Up until now, I’ve not been the kind of person who makes New Year’s Resolutions. Making resolutions often sets us up for failure, which can do more harm than good. But it’s also true that the new year presents us with fresh energy, a sense of new beginning that’s palpable in the air. We are encountering “the first blank page of a 365-page book.” How can we honor and tap into this energy of new beginnings without setting ourselves up for failure?
This is where the One Word 365 movement comes in. The idea is to choose one word that sums up who you want to be and how you want to live during the next year. It’s about choosing to live with purpose and intentionality. The website promotes connections with your “tribe,” who are other people who have also chosen your word.
While surfing through the words chosen by other participants, I started to write down a list of the words that resonate with me. Candidates for my word included: Transform. Renew. Empower. Increase. Mindful. Awake. Grateful. After some deliberation, the word that resonated most with me is THRIVE, a word that I feel encompasses many of the other words I was considering.
Thrive is my word for 2015. What does it mean to Thrive?
Starting with dictionary definitions, to Thrive means:
- to grow vigorously; flourish; burgeon
- to gain in wealth or possessions; to prosper
- to reach a desired level of accomplishment; to prevail, triumph, or excel
- to progress towards or realize a goal despite circumstances
These definitions all refer to moving deliberately and vigorously towards a goal. The question then becomes: What’s the goal? If you’re growing vigorously towards some goal or accomplishment, what exactly is the thing that you’re trying to achieve? This is where Thrive begins to encompass the other words I was considering.
For me, to Thrive means to…
• renew my commitment to my goals daily.
• work vigorously towards transformation.
• increase gains in awareness and mindfulness.
• become more awake.
• reach a new level personal empowerment.
• progress toward a desired level of gratitude.
And it means to do these things despite the circumstances that will conspire to draw me off my chosen path. Honestly, I have been far too enchanted by my circumstances lately. I am humming along with the best of intentions, and suddenly Circumstances come and barge into my space… and I find myself I losing my focus on who I am and what I am doing. Circumstances can be enchanting in the way that they cast a spell on us. They cause us to take our focus off ourselves. They demand that we look at them. They demand that we respond to their needs. They demand that we change, that we constrict ourselves to live inside of them. Circumstances have a way of making us play small, by demanding that we play by their conditions instead of our higher goals.
What does it look like to be living from your circumstances?
Imagine that you are looking at yourself in a mirror. In your reflection, you are exploring your true self. But then something happens in the background, and you can see it reflected in a corner of the mirror. Let’s say another person walks by the mirror, and they make a judgmental comment about how they see your reflection in the mirror. Suddenly you take your focus off your own reflection, and you shift your attention to the person the background. When the person in the background makes a comment about your appearance, you start to ask yourself, is it true? And then you start to look at your own reflection through the lens of what they said. Instead of seeing yourself from your own perspective, from your own knowing of your true self, you begin to see yourself as reflected by their view of you. You might even begin to live your life in reaction to what’s happening in the background. This is when your life becomes constricted by the circumstances, because you have been seduced into thinking that the image as reflected by circumstances is the “real” you. You make some changes to this distorted reflection of yourself, hoping to please the circumstances in the background. But you can never truly please them. They just stand there, passing judgment on every change in your reflection. You’re playing small when you’re trapped in the image of how they see your reflection. You’re playing small when you’re not living your truth. You’re playing small when you forget that you can walk away from the mirror altogether.
That’s what I mean by being enchanted by circumstances. It’s like they have cast a spell over you. You’re more concerned about what’s going on in the background than what’s going on for you. You’re more concerned with satisfying the circumstances’ demands than satisfying yourself. You allow what’s going on in the background to influence how you see yourself. You may even lose touch with your sense of self– you may not even know who you are in the absence of direction provided by the circumstances.
What if you could break the spell of circumstances? What if you could see yourself as you truly are, without the expectations or limitations imposed by these circumstances? What if you could walk away from the old reflections, and choose to look at yourself with fresh eyes, in a mirror untarnished by circumstances?
We don’t need a New Year’s Resolution to choose this. We can make a choice to live this way every day. This year, I choose to not merely survive. I choose to Thrive.