Early January last year, I was beating myself up for not having the life I desired and felt I deserved. I was in a stagnant relationship while moving very slowly toward any of my dreams. (They often go hand in hand, don’t they?)
But two or so weeks into January 2016, reality was hitting, so I made big changes. And the catalyst was one simple but scary word: Truth.
Reflecting on how this word became the mantra that defined my entire year, I’m in awe of the power of simple, clear intention.
When the word for 2017 came to me after a discussion with a friend, I realised it could be even more confronting and powerful than ‘truth’ had been. So I’ve made this word my intention and mantra for 2017, and writing this post will make me accountable for living it. Eek.
Rewind: How ‘Truth’ Became a Powerful Mantra for 2016
Around this time last year, I noticed how snappy, impatient and intolerant I had become in my one year relationship. I resented someone for not meeting my expectations. And I hated myself for it. So I dug deep to ask myself some brutal questions.
The inner dialogue that unfolded in that moment revealed I was dissatisfied with my life because I wasn’t being truthful to who I was, and the relationship was a reflection of that. But I’d chosen that relationship, so I had to unchoose it.
From that point my life transformed. Not simply because I left the relationship, but because I’d chosen truth as my compass. Being truthful to who I am steered me toward beautiful connections, great friendships, nourishing conversations with inspiring people and opened up a whole new world of possibility.
It was far from plain sailing, but it was an epically transformative year. At every sticky moment, I returned to truth: I had to pause, check in and ask what my truth was. Sometimes I was left in a pit of confusion while desperately searching for answers.
Ultimately, truth always emerged from a place of trust and patience. If I asked the questions, truth would come. Of course, it’s an ongoing, humbling work in progress.
The greatest thing I began to discover was the difference between how fear and intuition felt in my body. I’ll be an eternal student of this lesson, but it floors me every time when the power of truth finally hits.
Our Desire to Evolve
Ultimately, the majority of us want better. Some want better homes or cars or jobs. But some of us simply want to be better people, give more love, receive more love, be more challenged and more fulfilled, have new and joyful experiences that make us feel alive and connected.
So each new year holds hope for our desire to evolve. We ponder, “Who do I want to be from here?”
There are few people I know who are brave enough to be their fullest, brightest and best in a given moment. I’m definitely not one of them.
As Marianne Williamson says, “We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”
And there are few people I know who wouldn’t nod their head in agreement to this statement.
So this new year I’m yearning to be curious, explore, express, create, play big, be courageous. I am shit scared of my own intention, but that’s the very point, right?
(Cue inspiring quote about fear).
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Why ‘Courage’ Means Confrontation
Courage is not about being reckless (been there, done that), it’s about exploring the potential of my existence despite (fear of) what others might think and despite the limitations I’ve been comfortable living within. Way more confronting.
In embracing courage as my mantra for this year, I am first called to confront fear in any moment I recognise an opportunity for growth. (It’s even frightening to accept that I can’t even imagine the instances in which I could be faced with fear).
But second I am called to hold myself accountable for being courageous; not least because I am publicly declaring my intention of courage. Next-level confronting.
Stepping into Courage
On January 1st, after several attempts last year, I became completely plant-based with my diet. It’s been less than three weeks but I’ve already had to be resolute about my choice with people I love who choose differently.
On the 2nd January I taught my first yoga class to a group of friends since completing teacher training in August last year. Speaking in public and drawing attention to myself were the worst enemies I managed to make my friends. Stepping into courage brought so much joy. I had an instant realisation that playing small is a disservice to existence on this earth.
I’ve learned the hard way that there is so much beauty to be found in being vulnerable in my relationship. But this means being braver than ever; diving in with abandon to unearth more magic.
Feeling the Fear and Doing it Anyway
And so, I’ve declared it: courage is my mantra for this year. I have the burning desire to own it because I have the innate knowledge that stepping into courage and confronting fear will bring abundance to all facets of my life. I just have to remember each time, as Gabrielle Bernstein says: “The goal isn’t to avoid fear. Instead the goal is to not believe in fear.”