In 2017 I decided to ditch the idea of New Year’s Resolutions in exchange for one simple word. That word would carry me through the new year, reminding me of all I wanted it to represent based on my past, present and future.
As I continue to collect annual words, they’ve gone beyond resolutions and teamed up to become a personal mantra.
When I can’t think of a specific intention in yoga class: Balance. Wellness. Grounded. Wholeness.
When I catch my thoughts wandering during meditation: Balance. Wellness. Grounded. Wholeness.
When I’m stressed and need to calm down: Balance. Wellness. Grounded. Wholeness.
When I get bad news from a doctor: Balance. Wellness. Grounded. Wholeness.
Those four words didn’t just get me through the last four years of goal-setting. They continue to serve me on a near daily basis as reminders of my priorities and what is most important in my life.
As 2020 neared its highly anticipated end, I started thinking about what word I would choose to guide me through 2021. Last year, the word Wholeness stuck with me because of an article I read. The year before, Grounded caught my eye after making lists of possible fitting words. I chose Wellness three years ago as I prepared for my hysterectomy. And my first word, Balance, popped into my head at the end of a yoga practice.
My word for 2021 presented itself in a different way. It’s actually a word I found myself saying repeatedly throughout 2020, but out of negativity, stress and frustration. So I decided to bring it with me into 2021, only with the opposite slant. I decided to flip the script and use that word for positivity only, the way the word is supposed to be used.
That word is:
“When we develop patience, we find that we develop a reserve of calm and tranquility.” ~ The Dalai Lama
Like most Americans, my stress levels in 2020 hit unsustainable levels thanks to coronavirus. I was constantly exhausted and emotionally depleted. It was in the moments when I had nothing left in the tank when I would say that word in negativity.
I don’t have the patience to read through to the end of all 500 novel-length emails the kids’ schools keep sending.
I don’t have the patience to meal plan and make a long grocery list.
I don’t have the patience for this guitar lesson.
I don’t have the patience to research new doctors/medications/treatment plans.
I don’t have the patience to do this, that or the other.
I said some variation of that sentence so many times that by the end of 2020 I wondered if there was anything I did have patience for.
But after living nearly a year now through a pandemic that seems like it will never end, patience is exactly what I do need.
Patience to read through those important school emails.
Patience to meal plan and make long grocery lists to cut down on trips to the store.
Patience for the guitar lessons because it’s a hobby I enjoy and gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Patience to research doctors/medications/treatment plans because headache relief is close.
Patience with myself on days when pain/stress/fatigue/work/appointments/pandemic anxiety leave me overwhelmed.
Patience to do hard things.
Patience with other people who are doing hard things.
Patience to get through this pandemic that seems like it will never end.
Patience to know that one day it will.
I know that patience is a process. I know that some days I’ll have more patience than others. And I know that practicing patience will incorporate the lessons I’ve learned from my other one-word resolutions, as I add this new word to my growing mantra.