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Lithe and Shine


Last week, I finished a ten-week yoga series with a woman I met online. We are in a high-vibe online sisterhood together (as woo as it sounds) and I consulted her about coaching. I didn't sign up to work with her - there were too many homestead priorities on the list - but our connection has remained solid.


She offered this Monday night yoga series, aptly titled "Rest + Restore", to finish out 2020 with weekly restorative sessions. It was interesting to share weekly space with a group of women mostly in Canada, helping me understand how beautifully technology can connect us. I also learned a lot from Leanna herself, including how to let my body move in a way that felt graceful, like a dancer.


It was this free-flowing, natural movement which led me to 2021's word of the year: LITHE.


One definition of lithe is "marked by effortless grace". For several months now, I've toyed with a new word which would help me embody flexibility and fluidity. 2020's word, "courage", was originally intended to help me tackle tiny, daily habits relating to my aging body. Instead, it showed up as a march toward a new dream.


By embracing this new path, I put mental flexibility to work, going with the flow as 2020 continued to change course like a raging river. I learned more about gratitude and empathy, especially while having difficult professional conversations. I'm interested to see how litheness can help me continue to adapt and evolve for the better.


When it comes to learning new adaptation tools, I began twelve weeks of somatic healing coaching last Tuesday. I think this will be an interesting mix of fluid movement for both body and mind. I am learning how stress and anxiety manifest in my body and how to avoid extreme spikes of tension brought on by a racing heart and physical agitation. It's difficult sometimes to undo three decades of programming; made even more difficult by trying to learn it without a facilitator. I look forward to more growth with this method in my toolbox.



Finally, while I know nobody would use lithe to describe my petite frame, the imagery of a graceful dancer moving through life will help me achieve physical goals. I took ballet very early in life and gave it up when I realized I wasn't as flexible as the other girls in class. I let it make me feel "less than" and wonder now if that self-limiting belief contributed to my mobility issues (along with genetics, of course). I never had the desire to touch my toes or work toward the splits because I assumed it wasn't available to me. Now I will use this word to help me let go of expectations and know my body is capable of more than I give it credit for.


Choosing a word of the year wasn't a practice I used until sobriety, although I wonder now why I waited so long. In 2019, rather than create resolutions, I simply dubbed it the year of MORE. That journey came true in so many magical ways that I wanted to create the same type of theme for 2020, using COURAGE as my guiding principle.


A lot can happen over the course of a year, so choosing a word or theme can help me prioritize choices. It can help me find ways to grow and improve. It can serve as my compass when I feel aimless. This year, I will be lithe in both body and mind. And while "shine" was a close second for several reasons, I feel certain that my light will be even brighter as I take center stage in the dance of a new year.


"Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind." ~Bruce Lee





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