Friday, January 8, 2010

Word for the New Year: Presence

I'm a little late posting this year and I've missed Sacred Sundays and Wellness Wednesdays for a while, but I hope to get back on track. I've been working on finishing my book before my jury duty obligation starts next week. I'm not going to finish in time after all, but I've made so much progress. It feels good. My first deadline was the end of 2009, but I'm satisfied that I'm nearing the finish line.

Well, my word for 2010 is Presence. For me this means being present and mindful and experiencing things with my whole self. It means having a year of sobriety from alcohol and really feeling through things. I've experienced a lot of shifting even just in this short time. One is that I enjoy two things much more, poetry and music. I've been drawn to them. Usually it's way too hard for me to slow down enough to read poetry. And music competes with all the noise in my head. So this year I've been reading poetry of all types and listening to instrumental music, especially tango.

Another shift is that I've dropped a bad habit--that of staying in touch with people who have expressed a desire NOT to be in touch with me. As in, following them over the Internet because I "care about them". This rationale works well for people I'm related to or have been close to. Or following their activities and endeavors because I "need to know what they're up to so that I can be informed and prepare myself"--this rationale is good with past so-called enemies. This is a really useless pursuit that keeps these people present in my consciousness. There is no space to move on and introduce healthier relationships. I have let this go. It allows me to be Present in my life.

I've also started meditating via the 28 Day Meditation Challenge, which I found out about from Linnea via Twitter (she is @cafemercury). Several of you have joined me in this. I started out strong, but forgot the last two days. So today I had a long meditation time for me, twenty minutes. Loved it. I was following Kelly's suggestion to take today off after I tweeted about it being Elvis' birthday today. I always remember. I don't know why. I'm not an Elvis fan. It's just one of those things that sticks with me, like Pearl Harbor Day and birthdays of everyone I've ever loved.

So I just decided to go with it. I have been pushing pretty hard and can use a day off.

One thing I should mention about my word. It hasn't been just hunky-dory with me being Present as I go about my life. So. Far. From it. I just get little glimpses from time to time. It's a place to start. And other things.

For example, in letting go of people---both loved and toxic folk--I have a huge amount of anxiety. Huge. An open space. The space in my heart is cracked wide open to receive more as I let go of these people. It does result in anxiety but I expect this to get less and less.

Also, I have times of alternating Presence with Suzie's word: Escape. Suzie has such hutzpah in choosing a non-shiny word, I think. Right now I still need some Escape as I am transitioning (and maybe I always will). For me this means reading fiction, watching television while I eat, playing Sudoku, getting lost following links in Twitter, dreaming about where we'll retire, and generally healthy things like this. But I do use them--use them--to Escape from being present and to cope with difficult emotions when they become too much to bear. Instead of forcing myself to always be Present (too overwhelming right off), I am taking baby steps. Escape is very, very helpful.

If I haven't wished you a happy new year yet, I'm wishing you one now. I love your comments. Each one is encouraging to me and helps me to continue on this journey we're on together. xo.

~Photos by LoveHubbie Mark, all taken in Maui this past fall 2009


Anonymous said...

Olivia, all of this sounds so good. I am especially impressed re letting go of following people whose energy doesn't need to be in your psychic space. That feels clean. It's so good to acknowledge that any change like that will feel scary or anxiety-provoking at first. Hugs!

Linnea said...

One step at a time, one breath at a time. It's all we can do, and it's good enough.

Congratulations on your sobriety, and on letting go of those toxic people. (I had a life lesson in that a couple of years ago, so I really relate to you here!)

As far as escape goes, there's nothing wrong with it. In fact, I think it's essential to sanity. What's a good book but an escape? (I resolved to read for nothing but pleasure during 2010 for this very reason.)

I understand your anxiety, and send you supportive vibes to help you get through.

Seeking Simplicity said...

Happy Friday Olivia... and I didn't realize it was Elvis' birthday today. I was never a fan, but gosh my Mom will watch his movies, over and over again.

And I also am finding music very appealing at the moment. For me, it's a lot of latin music and arabic music. It's so primal and earthy... and is calling to me for some reason.

My word for 2010 is "focus" and I even purchased a notebook with the letter "f" on it to track this year's journey with that word.

Happy to see that you also are participating in the 28 day meditation challenge.

And I love the picture lovehubbie took. We use to have a circle here that I could walk... but they recently tore it apart.

Happy New Year, Congrats and sending big hugs your way.


Heather Plett said...

Oh my gosh - how I LOVE that last photo! Love, love, LOVE it! Perfect way to illustrate presence!

Olivia said...

Thank you for your sweet comments!

I have to tell you all the story of the last picture. LoveHubbie was taking pictures of me and of the sunset as I walked the Dragon's Teeth Labyrinth on Maui. Suddenly a noisy American family approached, the kids hepped up and squealing and running around loose, the parents not paying any attention. I did not want them to walk on the Labyrinth...I knew they would not understand what a sacred space was about. So I stood like that. It was pretty scary. I felt as thought they might desecrate the space.

I thought, "Let them...let them come up to me...and I will stand here." Sure enough, all fell quiet behind me and the Americans moved off in a different direction. It was perfect because there was no entertainment or stimulation for them there, simply the Labyrinth and the sunset and the sea. They moved on.

I felt really good after that.

I think you can see this in the picture!

laundrygirl said...

Such a great post. I totally understand the struggle in choosing a word that challenges you. I am excited to see how your world unfolds this upcoming year. You really are a brave woman, as well as one of great strength.

Kate said...


That sounds like a perfect word for you. All that you do seems to point to this word. Good luck on the journey with this.


patti said...

I love the photo too O - you do look as though you are in command there on the labyrinth!

Presence is a word that will remind you time and time again of what's important. As for the toxic people - this is one of the best things we can ever do for ourselves. I have also drawn a line in the sand this year - no regrets, no looking back... Save your beautiful clean, loving energy for the people right in front of you, who care about you too.

p.s Just great that you are listening to musio again - I hope you are dancing too - it is so liberating to free yourself with the music!! - escape a little - we need to have a release valve !! :)

groovysabrina said...

Wonderful photo of you, Olivia, and I love the story. Isn't it amazing the different ways we can be in command? We can only get so far with words and actions. Love it.

CrystalChick said...

I, too, just love that photo of you at the labyrinth (so beautiful) and what happened there.
Wishing you a wonderful new year!

Melita said...

love this post and love our word for 2010. it is hard to let go but sometimes it is for the best. i hope that 2010 brings you lots of joy, sparkle, warmth & love. love the pic of you at the labyrinth - gorgeous! hugs!!

Angela said...


Hey lady!! Happy New Year!! I love your word and the fact that you're letting go of toxic relationships. I'm doing the same as well and I agree, it's hard, it hurts, it leaves a blank space. But I have a feeling that space will be filled with so much more love and happiness than we've ever imagined. Don't you?? I believe those of us who struggle with ourselves are really on the leading edge of consciousness - because we've had to work for it! Beautiful picture; beautiful woman.

Jane said...

Beautful post, Olivia! I'm sort of in a similar place. Sometimes letting go of old habits is painful. But in the grand scheme of things, we have to let go of things that don't work in order to receive new goodness. Happy New Year!

storyteller said...

I love the beautiful blossom and your word selection. I'm toying with using FOCUS as my word this year but am keeping my mind open in case something better settles in. I'm trying to get myself to balance my writing and photography better this year in blogging. I wish you'd make your entire post available in your feeds because I love keeping in touch with you ... miss the connection, but don't always have time to click on over. Once I fall behind it's hard to know which post to read. It's just a thought. Wishing you and yours much joy in the coming decade.
Hugs and blessings,
Sacred Ruminations

Lori-Lyn said...

I love this beautiful post. I felt very emotional reading it -- touched by your presence.