my wordI recently finished facilitating an online course called “Choose Your Guiding Word for for people with chronic pain or illness”. I participated in the course along with everyone else. The month before the course, I had already been thinking about what my guiding word for 2016 might be. A variety of words had floated through my mind…SURRENDER, DO, NOURISH, and DISCIPLINE. I wanted to stay open though, so when the course started I completed the exercises with no expectations and I was surprised to find FOCUS was the word that came loud and strong to me. At first I was averse to the word FOCUS as it felt so “harsh” and “boring” compared to the “softer” words I usually choose. Past words of mine have included PEACE and BE.

I reflected on this and realized that my past words were gentle and calming as that is what I needed at the time. Those words led me to establish a committed daily meditation practice and incorporate mindfulness into all aspects of my day. My priority at the time was to create practices to help me handle the setbacks that my pain causes me on a regular basis.  With this solid calm base, I am now ready to FOCUS.

Overall, I recognize that this year, I need to FOCUS my time on activities that are best for my health and wellness. This means less time scrolling Facebook and Instagram and instead focusing on what my body and soul need. This year I am going to:

FOCUS on things that fill me with peace and joy – nature, time with my nephews, and photography.
FOCUS on purpose – offer more e-courses and other projects.
FOCUS on gratitude – return to writing in my gratitude journal on a daily basis and continue to turn lacking thoughts to grateful ones.
FOCUS on nourishing practices – journal by candlelight, listen to classical music, have long bubble baths and make lots of vision/belief boards and collages.
FOCUS on self-care – including flossing (yes, flossing!)
FOCUS on a strong meditation practice – record more personalized guided meditations, meditate in the morning as well as the evening.

I have discovered that my word is not just for setting goals but can also be used as a tool during pain flares. Yesterday, I had my first major pain flare of the year and as I lay on my back I repeated…FOCUS on breathing…FOCUS on calm…FOCUS on only this moment. My guiding word kept me completely grounded and present during this tense period of time.

For a word that I was so hesitant about, I am now more excited than I have ever been about any of my guiding words. I feel like FOCUS can apply to every aspect of my life and the many situations I will likely be faced with in 2016.

I am going to FOCUS on making it a year full of purpose and practices that improve my health and wellness. May your word provide you with the same enthusiasm and inspiration!

PS – Just realized my word always plays into my love of photography…now I KNOW it was meant to be!