The past few weeks have passed in a blur…just where did 2017 go? School was in session right up through December 22nd, leaving only the weekend to finish last minute preparations for Christmas and the whirlwind that was about to ensue. And once family left on Sunday, I had time for a bit of celebrating before waking up yesterday to a new year.
In spite of the time warp, I have been thinking about a word to guide 2018 as well as reflecting on last year’s word. For 2017, I chose the word possibility. Possibility is a great word, and as I read last year’s post I could still feel the reasons I chose this word. But what I have learned about a word as a talisman is that I need a word that requires action, a word that reminds me to do something when the going get rough or stagnant and I need that proverbial kick in the butt,
So for some weeks now I’ve been trying on words. Even this morning I thought I had settled on my word, but found myself reconsidering as I pulled out my computer to begin writing. I thought reach would be that perfect word, encouragement to go beyond my comfort zone, to look past the edges of my sightline. But suddenly, reach seemed too stagnant, too grabby, too self-serving. I needed a word with more layers, something to encourage me to go beyond, but also to be flexible, introspective, and compassionate.
Stretch…somehow it feels right. I need to make space in my life for more stretching, allow this body to bend, to regain the flexibility that I’ve allowed to erode as yoga has faded from my regular routines. I want to stretch my mind and my thinking, remember to listen carefully to others and to consider perspectives different from my own.
I want to stretch time, gathering up minutes that turn into hours that I waste doing things that don’t matter and return to more writing, reading, and photography. While I still always fit those activities into my life, I know I can be more mindful and deliberate about making them a priority. I want to grow my skills, stretching to learn something new each day.
I intend to stretch my legs, walking and hiking into new places and seeing familiar places in new ways. And I want to stretch out my passport and travel, exploring some new venues–those places we’ve talked about visiting but haven’t quite gotten to. I will also keep stretching low, picking up those little boys who are almost not babies anymore! Stretch to reach those small hands that are so eager to explore the world, offering me new insights on teaching and learning.
I can already feel the muscles in my back and shoulders unknot and relax, knowing that each stretch will result in flexibility and strength–a combination that seems perfect for 2018.
And as a reminder, a photo from my New Year’s Eve beach walk of an egret stretching into flight. Like the egret, I will stretch my wings, pay attention to my surroundings, and even stir up the waters to uncover the tasty tidbits beneath. (Have you ever watched an egret hunt? I love the way they stomp and rustle the waters to get the fish to come into view as they search for food.)
What will you choose as your One Little Word for 2018?