I woke up this morning - December 31, 2020 - with a two word phrase stuck in my head.
Throughout the last several years in the week before New Year's Day, I have chosen a word to contemplate during the coming year. In the past, I have walked with words like "create", "curiosity", and "let it go" as my companions. A couple of days ago, I went to an online word generator and had a word chosen for me at random. The word that came back was "listen". I thought that was a perfect word for 2021. Listen.
Then, I woke up with that phrase stuck in my head on New Year's Eve.
And it simply wouldn't leave me alone.
So I started trying to figure out what it could mean.
Be more what? Be more patient? Be more kind? Be more present? These statements seemed like a qualitative analysis of how I should move through the year.
Maybe that wasn't it.
Maybe there was a space between the two words. Be ________ more. Be patient more. Be kind more. Be present more. These statements seemed like a quantitative analysis of how I should live my daily life.
I must confess that both of these approaches to this phrase left me hollow. They led me right into the trap of constantly measuring myself and my self worth through comparisons - comparison to others or to some mysterious ideal that is always unattainable. I could feel myself getting anxious at the thought (I know. That seems ridiculous. But that's me.).
And then, it hit me. The phrase is complete by itself.
This phrase is a call to settle into my self. To practice the art of being. To stop focusing on doing so much. To break out of the incessant cycle of production that is such a huge part of our culture. To put an end to all of the comparisons. To get out of my head. To be.
After the year we have lived through and with more of the same on the horizon at the beginning of this new year, I think this is my phrase. This is what will be on repeat in my head. This will be my mantra.