Late last year, I was introduced to the idea of choosing one word. A word to set an intention for the year ahead. A word to guide you and to measure your decisions. This sounded like absolutely my cup of joy-searching-tea, so I dived right into the word hunt. It took months. I toyed with a few ideas (you have to get these things right, or you're stuck with a dud for the whole year), but to be honest, I only came up with a winner the morning of the 1st January. I feel like my brain likes the drama scraping in right on deadline.
My word for 2018 is 'Soul'.
Once the word came to me I got very excited and announced it to my sleepy friends and family (everyone camped out at our place for New Years Eve). I then spent the day saying the word over and over in my head, figuring out why I picked it. The more I think about it, the more excited I get about what 'soul' will do, and mean, for me.
But first, what is a soul? I believe a soul is what's left when you take away the obvious things like your body and your thoughts. It's the truth behind everything, minus the brain chatter and self doubt. It's a place of safety and comfort and a connection to your purpose. It's the nurturing, loving, joyful, accepting ball of love, right at the centre of your being. I also believe our souls connect us to each other and whatever resides in the great beyond. A soul doesn't need much to be happy. It doesn't spend its time searching for pleasure, or answers. It's content just being. All a soul needs to be happy is space to be quiet and breathe.
Here are five ways that I'll be applying 'soul' to my life in 2018.
1. Living with Soul
I want to bring soul into my every day life by being present, being excited and letting love shine through in everything I do. Whether I'm painting an artwork, chopping vegetables or trying to get my four year old to brush her teeth – doing it with soul will make it better. Living with soul also means taking care – of myself and those around me.
2. Being Guided by my Soul
I'd like to consult my soul in decision making. I want to find quiet moments to listen to it, to guide me towards my purpose and joy. Decisions made in fear or ego invariably end up leading us down the wrong path – if I apply the soul-filter to decisions, I quiet the nagging voice of ego to find what's right for me.
3. Connecting with Soul
I once learned in a meditation session, about the Hawaiian principles of Huna. One part of the description included the idea that each time we meet a person, or another soul, an arc of connection forms between us. On of the most important things we can strive for, is to create as many of these arcs as possible along our journey. We're increasingly disconnecting ourselves from each other and our communities (mostly by staring at our phones), so I want to make a point of connecting. Looking people in the eye and asking how they're doing – most importantly, really caring about their response.
4. Painting with Soul
Those of you who have been following my art journey might have noticed that last year was all about of diversification. I was exploding with ideas – ways of painting and applying my art to different mediums. From my very first mural, to writing and illustrating a children's book (yet to be published). By the end of the year, I was frazzled. Spreading myself over so many mediums – along with my family life and my day job – was taking its toll. This year I want to put my soul into deciding what feels right – rather than answering 'yes' to every creative whim that crosses my mind.
5. Observing with soul
I want to open my eyes and activate my senses. Is it even possible to look at a tree – I mean really look at a tree, watching it move and breathe – and not be completely awe struck? Or to feel the breeze on your cheeks without a smile creeping onto your face? Is that not the purpose of being alive? Observing with soul will allow me to truly experience the joy of having a body, in a living, changing world, and to feel the wonder that it deserves.
Are you looking to set an intention for the year? Try distilling it down to a single word. It's not too late! Write it on post-it notes and stick them all over your house and your car – keep coming back to it. You'll know your word if you spend a little time thinking – find the one that gives you goose bumps, those are the best kind.
Happy New Year, joy-seekers.
Lets do this together.
Would you like to inject more joy into your daily life? Join this Facebook Group - On Joy, and be part of our joy-seeking conversation.