This past year felt different than the several that had preceded it. Instead of constant big shifts and turbulence, figuring out what I was doing with my life, there was this soft sort of settling that happened. I was previously allergic to the word “settling,” but in 2017 I found my way into what it meant for me in the most positive sense.
It meant having a solid place to call home again, with a warm person and objects that we named our own. It meant a lot of travel, but always coming back to Tangier with a contented sigh and a rediscovered fondness for routine. It meant finding the importance of inner ritual and physical practice through yoga and more discipline in my dance work. It meant embracing the love in my life as steady, important forces- family, close friends, and self. That’s it- there was a steadiness to this year for me. A calm in between storms, if you will.
Of course, even a surface of calm has ripples and bubbles underneath. There were ups and downs and a lot of hopping around. Frequent travel caused things to stir and stay inspired. I made a list the other day of everywhere I went in 2017 and was astonished. When did I do all of that?
(Lists of cities are like poetry to my ears)
Some other notables of the year were:
-Completing my 200 hour yoga certification at Devanadi and getting to be a part of the beautiful community that was brought together for that month-long intensive.
-Taking part in dance residencies in 3 different countries and even choreographing a piece in just one week for Dansez Maintenant, the festival and residency in France.
-Successfully completing our second year of marriage. Wow. Which reminds me, we have an anniversary coming up very soon…
-Getting to spend time with my parents in Minneapolis twice during the year, plus meeting my brother in random places and seeing him perform.
-Actively practicing patience and learning a whole lot in the process.
-Teaching my first yoga class entirely in Arabic.
-Almost completing my reading goal of 3 books a month, which was 36 total for the year. Technically I read 35 1/2. Close enough.
-Growing and connecting with more of you in this little blog community. I am truly amazed by the way this space can form real friendship and camaraderie in a way that I didn’t think was possible in the virtual world. So thank you.
That is enough of what has passed.
I recently reread my blog post from the beginning of last year and saw I had noted that “I prefer soft intentions, background vibrations and goals in the form of curious baby steps.” While a lot has changed for me in a year, this still rings true as a way to set intentions and goals for what lies ahead. And some pretty weighty (but hopefully good) things lay ahead in my path.
While the word of 2017 was vibrance, as I was doing a little word cloud to brainstorm what sat right for 2018, it came to me that for such a big year I had to choose two. I couldn’t have one without the other.
So, let it be the year of Spine + Spirit.
Spine for strength, backbone, foundation and insistent stability. Spirit for lightness, radiance, compassion, and openness. The two balance and need each other- one tangible and one intangible.
Besides these words, it was a bit difficult to set definite large goals for the year. A lot hangs in the unknown for 2018, for me personally and many others, I think. The goals and intentions I jotted down sounded a bit flimsy and vague, like “embrace change,” “be more rigorous with work,” etc. I found myself searching for other people’s words to bolster my inspiration and once again (you’re probably tired of hearing me say this) I was listening to an On Being podcast when it came to me. Krista Tippett was interviewing Rebecca Solnit, a journalist and author, and near the end of the talk she said,
“…an opening is just an opening; you have to go through it and make something happen. And you don’t always win, but if you try, you don’t always lose.”
I rewound and listened to this again and then decided that this would be a part of my motto for the year. To find those openings and go through with full force- with a whole lot of spine + spirit.
Now not all of my intentions for 2018 ended up in the form of images and metaphors. I did list out some concrete items that help to flesh out the daily details and self-reminders, including:
-Read at least 40 books total.
-Return to a regular blogging schedule and stick to it. Remember that this space is your own practice of writing + collecting connected creativity (and making delicious food).
-Train in the studio minimum 3x a week.
-Keep up the practice of completing and sharing #ThursdayImprov videos.
-Be more strict about not turning on your phone until 1 hour after waking up and turning it off 1 hour before going to sleep.
-Meditate 10 minutes every day.
For once, I am avoiding the phrase “I can’t wait” for what will happen this year. The truth is, I can wait. I want to fully experience each step, each day that leads to those happenings, and that are actually small happenings within themselves. I want to bring that steadiness from last year on with me into the new year, staying patient, listening closely, and still staying strong (spine) and bright (spirit).
How are you looking ahead to 2018?