Every year for the past few years, I have chosen a word that would define the upcoming year, using it to set the tone of what is to come. Sometimes this word would be gifted to me when listening to someone speak on a podcast or at an event, sometimes I would find myself looking up words to see how closely they resemble the feelings and intentions I wanted to set for the year ahead, and sometimes I would just stumble onto it while reading an article or a book. And in these latter cases, it is usually a word I have never heard before, feel curious about, and need to look up the definition. In any case, they all come from some nudge within or I have been divinely guided towards it, one way or another.
In 2017, the first time the idea to choose a word for the year was given to me, Elysian was my choice. I had come across it when doing a google search at the suggestion of a co-worker. She had been observing this practice for several years and encouraged me to try it for myself. Everything about this word was beautiful to me. I was obsessed and had to hang on to it for a second year, carrying it with me into 2018. I wanted to be divinely inspired with such surpassing excellence that I felt touched by the Gods. This word was used to drive me forward, to push limits and reach for things I would not have otherwise reached for. It gave me the courage to leave a company that was draining me energetically and try something new and uncommon in the insurance industry. It was the compass that guided me towards my first collaborative writing opportunity which firmly set me on the path to becoming an author. And it was largely the reason I invested thousands of dollars into coaching, mentorship and personal development that year, because I wanted to radically change my life. Through this, I met some awe inspiring women on my new journey, and have been so incredibly grateful.
During a course, one of the coaches had used the word intrinsic in describing the situation. I don’t even fully recall what it was she had been talking about because something in that word caught my full attention and all I heard was its definition; Belonging naturally, essential. It reverberated through my ears and in through my head and heart. That was the word for my new year.
Now, one should consider their words wisely; we all know this. And while the intention behind choosing intrinsic for 2019 was to connect deeply to the world around me, I instead became obsessed with just “belonging”, somewhere. I wanted so desperately to find my place in the world, with these women who created great change and impacted lives, that when the year was coming to a close and we launched The Great Canadian Woman at the Summit that October, I was overcome with fear and anxiety about how out of place I actually felt. I had become acutely aware of how large the gap between myself and the women in my life actually was, that I almost skipped the whole thing and stayed home. Everything felt so forced and unnatural, and so many truths came to the surface about the life I was living and the people in it that I just wanted to escape. Thankfully I was more afraid of the shame I would feel by not attending, than I was of feeling like an outsider. So, as I attended the weekend’s events, I was reminded that meaningful connections begin within and with nature. Returning home to Alberta that fall, I spent the remainder of the year, every weekend, hiking and spending time in the woods and on the trails being alone with myself and my thoughts and just being. I spent a lot of time the last few months of the year reflecting on the struggles I had brought myself, from the immense physical pains of a very angry sciatic nerve, to the mental anguish I was inflicting by forcing myself to fit into shoes that were never mine to fill. I reflected on what I wanted my life to one-day look like and how I wanted to feel about it, and decided to look up words that meant “satisfying”, and “improved” or “better”.
To become better, more bearable or satisfying, and to improve, is to Ameliorate. This word has been scribbled on the top of every month of every calendar in my house for this year. Its written on my whiteboards where I braindump ideas. It and its full definition are stored in the notes on my cell phone and it hangs on both my refrigerator and laundry room door as a reminder of what I wanted to do with the year. Keeping this word on the forefront of everything I do and see has been hugely beneficial in sticking to my goals. Especially with such a tough, tumultuous year as 2020. This year I have experienced the ending of friendships, the loss of my job, dead appliances and necessary home repairs that cost money I wasn’t sure I would have, and it has found me locked away at home unable to visit family as a result of the pandemic and new rules that have been placed on the world. But, it has also been the year that I healed my back because I finally sought the care of a chiropractor. It has seen me lead and publish my first book collaboration with The Goddess Guild. It has been the year I found a new company that not only matches my personal values, but supports its team through personal growth and development. It has been the year for working on my mental health issues with a therapist. It has been the year that I followed through on my goals to launch an online store and generate some real income through my art – something I had thought would never be possible. Knowing one cannot expect to improve their life if they don’t also change their surroundings, it has also been the year that I finally tackled some home renovations where I was able to give myself a beautifully renovated bathroom, proving that I could in fact, do it myself. This year, I feel like I finally have the hang of this whole goal setting thing.
So, as this ridiculous year comes to an end, and we approach 2021 with trepidation, caution and heaps of hope for worldwide healing, I have chosen Resplendent to carry me forward into the next chapter. I am setting the intention for an attractive and impressive life, that is richly colorful and sumptuous. How delicious does that sound?! My goal for 2021 is to paint my life with blinding vibrancy, putting my art on more walls, getting my stories into more books and on more podcasts. I want 2021 to be the year I stop playing catch up and start enjoying life as a whole again. I want a deliciously sumptuous life to unfold in full, radiant color. And as an artist, that should be easy enough… right?!
I realize that if I want to create a resplendent life through the upcoming year, I am going to have to be even more determined and dedicated to my goals and take a lot more action than I ever have in the past. But, I have also learned that it is hugely important to be forgiving, have compassion and be flexible throughout the entire journey. The word pivot has been used a lot this year as entrepreneurs have had to make massive and radical change in their business and how they show up in the world. Change has been unavoidable and if one wasn’t willing to shift, or bend, they broke. We have all experienced severe hardships, major struggle and have taken leaps of faith so large that many of us have yet to touch ground. The world is looking forward to the end of 2020, with hopes for something better, brighter and healthier, but I want to remind you that if it feels forced, perhaps it is not as intrinsic to the elysian life you have planned for yourself, and you need to either ameliorate your strategy or let it go. See what I did there?
Every year, every experience, everything we have all gone through up to this point has been preparing us for something bigger, maybe something better, but certainly something… else. The relationships we need, the skills required, the tools that will be essential to our survival has been provided to us. So, it is now up to us to choose how the year ahead will go.
So… Shall we make the year resplendent?
Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years in each endeavor after the other as I sought to find myself and explore my passions. It means the world to have you in my corner, cheering me forward as I try to make sense of the world and entrepreneurship.
As a thank you, I have added a 20% discount to all apparel items in the store, with discount code NEWYEARSALE. Releasing this month are 2 more collections - Dirty Secrets and Miss-Behave. I hope you enjoy them!
Happy New Year!
Much Love, The Awkward Artist FJM