I’ve enjoyed the practice of leaning into a word or theme of the year for the past 7 years. Instead of setting specific goals for the year, I would set more generalized themes for the different areas of my life and then allow that to simmer down into one overarching theme. As time went on, the process changed and I found myself intentionally reflecting on the past year and praying about what the next year would hold while envisioning the kind of person I wanted to be when the calendar would flip once more to another year.
[want to look back with me? Enjoy one of the first blog posts I ever wrote about themes instead of goals from back in 2014 and the follow-up post the next year more about the themes in various parts of life instead. Read about my theme for 2017 and one about theme for 2018. And finally, one more about a recent them from 2019]
When 2021 began, I found myself really *trying* to find a word or theme for the year. What had come so seamlessly in 2020 wasn’t happening. I reflected, I pondered, I prayed, I told friends about the journey of trying to settle into something and nothing ever *felt* right. Nothing felt like something I could settle into. It felt like continually peeling back layers upon layers of words and phrases and always coming to something else until I was left with nothing.
And so, I waited.
Mind you, I didn’t wait nicely, or intentionally with patience abounding.
I spent time in the liminal space of acknowledging the over-commitment and spreading too thin of time that I unexpectedly found myself in during the transitional months from 2020-to 2021. When I could step back from it all, I did.
I committed to nothing.
I taught no yoga classes.
I added nothing to my schedule that didn’t have to be there.
I took time to reconnect with who I am as a person (yes, I actually took time to journal and write out what it is I actually like, what I like to do, what is exciting to me, what I value).
With the space to be and breathe again, I found myself incorporating more daily movement again (I joined a workout app; the one by Chris Hemsworth, of course, and went for walks almost daily). I found I was continually reminding myself ‘I HAVE TIME’. The day wasn’t ‘over’ at 3 pm. I had time to work out or get outside or read or linger.
As the year went on, the guiding theme of ‘I HAVE TIME’ became something I would actually say to myself over and over, day after day. I took it to heart. I left my schedule open unless it was for things I wanted to do that made me feel connected to who God made me to be. I had time to play and pursue other interests. I took on hobbies. I taught yoga less and, when I did teach, I called it ‘soul care yoga’ which felt aligned and intentional, and I taught classes that were inspired by the seasons. It turns out, ‘I HAVE TIME’ really was beautifully unfolding.
As we shifted from 2021 to 2022, the theme of ‘I HAVE TIME’ served me well and I approached the time of reflection gently with curiosity. I didn’t want to ‘force’ a theme for the year. After all, when I tried to ‘come up with something’ for 2021, nothing came and I felt kind of defeated at something I usually had no trouble doing. I reflected using the prompts from my Passion Planner, the prompts from the Advent 2021 study book from She Reads Truth and then did my own journaling about the things that were bubbling to the surface. Instead of sitting down with the intent to ‘find my theme for the year’, I approached it with open hands, taking what happened in 2021 as a lesson: the invitation for the year will come when it’s time. In these moments of prayerful and intentional reflection, I started to see tidbits of what God was inviting me into for the year. As I was praying one night the invitation presented itself, ‘RETHINK’.
In all of my reflecting and the invitations into 2022 I had been feeling; the pause, the contemplation, the wonder, the curiosity, it felt like the summation was found in the word ‘RETHINK’.
Rethinking means stopping the flow of time and taking space to pause.
In that space of pause, it’s getting curious about what’s there– habits, questions, default settings, old ideas and new inspirations.
It means taking moments to imagine what could be possible outside of the realm of previous assumptions, to dream big, to enjoy the space and to always consider that there is more than I think. More ideas, more understanding, more compassion, more beauty, more fun, more adventure, more softness, more time. To rethink is an intentional stepping back and looking in. To step back and get curious. Then, to step back in. It’s remembering that life isn’t black and white but a beautiful rainbow of ideas, beliefs, people, places, things, concepts, and the colour I see anything is just one way to view things.
[At this moment, I am reminded of the scene in Avengers Endgame where the ancient one is explaining to Bruce Banner about the flow of time. Taking the step back and looking at the flow of time and how one decision can create a new timeline. Or, to be a little more current, welcome to the TVA.]
Making space in 2021 allowed me the time to become more aware of my own default settings and pursue my own curiosities. As I look back at 2021, it was the beginning work of the rethinking that I feel invited into by the Creator for 2022. In spiritual direction the phrase ‘holy curiosity’ has always stuck out and that’s a way I want to approach 2022. Curious, humble, open.
There’s no ‘follow this list to find your theme for 2022’ that I am offering to you this year [feel free to check out this post from 2019 where I offer some reflection]. Countless other incredible spiritual directors, life coaches, and just about anyone and everyone else in the field of self-awareness have something to offer you. Today, I am just here to share that sometimes, the process is more organic as you spend time with the Spirit of Love. There’s no magic prayer, question, time or place that will make it happen. Enjoy the moment with the one who made you. Get curious and see what comes up for you. That is my only piece of encouragement for you as we move into 2022.
What’s your theme or word for 2022? I’d love to hear! Share below if you’d like and let’s start a conversation.