- David Whyte, in The Three Marriages, talking about William Wordsworth’s poem Prelude.
There’s this practice that I picked up from the blogosphere a couple years ago. I’m a big fan of plans and lists and therefore, resolutions… but I tend to make little resolutions to myself sporadically throughout the year, when I feel I’ve gotten into a rut. And so to do it at the years end/beginning… not such a special thing. Doesn’t really set the coming year apart from the one that’s just wrapping up with the manner of intention that I think it deserves.
So, this practice is one of choosing a word. Just one word. To help guide you throughout the new year. Like setting an intention at the beginning of a yoga class or meditation. It’s something that you can remind yourself to come back to when you feel you’ve gotten a bit off track from yourself. When you feel untethered.
When 2011 was on it’s way, there were two words I was trying to decide between…. fearless and intention. I went with intention. Although looking back at my year… I think both had an influence on me. I know that I made a conscious effort to be very intentional in my actions and reactions, words, behaviors, and the things I engaged in. But man I was pretty fearless too. I mean, in one year… I got married and had a baby. Those are big, lifelong, committed YES’s to two things I really didn’t know if I would EVER do. I’m so proud of myself for having the guts to say yes to these two events that brought these two amazing guys into my life in such permanent ways.
I remember first reading about the word for the year idea nearing the end of 2010. Maybe October or November and quickly adopting the word comfort for the remainder of that very trying year.
By the time this past December came around…. I only had to contemplate for a few moments before I knew what I needed this year.
It had started percolating… simmering… cultivating ever since Mason was born. Maybe even a bit before. The idea that I needed to pay more attention to life. To each day as it happened. To the moments I was being given AS they were happening. Not just looking back over photos. Especially with this new little boy growing and changing daily before our eyes. I wanted to savor every millisecond. You know… as much as humanly possible. They say that the years go by so fast. I always say the time goes by so fast, even before Mason, and definitely so much more now. The sun just seems to set so quickly… just as soon as the day has started to get going.
But not only that. I’ve also learned in the past few months, that the times when I am at my most frustrated, are the times when I’m focusing on a moment other then the present. When I’m trying to rush whatever is going on at the moment… putting Mason down for a nap, cooking, reading a post… so I can get onto the next thing. And when I’m able to catch myself, breathe, and bring my focus back to the moment at hand… my stress levels go down. I’m so much more content.
So my word this year is Attention.
Because life is just so rich. With so many impossible, unbelievable moments. I want to be paying attention, not just racing through the days.
“If I’m not happy in this time, in this place, I’m not paying attention” -Jodi Hills