“Whatever the present moment contains, embrace it as if you had chosen it yourself.” — Eckhart Tolle
I’ve long since traded away the idea of New Year’s resolutions for a one-word theme. A single word with layered meanings—an action verb and a way of being. After mediating about it for a good long while, I chose EMBRACE as my Word of the Year for 2019.
I know, I know: I’m running with the pachyderms, lagging way behind. No judgment, though: Let’s embrace this moment, celebrate the now! Speaking of which, it seems apropos to include some of my favorite exhibits at the Chinese Lantern Festival–an annual event that embraces old and new equally, and breathes new life into ancient traditions.
Let’s start with a simple definition. Embrace means: to clasp or hold close with the arms, usually as an expression of affection, as in a hug. It can also mean: to include as part of something broader. And here’s the kicker: to take up willingly and enthusiastically.
It’s a catch-all word, embrace, applicable to virtually every aspect of our lives. Here’s how I want to apply it, in 2019:
EMBRACE NEW FRIENDSHIPS: If we’re long-time friends, I’ll hug your neck every time I see you. Not so, if we’re meeting up for the very first time. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that I’m a bit of an introvert. Small talk? Not for me. Large parties? Nosiree. But here’s the thing: I want to switch things up a bit this year. Mind you: High-fives and handshakes are perfectly fine. I’ll embrace whatever makes you comfortable. But because I value deep friendships, I want to get better at moving past “How-do-you-do” to “Bring it on in.”
EMBRACE ADVENTURE: More wheeee than whoa!—that’s my motto. Know me for a minute, and you’ve got my number on that. But here’s the caveat: I’m not always as cautious as I could be, nor am I as nimble as I’d like. Boy howdy, I’ve got the scars to prove it! But hmmm…you know what I’m really good at? Brushing off the dust, embracing the lessons, and moving on. So this one’s pretty easy: In 2019, I plan on jumping into new adventures with both feet –eyes on the prize, no looking backward.
EMBRACE PHYSICAL CHANGES: The woman in my mirror looks very different, now, than the image I’ve always pictured in my mind’s eye. Oh sure, I can climb rocks and plant roses. I challenge myself on the regular, take long walks and read up a storm. But time stands still for no one. So 2019 is about physical conditioning and acceptance, agility and endurance. No put-downs allowed! Better to embrace life’s transitions with open arms, I think, than to waste time worrying about the inevitable.
EMBRACE ALL THAT I AM, AND WHO I AM MEANT TO BE: Compliments make me uneasy, and it’s doubly hard for me to toot my own horn. But we need to start with a baseline, right? So here goes. I’m an optimist by nature. I’m open-minded, curious, and creative. I lead with my heart. I want to embrace (and strengthen) my superpowers, in the service of a meaningful life. I need also to recognize their polar opposites, in myself and in others. How better to distinguish healthy behaviors from destructive tendencies, embracing differences while affording ourselves grace?
EMRACE ALL THAT 2019 HAS TO OFFER, but release expectations. No gripping. No grasping. Even with all that squeezing, a Facebook friend suggests, things can (and do) slip through our fingers.
In 2019, I’m embracing the moment. Breathing in, breathing out. Being here, now.
Living in a state of wide-eyed wonderment. Grateful all that’s good, pure, and lovely in the world. Lit from within by the Source of all light.