I rang in the new year back home in Canada, near Montreal and near Quebec City, visiting family, introducing my boy to winter, and going skiing for the first time in at least 15 years (it was terrifying and exhilarating.) Silas and I arrived back home late Monday night, so very happily reuniting with his daddy, though it's taken mama a little while longer to make peace with the house that daddy had been living in, bachelor-style, for almost two weeks. But the act of cleaning and clearing spaces in my home, the slow process of re-entry, has actually been a very fitting way to start 2012.
This January my mind has been turning to the beginning of last year. When 2011 dawned I was 34 weeks pregnant. My little boy is now almost one year old. It is staggering to consider all that happened in the past 12 months--all the growth, both the astounding physical growth from infant to almost toddler, but also all the internal growth, of my growing ever more into motherhood, with ever more ease and grace. It feels so good to be here, now, to have figured out some stuff, to be getting some good sleep, to feel ready and excited about what lies ahead.
I love the practice of choosing a word for the year, to inform, inspire, and guide our development and endeavors for 12 new months. Two years ago, the year when we were trying to conceive, the word I chose was process. Last year, I didn't chose a word: it was chosen for me, and the word was baby. My son is whom guided and inspired me, my own little guru. This year, my word whispered itself to me in the last weeks of December, and as it landed in my ears and in my heart, hope and excitement grew.
My word for 2012 is expand.
Often when I want to think about what is needed in my life, I turn to the principles of sequencing that I use when putting together a yoga class, or a personal practice. The idea is to create a flow in which movements balance each other out. Folded, closed-in postures like forward bends are counterposed with heart-opening backbends. Twists are neutralized with simple forward folds, and so on.
Last year I spent folded, closed in on myself. Holding baby, gazing into his little bright eyes, nursing forever and forever (he would only nap at the breast or in a carrier for the first, oh, six months of his life.) But also looking deeply into myself, trying to make sense of the mess that my heart, head and moods had become. Crying a lot. Nursing my bruised, black-and-blue sense of self.
But in the last weeks of December, we finally got Silas to sleep through the night, and the dark and menacing clouds lifted, revealing clear blue skies, and hope for the future. I stepped into 2012 ready to open my arms and heart, to embrace this new life, excited to expand. To open to possibility, to grow into areas where seeds have been planted. Even while I was a freaked-out, sleep-deprived new mama, I still managed to lay some new foundations for myself: I started this here blog with much excitement, I firmed and deepened my commitment to my meditation practice, I discovered new strength in my mama's body by joining a gym and exploring new territories in my yoga practice, I explored my love for photography with a new tool (iPhone, I love you) and a new subject (Silas, you adorable cutie!) So in 2012, I don't want to launch new ventures--I want to grow, develop, expand into all of these inspiring areas, with an open heart and open arms. In just the same way as my almost-toddler is embracing each new day, each new experience--open wide arms, open wide grin.
Oh 2012, I think I like you. A lot.
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Keep checking back into this space over the coming weeks, as I spent the rest of January exploring more deeply all the areas and ways into which I will expand in 2012. Do you have a word for 2012? What areas do you want to expand into this new year? Share in the comments, or link back to your own blog posts!
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One more thing! If you want a resource to help plan the year ahead, I cannot think of a better one--and it's a free offering!--than Susannah Conway's Unravelling 2012 workbook. I worked with it back in December, and it's beautifully and thoughtfully put together. Do yourself a favor and check it out!