My Life

My Word for 2018

A few years ago, I decided to forego the annual resolution gig. Not that I was always good about making resolutions or keeping them. Resolutions tend to make me focus on behavioral changes which doesn’t always last and often results in guilt rather than growth. Honestly, if I made it to February with a resolution intact, I would celebrate that as a win.

Five years ago, I stumbled upon some folks who had sworn off resolutions and, instead, were beginning each new year with a theme word – a word they would aspire to; a word they would grow toward rather than a behavior they would run away from.

I liked the idea. A lot.

2014 was my first year with a theme word and it made all the difference. Choosing one word gave me a focus that no resolution every had. It gave me a clarity about decision-making. It gave me a plumb line by which I measured growth and movement.  It pushed me forward without weighing me down with guilt. And it created space throughout the year to be surprised by God with opportunities to lean into that word.

After a lot of thought and prayer, my word for 2018 is awake.

Over the past year, I’ve studied the Enneagram in more depth. The Enneagram is “an ancient personality type system with an uncanny accuracy in describing how human beings are wired, both positively and negatively.” (from The Road Back to You) It has been a life-changing journey for me to become more self-aware through studying the Enneagram.

I am a 9w1 – which only makes sense if you understand the Enneagram lingo (or you google it for a quick generalization.) There is so much to each personality type and their wing preference I won’t go into but my self-awareness did lead me to my word for the year.

Nines are known as the peacemaker, the mediator – which is a wonderful thing … unless you are constantly asleep to yourself in order to keep the peace.

Nines are referred to as types who “went to sleep,” specifically referring to numbing their vitality as they lose touch with their selves, allowing their opinions, desires, and emotions – especially anger – to go sub-surface. All of this is done for the sake of keeping the peace, not making waves, preserving relationships, and minimizing conflict, and most of it is unconscious rather than deliberate.

A year ago, I began seeing a spiritual director who was trained in the enneagram. This was important to me as I believed it would help me understand how I experience the world around me and would give me some answers to reoccurring struggles in my life. In our second or third session she said, “Melissa, you don’t believe your voice matters.” I’ll go into more detail about this in future blog posts but this little phrase woke me up. The past year I’ve been trying to understand it more and, as I head into 2018, I am ready to live fully awake.

As Nines get in touch and keep in touch with their deepest self – and this can be difficult and exhausting at first – they come into their vibrancy and going back to sleep is no longer possible. Staying awake, fully awake, becomes their challenge, but then the door becomes wide and open. My prayer and intention is wake up to my voice, to my preferences, to my opinions. They really do matter.

Do you make resolutions? Do you choose a word for the year? Either way, I’d love to hear what you are thinking and feeling as we head into a brand-new year teeming with possibilities.

Don’t Go Back to Sleep by Rumi
For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the door sill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.

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