Monday, 3 January 2011

Becoming wholehearted

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt pressured to have a memorable experience on New Year’s Eve. Over the years, I’ve found myself attending all manner of parties and celebrations that never quite felt right.

But having put a lot of time and energy in 2010 into what was most important to me, and being honest about what wasn’t, my New Year’s experience this year was different. I had two objectives: to spend time with the people I love and to finish my Vision Board.

On New Year’s Eve, my husband and I decided on a quiet night with three of our favourite people in the world: my best friend, her husband, and their 2 ½ year-old son. We dined over arugula salad and home-made Asian noodle soup, shared desserts that we bought at our favourite vegetarian gluten-free restaurant, and rang in the New Year with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

We also spent part of the evening recording our answers to a set of questions that would help us reflect on 2010 and create our goals for 2011. The final question stuck with me the most:
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2011?
Choosing a word for the year has been a tradition of mine for a while and has proved to be a very powerful exercise. During the year of “Change”, I travelled to Kenya and moved to Toronto; for the year of “Abundance” I got a significant pay increase and got to travel across the country for work; during the year of “Love”, I met the love of my life and got engaged.

Although I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, the answer still didn’t come to me while we were going through the questions. The word has to come from somewhere deep inside me. I have to take it on, love it, own it, and make it my mission statement for a full year. So I don’t take choosing this word lightly.

On New Year's Day, I thought about it as I finished my Vision Board, which represents everything I want to bring into my life for the year. For 2011, I have three main goals:
  1. Cultivate an honest, vulnerable writing practice
  2. Deepen my spirituality and spiritual practices
  3. Connect more with nature and create a space for regular nature retreats  
    My Vision Board for 2011
Coincidentally, a good friend of mine asked a similar question as her New Year’s Day Facebook status. Looking at all the beautiful words and images displayed on my Vision Board, which I finished only moments before, a response finally came to me: My word for 2011 is Wholehearted.

The dictionary defines wholehearted as “unconditional and enthusiastic devotion; enthusiasm originally meant for divine creative inspiration or by the presence of a god.” Brene Brown, a social researcher who just spent the last 10 years researching the notion of being wholehearted, ads another beautiful layer to the term:
Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone; I am enough. 
It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging. 
As I think of my three goals for the year, I can see how being wholehearted is truly the foundation of it all, as well as the way forward.

I now feel ready for the year ahead, I’m grateful for all the wonderful people I have around me, and I’m inspired and excited to see where my journey will take me next.


  1. Read the questions and hope to answer them for myself. I'm thinking of a one-word theme for 2011--not sure what yet but thanks for sharing yours.

  2. Thank you for your comment Thelmaz, and nice to meet you! Good luck on finding your word!

  3. My word is 'kindness'. It was just there when the question was put on another website, so I guess it comes from somewhere deep and true.

    I found your blog from Cate Kerr's site. Have a happy and blessed day :)

  4. A beautiful choice! Thank you for dropping by. I stopped by your site as well - love your tree photos.

  5. I think you are already on your way, Kristen. I could feel the energy of "wholehearted" from your writing. I wish you all the good things and await to hear more about this year's theme.

    I agree; far too many times, we are stuck in the vibes a hip party throws our way. But how many times do we stop and really feel the different, many negative, energies flowing our way at such massive conglomeration? Even though I don't party much, I have started feeling it and I guess the partying
    hype is about to come to a dead end for me, at least.

    Thank you for the intimate share.


  6. Brown Eyed - thank you and I will make sure to update! So far so good : )