My word of the year is vitality. I love the word. I’ve always loved the word.
In fact when I realized that was my Word of the Year, there was a part of me that was like, “whoa, I don’t know if I am ready for this, or not sure if I deserve this, or wow that’s a big thing to live into” and I just noticed my own conversation and relationship with the word vitality.
At the same time, I’ve had a deep desire for vitality. I’ve longed for being that…living that…embodying that and creating and connecting to that around me. I’m drawn to it, I’m drawn to people who have vitality and a vibrational, vivacious vitality of life! I’m drawn to it in nature– it’s where I connect with it and feel the resonance of what I define and connect with and how I see and experience sense and know vitality.
Vitality, defined by Merriam-webster is “a state of being strong, active energy, power of giving continuance of life, present in all living things, exuberance.” As I explored other resources and how it was defined, some of the words that jumped out at me were, “capacity for continuation of a meaningful and purposeful existence. The power to live and grow, the power resilience of living” and this is one of the things that I connected to – the resilience – and not just the resilience in enduring, but resilience in the ability to grow and use life’s experiences to literally nourish, feed, connect to the expansion in me and around me, to vitality. I believe vitality is ever-present, and it’s in all of us.
It has been fun for me to explore the definition, and it felt like it is a really really good word for me–like a challenge. I feel this interesting tension of recognizing and truly believing that vitality is already always in me, that that life-force energy, that exuberance, that capacity for meaningful and purposeful existence and active energy, that strength, that growth and resonance in vibration – always available in me at the same time.
I recognize all the places where I haven’t been living that belief, that vitality lives inside of me already.
As I reflect further, I recognize where I have allowed other things to override my focus, steal my attention, and distract me from what is already within– and this word, this insight, this journey feels like a big YES to me.
Fast forward a week after choosing my word, I found myself in bed with the worst flu I can remember.
I was miserable, I was delirious at times and all I could focus on was literally my breathing and the spiking fever and what seemed like endless pain and discomfort throughout my entire body. Everything hurt. Even my teeth, my fingernails. I can’t remember that last time I spent four days in bed like that, literally wishing I had a catheter so I wouldn’t have to get up to pee because moving hurt.
As I recovered, there was a moment where I connected to vitality, a moment of awareness of vitality, and was deeply connected to what was vital to living. The fever burned away all of the unnecessary things that were occupying my mind or awareness or focus and really came back to what was most important that I often take for granted.
A full breath. The freedom and function in my body. To have energy, and to be pain-free.
Being that sick connected me to some things that aren’t new to me, that I’ve recognized and know, even teach. This is sometimes where it’s a little challenging for me, but it feels important to be transparent and real about it. Being that sick really connected me to the basic needs of living in this body. I need to take care of myself, MY-self, because this is the only self I get.
I was really connected to self-care as I was recovering from the flu, and holding vitality at the same time. I connected with how important it is for me to create time and space to simply “be”.
I’m an amazing “do-er.” I can do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, go, go, go, go, go, go, go and I have, have, have a lot in my life. I can get really focused on the doing so that we can have. Do, have, do have, do, have. I think how I show up in the world is powerful and positive and good, and yet there are so many times where it’s always serving a purpose.
Who I’m being, what I’m doing so that I can create certain results tends to always feel like it has to be purposeful. Rarely do I let myself have the space and time to just be. In whatever. Be in the unfolding, be in no direction, be in allowing whatever arises. There is a part of me that is constantly purposeful, such that the moment I say, “you know I really want to explore just being and have “no-show” days,” the conversation inside of my head is “What’s the purpose of that?”
Where can I connect to the vitality in that? And I know this that where I can connect to what I have known as “vitality” that vibration, is when I’m simply “being.”
And I also at the same time, I am recognizing the pattern in my life. It’s difficult at this point in my life after 47 years and a good portion of that living fairly conscious and aware, to pretend like, I don’t notice the pattern. The pattern of living such a big life filled with so many important and exciting things and people and places and goals and the magic and the responsibilities and challenges.
I miss some of those subtle tappings, I miss some of those subtle messages, I miss the signs sometimes of the pattern showing up again – you know those patterns that are not so healthy, or not so great and if I could recognize them a little sooner or perhaps they wouldn’t manifest in such a BIG way..aka “the flu” or some other things to share.
At first, I believe they come kind of at the spirit level – these tappings, these signs, these messages. I think they start tapping pretty gently and whispering. And if I don’t listen to them there, if I don’t slow down and listen, and pay attention, to what the whispering or the signs or messages or tappings are pointing to or indicting, then I just continue about my day, continue about my life… and then I notice those signs will show up emotionally.
For me what that looks like at times is a sense of unexplained loss or sadness or irritation or unrest in a general way. Like something doesn’t feel right in my world and I can’t always explain it. There are the leaky eyes and I feel like something’s missing or there’s a sadness or loss. I feel a disconnection and there is an emotional disturbance.
Then I’ll notice it in my thoughts and the thought level. There’ll be this surfacing of insecurities or self-doubt, or questioning my resolve, or even questioning if I want to continue with what’s in my life or with certain parts of my life.
One pattern I notice throughout all of this– I distract myself. It’s common to the human condition, and I notice it in myself. I chuckle, too, because I notice the pattern and I notice myself notice the pattern, the tappings are coming, the signs are there, I recognize, “Oh yeah, here is the emotional turmoil I’m aware of” and I recognize “here are some of the thought patterns that come out of nowhere,” and I’ll STILL distract myself. I’ll occupy my mind with the things and contents of my life, and I don’t pay attention to those whispers, those tappings, those signs.
I really do pretend not to know. I pretend not to notice.
And so it manifests for me again – this time at a physical level, and I think many people can relate to what I am talking about.
At whatever level we can connect with this, whether it is the spirit level, the emotional, the thoughts or the physical, if I pretend not to know or pretend not to notice, the cumulative effect hits and what will happen is these signs, these messages, these tappings will sit my ass down. Literally. Or lay my ass down flat on my back.
Now, my body becomes the messenger. And when it’s at that physical tangible world of form, like the body, there is not a lot I can pretend not to know anymore. When I’m flat on my back with the flu, it has hit that physical level and it’s not fucking around.
In some ways, I feel like my body protects me. My body requires, even demands that I pay attention. And I’m so grateful for that and challenged by that. AND resistant. Even through the flu or whatever, there is a part of me that wants to pretend not to notice.
I can’t pretend. It’s unavoidable.
Now I notice, and I’m aware of the patterns, and I’m looking at it through the lens of vitality because that’s the word that I’ve chosen. What happens? I think I’ve learned the lessons, and I reintegrate back into my life. I do a little bit more nourishment, do a little bit more of taking time for me, and then I’m fully engaged back into my life and the foot is on the gas and I’m back at it.
The next thing I know, I’m flat on my back again seven weeks later.
Now mind you, it’s seven weeks of continual (in-person) trainings, coaching, and running my growing business that is supporting my family. It has purpose. Then, bam. I’m flat on my back. Again. Literally. I threw my back out. My body has once again said “hey! In order for us to survive, in order for us to continue, you’ve got to shut this shit down.”
So there I am flat on my back, looking at the pattern. It’s difficult for me to even say this or write this or share it like this, however, it’s true. And this time the conversations rolling around in my head flush up all kinds of conversations. Everything from aging and getting old to not trusting my body, to I’m too fat, I’m too this, I’m too that, I’m not enough this, I’m not enough that. I’m distracting myself with all of these stories and conversations instead of paying attention to the signs and the tappings that have been coming.
The signs have been there to support me in paying attention to what is vital, to what does support vitality. It’s really difficult to admit to, to see, to recognize but the truth is I now recognize how much time I can spend distracting and occupying my mind with all these conversations – beating myself up, feeling less than, worse, you know fears, anger, resistance, and that’s the key for me. I notice a triangulation of the hits and that is: resistance leads to resentment, and that leads to retaliation, and I actually experience that in my life and in my body.
I will resist what is, I’ll start to resent what is, and then I’m going to retaliate.
Who pays the biggest price? Who experiences that direct impact of the retaliation? I do! And then it triggers the resistance again and then the resentment and it just continues in a cycle, that is how much time I spend in the pattern of not wanting to listen to how sometimes the construct of my life in all it’s beauty and exquisite amazingness, the construct of my life can become the preoccupation, the distraction from my own vitality.
So what do I do with this? Where do I go with this? What am I learning?
Vitality has already become my very beautiful and powerful and deeply challenging companion and lens. I’m recognizing that true vitality waits beneath the preoccupations and distractions. It’s my true nature. It’s our true nature. It’s the nature of life. And it waits, it waits underneath all the preoccupations and distractions.
So that’s the practice of me being in this and living this and exploring – that’s been revealed to me already in less than three months living with vitality (and it has taken me until July to actually share!).
I’m super excited and a little nervous about the next turn in the kaleidoscope of my journey with vitality and I also know that it’s important for me to listen to the signs. I’m not going to be able to address all of the patterns and hear all of the signs, or the messages or the tappings. I see how often the constructs of my life can move me away from the center of my being and the nature of who I am and therefore the vitality that is ever present in me.