"What's your word for 2012?"
Our BodyPump instructor asked us that on the Wednesday night before Christmas and suggested we think about it and come to the Christmas Eve morning class with our answer. She told us her word for 2011 was "Enjoy" and for 2012 is "Create, " and if we ponder, a word will come to us. Several of the people in the class have done this in past years and threw out the words they had chosen: Variety. Change. Survive. Consistency. Lead.
An interesting concept, having a word for the year.
I wasn't sure if I even wanted to have a word.
But after thinking about it, and remembering a book I read this fall, I chose my word:
And committed to it by writing it down on the list our instructor provided that Saturday morning.
The book I had read a few months back is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, recommended by a friend whose husband also has dementia.
I borrowed the book from the library and had to keep renewing it, because it presents some complex concepts, and because I had other, lighter books to read that I would pick up instead of plowing through The Power of Now.
Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual person and quotes from the writings of the great world religions.
Here's what my simple brain could grasp after the first reading and that I could relate to:
Focusing on now brings inner peace.
Continuing to react emotionally to things that happened in the past is futile, as Now is the time that truly matters. I realized that the times I get irritated or frustrated with G, when I'm repeating the same thing to him for the millionth day in a row, is because I've said it so many times in the past. "Move your feet back before you try to stand up. Move your feet back. Your feet - move them back. Back. Move them back." But - if I can focus on right now, then how many times I've said it before doesn't matter. Only what is happening right now matters, and that helps me get a sense of perspective, to speak calmly and gently, which is much better for both of us.
Reacting emotionally to things that haven't happened yet is also futile. I also realized that when G is having trouble with something that previously was not a problem for him, that also makes me irritable or angry. When I thought about why this made me so upset, it's because there is an underlying fear that now he and I have a new challenge, another indicator of decline, another process that is broken and can't be repaired but has to be coped with, adapted to, dealt with. But really, often something that is a new problem is a one time event, and by the next day, G is back to being able to do whatever it was that caused a problem the prior day. So again, if I can focus on now, instead of projecting into and fearing an unknown future, I am able to coach G through whatever it might be with less drama.
Here is a 10 minute video of the author, expressing some of the concept.
He says, "When you are no longer seeking yourself in past and future, then you can honor this moment, and honoring, embrace the now. Because it is life, it is an expression of life. Embrace what is."
Obviously, my initial take on this complex book is pretty superficial.
I read a lot of books, almost all borrowed from the library. Only if I think I'll reread a book on a regular basis will I purchase it, and then it's usually a used copy. Part of my frugality, unfortunately for the authors and publishers trying to make a living. This book is one I'll be buying to read again, trying to understand more of what can help bring about inner peace.
So - do you have a word for 2012?