Anyone who knows me in real life or has read my blog-bio knows that I keep it lean and mean in the clothing department: 2 drawers, 10 hangers, 3 pairs of boots. Done. The one exception to this minimalism is my vast collection of big, black and bejeweled sunglasses. I probably have a dozen pairs. No joke. I am never, ever without them. If I’m not actually wearing a pair, you can usually find some propped on top of my head or see several scattered around the kitchen counters. (Ask Tom about this. It’s his pet-peeve.) I wear sunglasses every day of every season and sometimes, even when it’s raining. Although I would like to tell you I’m trying to promote a certain mystique or that I have Hollywood aspirations, the real reason is rather prosaic. I hate glare. I hate squinting. And bright (ish) light gives me a headache. So when “Shine!” presented itself as my word for 2014, I didn’t exactly jump for joy. Here’s how it happened.
At Taproot in August, Jean Miller asked us to choose a word of intention for our upcoming homeschool year. I had already settled on a word earlier in the summer (“stretch”), so I was planning to just sit outside with my eyes closed on a grey and cloudy day. And even though I thought about it, I didn’t bother to go upstairs and get my sunglasses. As I sat on the front porch, I remember having my face tilted up to the sky and honestly, clear as a bell, a word came to me. “Shine!” Umm . . . no, my word is stretch. One more time, loud and clear, “Shine!” Shine? I don’t have my sunglasses. Is this some kind of joke? Even with my eyes closed, I could discern a brightening above me. Mustering my courage, I squinted out of one eye for half of a second. Yup, a slight brightening. I shut my eye, went inside and tried to ignore everything that just happened.
It wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that I came to terms with what happened at Taproot and fully embraced the word “shine.” I did some body work with my spiritual director and located my shining center. I can’t fully explain how powerful this was and continues to be. Whenever I try to put it into words it always sounds trite (like the sentence above) and more than a little “woo-woo”. Be that as it may, it helped me to begin to claim my word in a literal and physical way. Around this time, I also saw the print shown above by one of my favorite artists, Kelly Rae Roberts. Her words helped me over my last vestiges of reticence and let me see the powerful ripple effect of embracing one’s own inner light.
I have guided my inner work with a word/concept in the past (fly), but this year feels more intentional. In addition to meeting monthly with my spiritual director, I am also adding in a few other components as well. I signed up for a year long e-course, entitled “One Little Word.” I have been diligently working on Susannah Conway’s (free) downloadable workbook Unraveling the Year Ahead 2014. I was intrigued by the idea of her workbook last year and even printed it out. However, I never put pen to paper. This year, I’m all over it. I’m enjoying the process and looking forward to seeing how it manifests. I am also making art horses like mad. More on that later. And lastly, I’m taking Vivienne McMaster’s e-course, Be Your Own Beloved, in February. I took a mini-version of this exploration of self-portaiture last year, and enjoyed it immensely. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get brave enough to take a photograph or two without my sunglasses. (Gulp.)
Shine . . . it’s going to be a great year.