each of us has his/her chores to do, so everyone knows what is expected. And since we established that routine, it is working really well. Besides that I got into the habit of putting all the dishes into the dishwasher every evening and getting the stuff into the cupboards as soon as they are done after signung up for flylady. Since I haven’t followed any other of the tips, it’s not bad to follow at least one….
I could use a little more discipline in my life, too, this year I suspect… especially with another little monster on the way… what was I thinking?
I also suspect the phrase ‘just breathe’ should be a new mantra… maybe cut down on my yelling at my kids!
I’m thinking “evolution,” to indicate slow, steady progress.
Painted Maypole says
i was reading so many bloggers who were choosing words, that I DID come up with one for myself: RELATIONSHIPS. Iv’e been trying to work on that with friends and family, and when I’m torn about how to spend time I just focus on that word and think “which choice supports the relationship?”
I’ve thought about this for a good couple of days now, and finally settled on the word rhythm. I feel the same as you about household chores and shopping, and the fact that this habit of putting things off means that I put off things that are good for me and that I enjoy (yoga class, a daily walk) but they also meant that my life is more full of wasted space with the time I spend thinking I should be doing something and then beating myself up for the fact that I haven’t done it.
Having said that I know I respond poorly to words like discipline and routine, but I think that giving my days and weeks a rhythm can accomplish the same thing. I also think that I could start with a fairly simple rhythm, like ‘clean the bathroom on a Monday’ and then add things to it, to make it more complex as time goes on. I haven’t figured out how to cope if the unforeseen messes up the rhythm but maybe I should just start without anticipating disasters for once…
am i trite if i say the word of the year is “happiness”? because it’s time to grab it. the happiness.
My word of 2009 is “sex” as in having way more of it. Seriously, my wife and I are making a point of taking our bedroom back this year. I wrote a post about it, but didn’t hit publish as I thought my wife would kick my ass if I did.