• Cindy Mundahl

Words to Live By

As 2019 approaches, many people aim to start the new year off with a promise to make a change for the better. Maybe they'll pledge to go to the gym five times a week, lose 10 pounds, or spend less time on their phones. I will not be one of those people. I've been taking a different approach to kicking off the new year; one that allows me to focus on internal changes that I want to make for the coming year.

A few years ago, someone recommended that I choose a word for the year instead of making a resolution that I was unlikely to keep. The word would be a guidepost, a constant reminder of what I wanted to embody for that year, something I felt I needed to bolster me and feed my spirit. In 2017, I chose the word HOPE. It was the perfect word for me in many respects. Despite the dark times our country was facing following the brutal 2016 presidential election, I still held on to HOPE believing that the deep divisions in our country were revealing fundamental flaws we'd been sweeping under the rug for generations that we now needed to uncover. On the days I didn't think things could get any worse, I hung on to HOPE and let it live in my body. HOPE fed me and quenched my thirst and I felt HOPE for not only the future of our country, but also for my own future. I let HOPE in and tried to embody it as fully as I could. When I wanted to hide under the covers, I chose HOPE. When people were needlessly suffering, I chose HOPE. In choosing HOPE, I could see a better future and believed that it could happen. HOPE enabled me to feel joy even amidst all of the darkness in the world.

In 2018, my word was CONNECTION. I was feeling disconnected from myself, nature and others primarily because I found it difficult to relate to many people who didn't share the same worldview that I did. I sought out new environments and people and challenged myself to make CONNECTIONS of all kinds. If I didn't feel like going out, I reminded myself I was about CONNECTION and that I needed to get out of my comfort zone. Just as I learned to embody HOPE, I began to gain more CONNECTIONS in my life. I could see CONNECTIONS between events in my life, I made new friends, and began to feel more connected to myself. Something interesting also happened, I knew by the Fall of the year what my word for the next year needed to be. It was crystal clear to me without even have to consciously think about it. I was already starting to embody it and instinctively knew it was what my soul needed for the coming year. Another interesting phenomenon occurred as well that I never expected. I am able to continue to hold HOPE within me even though I haven't consciously welcomed it into my psyche this year; it remained on its own because I learned to hold space for it. I believe that will happen again next year with CONNECTION.

The word I feel I need to embody in 2019 is UNAPOLOGETIC. I think this will be a fun word to live by, but also a challenge for me. As a woman, I find myself constantly apologizing for things that are out of my control and that I have no need to apologize for. It's just something women are taught to do and I'm no longer going to do it. I'm not going to apologize for being myself or for not being someone else's idea of who I should be. I'm going to try and be UNAPOLOGETICALLY myself for the whole year, and hopefully beyond.

I welcome readers to join me in choosing a word to embody in 2019. If you're willing to share your word, please feel free to add it in the comments section.

Note: This will be the last Giving Voice post for 2018. I'll be back, UNAPOLOGETICALLY, in 2019! Happy Holidays and thanks for reading!

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