My One Word and One Word 365.
The idea is that you choose one word to focus on during the year. Something that you want to see more of in your life.
I signed up for the OLW online course and completed 2011 with RESTORE. In 2012 I got as far as April with FOCUS. I planned for 2013 to be PRESENT however my father was taken into hospital in mid January and died at the beginning of February. OLW went out the window.
So I thought it would be great to sign up for this year - I particularly like the new format on Ali's website - and started thinking about a word. I had a long shortlist of words: released, wholehearted, unconfined, trust, forward, confidence, embrace, overcome and was fairly taken with EMBRACE.
In the Autumn of last year a class was offered by Oprah working through the book 'The Gifts of Imperfection' with the author Brené Brown.
I worked my way through a section on numbing in the Gifts Of Imperfection class and realised that I had 'closed down' since September 2012. This was the time that my father was taken seriously ill from a longstanding condition and meant that Roger and I were living partly at home and partly in Pembrokeshire, 200 miles away. In February 2013 my father died and we still continued to be living here and there whilst we cleared out his house. Doing all the official bits and clearing the house kept me really busy and so I could get away with not thinking about deep stuff. Those that know me, know that I think a lot - some would say too much! I tend to think about stuff rather than share it with people - after all other people have far worse problems than I have!
Brené spoke about numbing as closing down those emotions you don't want to experience by using something else. It could be food, alcohol, drugs, shopping or in my case - too much time on Facebook.
She also mentioned that you can't choose which emotions to ignore - it's all or nothing. So in blocking out the negative emotions you also block out the positive ones like joy.
I had realised before the Brené Brown course that I was suffering from depression. Not the 'I'm a bit down, well a lot down', but the real thing - I have suffered from clinical depression before and have usually noticed if it was creeping up on me again and taken avoiding action. But this time it settled on me and I struggled to take part in anything, especially my own life!
As I worked through the stuff on numbing I realised that the closing down began in 2006 when I didn't deal with the empty nest syndrome or the death of my mother in 2007. One of the things that Brené mentioned was that grief was the absence of normal. Since January 2006 various things have happened - some sad, some happy - but each of them has changed my normal. Roger retired in February 2012 and another season of our lives started. What I hadn't recognised was that each time my 'normal' had changed I hadn't acknowledged it and so by last September all the changes that I hadn't dealt with hit me.
And that's when the a-ha moment dawned and my word for 2014 came to me. PARTICIPATE. I am going to participate in life and although the things that I want to bring into my life are the same things I was trying to RESTORE in 2011, I feel more hopeful of success.
Just as I found my word I found the Documented Life Project and thought that would be just the thing to record my participation in life. So I am amalgamating my One Little Word journaling with my Documented Life Planner.
I also found a free study of Psalms through the year which I am also including in the planner.
And this page ready for the week just gone.
I am making more effort to get out of the house, to connect with people in real life as well as online. To be able to keep this journal going I have to actually live and take notice of the living. And so far I am doing well. There are far less down times than there were before Christmas. And I am recognising again when the down time is coming so that I can take appropriate action. I have learned not to commit myself to things that will cause me stress until such time as I feel strong again.
And during all this time I have had the support of a wonderful husband, fabulous family and great friends. Thanks to you all.
Thanks for reading through to the end.