At the end of every year, I choose a word for the upcoming year. I know many of you do the same. The key is not to overthink it. The word must choose you, rather than you forcing a word into your brain through logic and will.
For 2021, two words came to me: nourish and cultivate. I was underwhelmed with these but came to realize over the course of the year that they made sense.
Usually, I’m still waiting for a word to arrive well into a year. So, I was excited when 2022’s word came to me early: Bloom.
“Bloom” might seem an odd choice as we again sit in the middle of a raging pandemic. But I’m trusting in the Universe and its process. It hasn’t let me down yet. And it’s usually when it appears to make the least sense that it’s saving me from something or bringing me to a greater good.
It’s also not lost on me that flowers usually bloom only after they’ve been nourished and cultivated. Many bloom under even the worst of circumstances. We’ve all seen a wildflower poking through a sidewalk crack. My friend Sarah said the rosebush her mother gave her was still blooming in December. That’s a Christmas miracle because she lives in a seaside town in England. English winters aren’t flower friendly.
The point is, if we only choose to bloom when conditions are perfect, there would be little blooming in our lives and a lot of fallow years.
I’m also a big believer in things that make you go hmmm. For instance, someone who recognizes the times we’re living in but also thrives because the alternative, frankly, sucks. Our world tends to have difficulty with things that are not absolutes. It’s why we still have a hard time accepting strong women leaders and gentle male ones. Why so many give their stamp of approval to the judgmental churchgoer but spurn the kind agnostic.
Yet another example–someone who craves peace but learns the art of a proper defense in order to keep that peace. My youngest son is gentle. At a shotgun range, however, within seconds and without seeming to try, he can place three shots in a perfect line across the neck of the target. He’s a natural marksman who doesn’t hesitate. Yet, he’s no warmonger or right-wing gun enthusiast. He just had a father who shoots for sport and a brother who is military trained. I guess he also took my teaching of “Speak softly and carry a big stick” a bit too literally. Teddy Roosevelt’s adage, loosely translated in my house, means live and let live but know how to protect yourself and those you love.
For me, that had nothing to do with firearms. Instead, it meant having to hurt one that I loved to save the other two during my divorce. I sobbed about it more than once in the shower where no one could hear me. But then I pulled myself together and did what I had to do.
It can mean different things in different situations. The point is—two seemingly opposite things can live within a single person. The balance between the two is where strength lies.
I plan on blooming in that balance in 2022, embracing all the opposites that live within me. Finding a way to have them all coexist in a rare blooming tea that can be freaking beautiful when brewed correctly. Is it a tea? A flower? It’s both. Uncommon?
Yes. That’s the point.