2021: The year of the Phoenix

As a miserable failure when it comes to sticking to New Year’s resolutions, a few years ago I decided to try out a new tact that has really served me well: speaking out a single, meaningful word over the year that lies ahead, in place of a list of resolutions. This word then becomes a special mantra that helps you strive towards a so-called “umbrella goal”. One word that signifies a total mind shift that focusses your day-to-day doings on living up to, or personifying that one word.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember that I dubbed 2020 the year of “NO!”. In short, I needed to be more assertive when it comes to setting boundaries in order to protect my mental wellbeing.

Unbeknownst to me, 2020 had quite a lot of boundaries up its sleeve, which actually made the need for setting personal boundaries even more important. All in all, I think I managed quite well to stick to my guns and live up to my word of the year.

Now for my word of the year for 2021:

As a phoenix that emerges from ash and soot, and shakes off the old, tired feathers, dust and scars of the past, and looks forward - upward - to that which is new and challenging and untouched……. so, I will RISE.

A tad dramatic? Always…! ;)

But what a great, positive, fresh word to signify a decisive move up and away from the trauma that has been 2020. In saying that, I am under no illusion that the trauma magically ended when the clock struck midnight on 31 December. Not I, nor the rest of the world has yet conquered the seemingly unconquerable. But, I believe in our ability to rise above the emotional turmoil it causes, if we let go of the fear and anguish bit by bit. Become lighter and more free, leaving behind that which does not serve us, and strive towards renewal. I, for one, want to look beyond the challenges that seem to hold me back, and instead focus on the fact that growth, betterment and joy can still happen under trying circumstances.

As a terribly worry wart, my mind has a way of running away from me, and then running amok in a shockingly vivid world of What Ifs. A friend recently suggested that I practice a visualisation technique to help me overcome this: Combining a simple physical action (like snapping a rubber band against your wrist, touching your fingers to your temples, lifting your shoulders to your ears and then relaxing them...) with an image of your choice that signifies letting go of the dark thoughts/feelings. I press my index finger to my thumb, and imagine a festival of balloons (did you know that's the collective noun for balloons?!) flying off into a beautiful blue sky, dappled with friendly, fluffy white clouds...

This year, every time I feel weighed down, scared or anxious, I am literally going to shake myself free of that negativity, and focus on what can be done. I will savour the present, pivot, grow, adapt and rise (with that festival of balloons!) to the challenge.

Rise. Rise above circumstance, fear, doubt, pain… Rise like a phoenix from the ashes of 2020, and soar confidently and renewed towards all that 2021 may hold.

rise agapanthus design the happy struggling artist

If my word of 2021 resonates with you, it is my great pleasure to share this freebie downloadable cellphone wallpaper with you. May it bring you joy and serve as a reminder to RISE! Click here to download.

These beautiful South African flowers are also available in my online shop as super affordable digitally downloadable wall art. See the entire collection here.

 



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