Looking ahead in 2012 feels far different than it did looking ahead in 2011. Last year, I dove into the year with energy, enthusiasm and a whole bunch of specific goals I intended to accomplish. My word for the year last year was “clarity.” I was clear on my life “plan,” both professionally and personally, and the momentum of 2011 was breathtaking. So many events occurred last year that were life-changing – the highs were extremely high and the lows were extremely low. But throughout it all, I still felt clarity.
Starting 2012, I feel far foggier. Sure, I have goals and aspirations, but nothing is as clear as itseemed at the beginning of and through 2011. As I reflect upon last year, I recognize that my priorities have shifted. An unexpected death of someone close to my family triggered an internal change in me. All of a sudden so many things that I have been “clear” about, things that until now have seemed so important, matter far less.
The push to get things done, to accomplish more, to pursue the next challenge in my career has been an undercurrent of my professional life for years, but right now I feel the need to pause. To simplify. To pay attention to exactly what matters in my immediate life. Right now.
I know life works like this(at least mine seems to). The pendulum swings from times of activity and productivity to times of stillness and reflection. I am reminded of a phrase from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way (which has been a key book in my life since my 20s): “re-filling the well.” It’s the idea that we have periods of output and expending energy, but just as essential are the periods of time when we can collect our thoughts, and allow our creative vessels to refuel.
So this year, I’m starting out the year slowly, tentatively. I hope to fine-tune the expressions of my energy, and to refill the well. Instead of having a word for the year as I did in 2011, I’m going to focus on a phrase: “Where attention goes, energy flows.”
Where are you putting your energy this year?