appreciate and thrive

Last year I participated in Gwen Bell's Best 09 Challenge which was an amazing experience. (You can read my best09 posts here.) Reflection is one of the goals of the composition course I teach and it's a thread that runs through all of my courses but it's a challenge to ask students to slow down and really think about where they've been and where they want to go. I think it's a challenge for me, too, though I think of myself as a highly reflective person being able to stop and provide myself the space to be reflective is a constant battle. And I can tell when I feel frayed and more neurotic than usual that I've been giving myself the time I need. One of the reasons I enjoyed last year's challenge is because it helped me create that space for myself. I made it a priority and with the help of the prompts was able to really think about what the year meant to me, all I'd been through and how I could move forward into the new year. So, when I heard Gwen and Co. were planning a similar project named reverb10 I knew I had to be part of it. If you haven't signed up yet, I highly suggest it and if you have and you're here because of it, welcome! I look forward to reading everyone's posts this December.

Today's Prompt:

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

For the past two years I've chosen a word or phrase to help me set my intentions for the year. For 2010 I chose "live in the moment." But if I were to boil that down to one word that describes 2010 now that it's almost over I would have to say that appreciating is what 2010 was all about. I focused a lot of conscious energy on appreciation, on being grateful, more so after we moved in August because I was able to see things from a new perspective when I was in a different space. When I spent time back in the South, I was able to appreciate where I came from and where I am now, without feeling the tension and conflict between two places that I've experienced in previous years. Much of 2010 was about resolving that tension through appreciation, and embracing the decisions I made in the past, forgiving myself for mistakes and understanding how to appreciate the journeys. I learned to appreciate myself, what I bring to the table, as well as focus on the awareness of how wonderful the people and places in my life truly are.

I have actually been thinking a lot about the word for 2011. The past two years have been focused inward, in many ways, coming to terms with my emotional life, resolving inner turmoil. I have focused on getting through the days, managing my life and its chaos. I do not think there is anything wrong in living from day to day, in taking things slow and pacing one's self. There are days when all you can hope for is to survive it. But I am exhausted from living my life in increments. It is unlike me to work small. I like the big picture, the interconnectedness of it all. I am a dreamer, a big one. I'm sure I'll talk more about this as I step into 2011. Saying this here already makes me feel incredibly vulnerable in all the best ways, as if I'm getting back some of my muchness I thought I'd lost.

For 2011, I want to be seen more fully. I want to say more publicly, feel like I'm out in the world, doing things that matter. I want to publish more, embrace my geekiness, be more vocal, step into the classroom more authoritatively. I want to flourish and grow. I want, quite simply, to thrive.