“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart: I am, I am, I am.” ~ Sylvia Plath
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This year, it has taken me exactly a month to find my 2021 word of the year. Why? Well, I wasn’t convinced I’d bother to choose a word of the year. Wasn’t it a ridiculous assumption to make that a year would bend to meet the shape of a word. I mean after 2020, haven’t we all seen that life is nothing if not unpredictable?
And yet the concept kept working away at the back of my brain. Should I have a word? Should I ditch my tradition or start a new one?
Pros and Cons
In the past, I have found that choosing a word of the year has given me a goal to work towards. One year – the year that I choose mindfulness, my word was not a success. Mindfulness turned out to be a much harder state to achieve than I had originally anticipated. However, the years I chose health and reach and growth were all successful years.
Is it risky to choose a word every year and commit to a resolution or a focus? Sure, absolutely it is and sometimes you fail, but at least you tried.
A Year Like No Other
Although I have in fact chosen a word of the year ever since 2014, this year was not like the others. Last year, I chose a word and I have looked back on it a few times and thought why did I bother? Burt, I am sure that many people were precisely in the same boat in 2020.
Recently, I was hunting for quotes to caption an Instagram post and I found this one above from Sylvia Plath about breath and breathing. While Plath was an author known for going mad and writing an exceptionally gorgeous memoir about it, I thought it summed up my 2021 word of the year philosophy.
Aren’t we all feeling a little bit off kilter, off-balance under water some days right now? I know I am still.
FYI – this is my yoga mat. I’ve used several and this is my favourite because it is thicker than the usual yoga mats. Buy one here – > Gaiam Yoga Mat 6 MM.
Wasn’t the world supposed to magically be healed and promising in 2021? And yet, numbers are erratic, stay at a home Amber Alert messages gave many of us a start in Ontario recently and mental health issues are growing as the days mount.
So many days we all struggle. We are trying to ignore the huge wrench that has been thrown in ski season. I refuse to give up and I am holding out hope for even a couple of ski days at some point WHEN numbers go down. But, if you know me at all then you know I yoga. I boot camp and group fit, pilates, Centergy and walk. So for now while all of that is chaos and cancelled I breathe through the yoga.
My 2019 word of the year was REACH.
The Breath Challenge
Every morning so far of this year, I’ve been doing a 30-day Breath challenge with Yoga with Adrienne and I am nearing the end of that fitness challenge.
Yoga with Adrienne and Yoga with Kassandra as well as Blogilates are favourites of mine. In fact, I shared my favourite online fitness classes here a few months ago.
Why I Move
When we adopted our younger daughter, a child who would eventually be diagnosed with FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) I started doing yoga for me, for self care. So, it has become a staple and a consistent part of my life. When Covid hit and gyms closed the first time, I pivoted to online workout instructors and classes.
Ironically, or perhaps insightfully, my 2020 word of the year was clarity and positivity. I’d be a huge liar if I said that I didn’t struggle with staying positive during a pandemic. In fact, I felt flat out overwhelmed and overly sad and maybe even depressed as trips were cancelled one by one and then school closed down. Of course 2020 year was hard, but there are also things that I am proud of from our pandemic year.
How To Approach Each New Year?
What do you believe in or measure every year? Is there a moment at the start of the year where you say to yourself: This year I resolve to read more? Or This Year I Will Drink More Water?
This gets me moving forward towards the challenges of the day.
Breath and breathing.
Just a week ago I got an Apple Watch. It is my first smart watch and it is life changing. The fitness apps are rocking my world and I love that it prompts me occasionally to stand or move or breathe.
So, this week it hit me that’s my 2021 word of the year – breath and breathe.
For some odd reason breath and breathing and control of breath during yoga has always been hard for me. The 2021 30-day challenge with Adrienne has helped me to recognize and breathe with purpose during exercise sessions, so I will keep working on that.
Word of the Year or Resolution?
Whatever your thing – Word of the Year, Vision Board, Resolution – when the intention is about self improvement and even sometimes making the world a better place, then I am all about that. I wish you success, love and strength in this year ahead.
What I Can Control
Right now, I might not control much but I can control this. Breath and breathing. Just this week it hit me that this is my 2021 word of the year – my goal and my mantra: breath, breathe. Just breathe.