My word of the year for 2017 is grace. I chose that word at the end of 2016 because I knew I would need a simple reminder to surrender my tendencies to control, my expectations and my attachments to the outcome of my intentions. It's been a year of intense growth. Learning how grace works and discovering what it means to get out of my own way has been exhilarating, and at times, excruciatingly humbling, embarrassing and painful.
Through a process of trial and error, I was able to observe just how much I was blocking my own progress. mostly due to my mistaken, but very primal belief that if I let go of the rudder of my life I would surely crash. What a relief to learn that letting go is precisely what is needed for the Divine Intelligence (the Highest Good of life outside of the realm of the small egoic mind) to provide better-than-what-we-could-imagine inspiration, connections, opportunities and ultimately solutions to whatever our current situation requires.
Again and again I discovered that if I stopped being attached to life giving me exactly what I wanted, I made space for something much better. Being patient and putting my own agenda on pause, made room for the beauty and gifts of grace, blowing my mind pretty much every time.
Over the course of the year, spite of the evidence, fear still arose and tempted me to go back to my default of "doing something, anything" approach, rather than simply relaxing, staying present and listening to my inner guidance (which never fails me). After a few tough lessons with humbling outcomes, I realized that my old beliefs and habits weren't working, making the temptation to cling to the rudder less appealing.
Though I knew something about how grace worked, this past year I wanted to go even deeper than my random glimpses of the miracles and magic that seemed to accompany it. I wanted grace to become front and center in my life. To do that, I made surrender and trust a daily practice. Instead of resisting the tests and the challenges that triggered my fear, I welcomed them. I reframed them by seeing them as a way to open myself to life's gifts.
Instead of wanting security and predictability, I accepted the bumpy ride of uncertainty and embraced the mystery of the unknown.
With grace as a central part of my life, I felt less alone than ever before in my life. I noticed that the less I tried to control things, the more my life flowed. My fears lessened significantly, and my mind, instead of racing around like a panicked child, began to quiet. Knowing I could trust life, allow me to self-soothe with less effort. Since I wasn't as freaked out by things that didn't go my way, new doors opened much more quickly, strengthening my resolve and my faith.
I've come a long way from where I was a year ago when I first chose grace as my word of the year. However, I'm also still learning.
Big lessons have many layers. Right when I think I've reached a level of mastery with something, I discover a deeper level with more nuances to learn.
The progress I've made with grace this year gives me hope, especially as I ponder what my word of the year will be for 2018. A couple of possibilities have been surfacing, but none so far infused with the electricity that grace was.
I still have the rest of this month to continue working with grace. New layers have been showing up just in the past few days, pointing to even deeper levels of letting go and trusting no matter how things appear. As I write this, I'm stretching--it can be pretty humbling to see where I'm still stuck, still holding onto the subtlest desire to write the story of what happens rather than wait with curiosity and wonder to see what life has in store. Because life with grace is ultimately a collaboration, a big shift away from the lone wolf approach to one in which one feels connected to all that is, a part of the cosmic dance of life.