It is that time of the year that many of us will review the year that is ending.  This year I choose to do it with a gentle touch of non-judgment of my own foibles and those of others.

It is also a time of looking forward, to imagine what the path of the new year will be. Last year my word, work and theme was “Courage”.   I was embarking on many new opportunities and quite honestly, I was pretty nervous.  Armed with a mantra of courage, I soon found you gain courage by doing and through experience your expertise emerges.  Thus, competence cures the fear and you no longer need courage because it is only needed when you are afraid.  Not that I still don’t have my fears, but by courageously naming them in confidence, I recognize them and use the energy to move forward.

This year my word, work and theme picked me.  While sitting on the front porch on Christmas morning, as the rising sun slowly illuminated the early morning sky I realized that I choose to see, hear, think and feel beyond the human conditions.  But how?  By INSIGHT.  That “still small voice” within.  That clear channel to my innate wisdom and my guiding light.

I heard one time why it is called the “still small voice”.  It is because by not listening to it, we keep it still  small.  The wisdom beyond understanding is another way to think of it.  But how do we hear it?

In today’s very busy, media focused, over stimulated, full of judgment modern world the only way I can imagine to unplug is by giving myself permission to slow down, be silent and allow a peace to permeate my body and mind.  I do this by spending 20 minutes a day in silent meditation.  My meditations are focused on breathing in and out of my nose and feeling the cool air on the inhale and the warm air on the exhale.  My focus is good for one or two full breaths.  That is an improvement.  A year ago, I couldn’t make it through the first inhale without my mind wandering. The purpose is to notice when you have lost the awareness of your breath and bring it back, no judgment.  There are numerous neurological benefits but simply said, it helps rewire your brain from “fight/flight/freeze” to “tend and befriend”.  It teaches us how unruly our thoughts can be and that we are not our thoughts.  Dan Millman says, “You don’t have to control your thoughts, you just can’t let them control you.”

In my desire to live a wise and loving existence, to lead from the inside out, I am supported by this simple practice.  So, this year my word is INSIGHT.   I need to be quiet enough to hear (that still small voice) and brave enough to live what I hear.