Since 2008, I’ve been setting one-word intentions for the new year instead of resolutions. It’s so interesting to end of each year and reflect on how those intentions unfold over the year. My word for 2011 was grace. I had some vague ideas of what grace meant and I knew I wanted more of it.
It’s been an intense year of learning to accept and live with grace.
I took two Anusara workshops in the fall and was introduced to the “Open To Grace” philosophy. As one of the teachers said: When life gives you something you don’t want, you can take it anyway (like you really have a choice) and choose to make something beautiful out of it.
I’ve gotten so much that I have happily accepted this year. I’ve also experienced being handed so many difficult things that I didn’t necessarily want.
For most of 2011, we have held equal amounts of joy and sorrow. Joy for the baby girl who will join us in March and equal sorrow as my second dad (a.k.a. father-in-law) drifted out of this life due to esophageal cancer.
As we sat with our grief and tried to wrap our head around it all, I remember one conversation in particular with my family as we talked about losing him and welcoming Baby Girl. We realized that all our joy and sorrow, equally expansive, come from the same deep well of love. It’s okay to be sad (such a simple word for such a painful emotion) just as it is okay to be happy.
So as I sat in the memorial service for my second dad, I thought about how my in-laws took the short-lived battle with cancer one day at a time realizing there were things they could control and things they could not – not resigning, allowing themselves to feel, and practicing a radical acceptance. I thought about the last time I saw him, in the hospice with his dogs in bed with him and family surrounding him. Losing count of how many times we said I love you as he shifted in and out of lucidity. It was like watching someone dissolve.
How fortunate Baby Girl is to inherit a legacy of kind, loving men in her life and for how much love is going to surround and support her.
My word for 2012?