Recently on one of the Facebook groups I belong to, the questions was put out, "If you could sum up your intentions for the year ahead in one word, what would it be?" My desire to answer impulsively with something like "strength", "empowered", "courageous", "expansion" or "flowing" was there, but instead, I decided to just sit with this for a little while, after all, it was a good question worthy of a little pondering. Those were all awesome words, but not quite it. No one word came to me or fully resonated as I scrolled down looking at everyone else's choices, so I left it alone and wondered if there might be something wrong with me that I'm not entering into the new year with super clear goals and intentions. And then, as I was further contemplating this in the shower this morning, free from headphones on my ears, free from little voices simultaneously pulling me in four different directions, free from any household tasks and free from my computer that distracts me to no end, two words felt right: "softening" and "honoring". Admittedly, some of this is influenced by my Stillbirthday doula training and some a continuation of my experience of being pregnant with twins. I find myself bristling up against my own belief systems and the realization that my truths are only that, my truths. That others' truths will look different from my own and that doesn't mean that I cannot find compassion in my heart to support others with grace though their choices might look different than my own.
It runs a little deeper too as I further turn the lens on myself. Opinions, everyone's got one, as the saying goes... Mine tend to run strong and often contrary to the mainstream which can feel isolating at times. Sometimes this can cause a person to put their opinions out there, sort of like a seeking of confirmation from like minded folk because additional confirmation when we step outside of the norm can feel especially reassuring. Ultimately and paradoxically, this practice can be polarizing and do the exact opposite of what we originally intended. We're all cut, shaped and molded from our own unique experiences. While we will find commonalities with our kindred spirits, we really will be hard-pressed to fit into one stereotype or find another one quite like us... When we seek confirmation outside of ourselves, we may be sorely disappointed, lonely and hurt when we don't find it in those we expect to. “We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.” -Anaïs Nin
Deeper still, I realize this is perhaps the best medicine for me as I turn my gaze inward while closing the loop on my 39th cycle around the sun. Softening and honoring my own journey from maiden to mother and, one day, to crone. Looking at myself in the mirror and, rather than feeling critical, fully appreciating that this is the body that brought four beautiful little girls safely into the world and then continued to feed them for years from my own breasts. Of course my body isn't going to look like the maiden's body that I quite reluctantly shed at age 33 when I gave birth to my first child. That doesn't mean that I can't strive to look my best in my mother's body and continue to honor it with healthy food and sensible movement, but I think it might be time for me to also walk my talk and truly honor that my body has changed and that those changes are actually amazing as they map out and have allowed new life to be ushered into the world where there was once none.
Perhaps I'm sending this out into the ether, never to reach anyone. Perhaps more of a journal entry than a blog post. My website is in its infancy and in this day of information overload, surely it would not be a surprise if nobody at all read it. But there it is all the same. My little wisp of hope that I will sit in softening and honoring, choosing to gently observe and, yes, to discern for myself and my family even, but to refrain from the harshness of judgment in the year to come.