Early in 2021… when I really wanted to bail on release…I began to ponder a new word and have had a bit of a running list for most of 2021.
Despite adding words to my list, I persevered with release but once the 4th quarter arrived I began thinking in earnest about what my new word might be for this year and I spent lots of time thinking about all those words on my list.
Unbelievably, not one of them made the cut… I know, it even shocked me because they all have so much potential!
In late November a couple of things happened in my life…my sister’s ongoing issues and the anniversary of my mom’s death – one thing I’d like to solve, the other I’d like to forget – but those are a story for another day. Anyways, those things kept me focused on release for the remainder of the year.
December was so heavy and as a solace I spent lots of time reading poetry and listening others read poetry and the things I discovered were amazing.
First, I stumbled across Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day and a phrase from the poem just jumped off the page and into my head. I had never heard those words before… even though I have read/heard the last sentence of the poem dozens of times… this bit was a revelation to me: Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Wow. Just wow.
Now my intention is not for this to be the most morbid “Hello, New Word” post in history, but true facts… I am 61 years old. If I am blessed to live as long as my nana… I just have 26 more years on this earth. And if I am not that blessed… well, you see the dilemma. So this year I want to begin to really use the things I learned in my Year of Focus and my Year of Intentional Living (and yes, in my Year of Release) and begin to fill my life with the things that matter and stop with the things that don’t matter all.
But what are those things? I think have some ideas, but this year I am going to really try and not waste any time on things that don’t matter. I want to be able to look back and see there was nothing else I should have done because I lived a FULL life to the last moments. I think I am so blessed to have spent such a hard year with release… because release led me to this path.
It is almost as if release said to me… now you are ready… fill yourself up!
(And in case you think my word should have been fill… I wanted to focus more on the result of being full which I hope will help me make my choices of what I “fill” wiser.)
Because being full does not mean just doing all.the.things.
Just before the year ended I listened to an episode of The Slow Down and Ada Limón shared these words of wisdom:
One question that I often get asked is how to overcome writer’s block. And the funny thing is, I overcome it, by not overcoming it. I think it’s OK to not write. I think it’s OK not to talk, not to make, not to create, not to produce, produce, produce. How can we listen to the world if we are always talking to the world?
Wait, what? It’s okay not to talk, not to make, not to create, not to produce, produce, produce?
These words were a bit of a balm for my spirit, let me tell you and coupled with Krista Tippet’s conversation about listening to the silence with Gordon Hempton, I knew I was on the right path. (sometimes I need to have the message hit me in the face multiple times before I get it… thank you, universe for making that happen so brilliantly!)
So I invite you to come along on this journey to see what I will fill myself up with this year and, hopefully, as I am ending 2022 and on the cusp of 2023, I will be on my way to being full of lots of wonderful things!
P.S. If you would like to hear Mary Oliver read her poem, you will find it here!