in a word: embrace

in a word embrace

happy 2017, dear friends. unlike most days, today i felt the urge to write. i haven't been able to muster that feeling or the words for some time now, as you well know. so here i am in my office. perfectly equipped to make the most of this feeling; the aroma of my peach prosecco candle fills the room, a soft glow of amber from my rock salt lamp, spotify playlist playing to avoid that awkward silence that beckons my mind to wander, and a bottle of prosecco. yes a bottle, it's not full - just to be clear. nearly all of my senses engaged, except for touch... the solid feel of the keys on the keyboard just doesn't have the right ring to it. my new muk luks are pretty fuzzy, we'll go with that. all five covered.

two years ago i picked a word of the year for the first time. mindfulness. a couple instagrammers i admired had posted about their word and i wanted to be cool like them so i picked a word. i made a pretty image to share on social media, even wrote a blog post all about it. i had great intentions, and it is something i need to focus on, but my intentions weren't coming from the right place. so as most declarations that are made in the beginning of the new year, it fizzled before we got the chance to find out if the groundhog saw its shadow. 2015 was a crazy year, getting married is a real thing. last year i didn't pick a word, if i had to name it now my instant thought is reflection. a lot of taking stock of things in my life, who i am, what i am, and reflecting on it. this year i started with intention. picking a word for reasons beyond wanting to "be cool." 


it took me a couple weeks into the new year to settle on a word. my mind likes to tell me there is only one right choice/response/answer/decision. the prospect of picking the wrong one is enough to paralyze me. stop me in my tracks. it invites anxiousness into the party and now it feels all consuming. it can happen to any and all choices, no matter their significance. what's hardest for me is that i am aware that i'm being silly, that in almost all cases the worst that could happen is not a big deal. my awareness and my anxiousness don't have a healthy relationship of communication and so my awareness just amplifies the feeling, because now i'm anxious about being anxious. the second arrow.

i feel the need to explain this term, the second arrow, as it is new to me. Buddhists say that whenever we experience pain or misfortune two arrows fly our way. the first arrow is the the event or experience that caused the pain. the second arrow is suffering - our reaction to that event, the story we tell ourselves about it - which adds even more pain. we cannot control the first arrow, but the second arrow is optional.

i shoot a lot of second arrows. some i feel more control of than others, but the thing i know for certain is that the second arrow, the reaction to your reaction, does not help the situation. the fear of not being perfect takes over, as if this is truly an attainable option. memories of being paralyzed by perfectionism, by the fear of not picking the right choice, date way back. it was a particular struggle in college, placing these unattainable standards on myself. it haunts me now by (successfully) trying to get me to believe that no post i could write would be perfect, enough, right. so don't even bother, don't try. it won't matter.

embrace. the mess, the chaos, the change. embrace. the journey, the flaws, the unknown. embrace. the fear, the mistakes, the passion. embrace. the struggle, the differences, the opportunity. embrace. the feeling, the potential, the place. embrace. the perfectly imperfect, the moment, the story. embrace myself.

i'm going to embrace this platform i've created for myself, this little corner of the internet. i'm going to embrace the opportunity it gives me to share my words with the world. i'm going to embrace my passion and mission to heal myself out loud. i'm going to embrace the fear, doubt, uncertainty, anxiety and the struggle that will come; and ask them to kindly move along. i'm going to embrace you, whoever you are, wherever you are, and do my best to be a light in this world for you.

now it's your turn. are you a word selector? intention setter? fellow perfectionist? tell me what your hopes for this new year are.