Happy New Year! Oh, wait…I said that last week. New Year’s is still fresh on my mind because of the conversations I’ve been having lately online. As a member of several communities that promote minimalism, spirituality, and a simpler way of living, there’s been a lot of discussion over how to approach the New Year.
Specifically, do we make resolutions, do we select a single word or theme for the year, or do we not do either and instead let go of expectations and be at peace with whatever happens.
Although I am a believer of letting go of expectations, I also believe there’s something to knowing what you want. How you get there is another matter entirely.
In the past, I’ve started off my New Year’s with resolutions. My enthusiasm and optimism usually resulted in grandiose ideas that I had no hope of following through with, such as: Get up early every day (this was a pre-Narcolepsy diagnosis perennial favorite), exercise for an hour every day (destined for failure because I would always default to the elliptical trainer which I find as boring as reading a chemistry textbook), or eat less junk food (hopelessly impossible when you believed as I did for many years that fat is the problem and strive for a low/nonfat diet; I was hungry for almost a decade).
In January, 2016, however, I had the privilege of attending a white stone ceremony. The underlying idea is that you set an intention for the coming year by holding a white stone in your hand, typically from Jerusalem, and allowing a word to come to you. You then write it on your white stone. The word that came to me in 2016 was unstoppable.
I carried my unstoppable white stone with me throughout that year; oftentimes literally, as I kept it in my pocket until the weather became too warm for a coat. Since we were living in the Chicago suburbs and then Johnsonville, NY, too warm ended up being in July.
In 2016, I ended what many would consider a dream job (i.e., a tenured position as an associate professor of psychology at a mid-level university) to pursue a life of writing, adventures, and house/pet-sitting. That stone was with me on campus every day, encouraging me when some of my colleagues thought I was nuts and guiding me when I wasn’t sure where I was going.
2016 was also the year I met and married the love of my life. And, yes, I had my white stone in my pocket on the night we met, as well as on our first date, and just three weeks later when we eloped in Nashville.
In 2017, I didn’t have the opportunity to attend a white stone ceremony. But I did just happen to find myself somewhere on New Year’s Day that offered a basket of stones, with a single word engraved on each of them. I reached into the basket and pulled out one that read luck.
Coincidentally, I also just happened to receive a good luck dragon from my best friend in the mail in early January, 2017.
I added the dragon to my luck stone, and for good measure threw in two of my business cards which identify me not just as a writer, but a writer of kidlit. I then carried them around in my coat pocket until it became too warm (this time June – progress!). They lived in either my backpack or my purse after that.
I’d certainly say I had luck in 2017. I’m going with the very old school definition brought to you by Seneca: Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.
One of my greatest writing successes in 2017 was winning the top fiction prize in KidLit College’s annual picture book contest. As part of the prize package, I enrolled in a nonfiction picture book writing course. The class typically started according to Central Time, but one day the instructor and I both logged on accidentally at Eastern Time.
We ended up chatting for nearly an hour, where we discussed many different topics, including several of the manuscripts on which I was currently working. That Friday I received an email from the instructor, who also just happens to be an editorial assistant of a literary agency. “Jill [the president of the company] and I are more than interested in representing your body of work,” she said in the email.
SQUEEEEEEEEE! That was the sound heard round Norfolk as I celebrated this offer.
So here we are in 2018. I feel joyful, healthy, and confident that I’m on the right path for my writing. About two weeks ago, I wasn’t even thinking of resolutions or intentions when the word prosperity popped into my head at the end of my morning meditation practice.
A feeling of excitement came over me as I realized prosperity would be my word for 2018! Of course, I then tried to sabotage myself with thoughts such as, is prosperity specific enough no, and it should be abundance, that’s more inclusive! Funny how we do these sorts of things to ourselves.
I managed to let the doubts go and embrace prosperity for what it is – a gift from God and my inner wisdom to help me thrive in 2018. As always, everything I do is God and Kelly willing, and I am grateful to blessed with such a wonderful intention for the year.
The word prosperity has now been added to my white stone.
I thought of ordering a new stone, but, you know, minimalist. And, just because I’m going to be prosperous doesn’t mean I should be wasteful.
With my white stone, I’m going to keep a poem that my best friend sent me for Christmas. Here it is:
Walking in the Flow
Walking in the flow
Nose over toes
Endless – no destination in sight
One of the herd
But this herd has no leader
Unless it is somewhere, somehow
Deep inside –
The thing I call myself
When I say my name – Kelly
I am Kelly-in-God
No matter where I go
And who I see
I am Myself
In the midst
Of all that is –
Walking in the flow
Nose over toes –
And I am loved.
The stone, poem, and my business cards are now in my pocket, where I will carry them with me.
My heart and mind are open to the miracles of prosperity in my life, great and small. 2018 – I am ready for you! Thank you in advance for everything you have in store for me.