By the CML Practitioners
Each year, as the wheel turns, the practitioners at CML take a moment to reflect on the coming year and a choose a word that might be a source of intention or focus for the months ahead. Here are our choices for 2024.
"Non-Judgement / Nonjudgmental" - Dan
Mindfulness practice can be defined as “paying attention, on purpose, to whatever is happening in the present moment in a nonjudgmental manner.” Non-Judgment (or non-judgementalness) from this perspective implies that one is (1) aware of (paying attention to) when thoughts of judgement are occurring, and (2) making the effort to be fully in the present moment without passing judgement. The mindfulness practice of non-judgement involves mentally noting (to one’s self) “judgement” when judgement occurs. I want to reengage with this practice for the new year as a way to reduce my own judgementalness.
“Vulnerability” - Hillary
In 2024, I want to lean into vulnerability. I have always been vulnerable, and I’ve always connected to others through vulnerability; however, I don’t think I’ve sat with the true power and healing potential of vulnerability until recently.
What would it look like if leaders were more open and vulnerable about their insecurities and fears? What would it look like if society valued vulnerability as a strength? What would our world look like if we approached each other with the openness, curiosity, compassion, and (dare I say) love that often accompany vulnerability? What would our personal healing journeys look like if we approached ourselves in this way?
I believe that nestled within vulnerability is hopefulness that someone (ourselves and/or others) will truly see (and truly love) us. I want to cradle that nestled hope in the year ahead.
“Mystery” - Kara
My word for the year is mystery. This word was inspired by a practice I engage in every year with my tarot cards. I add the month, day of birth together, and the upcoming year for one sum. This year the sum was 12 which corresponds with the Major Arcana card “The Hanged Man.”
The Hanged Man pictures a person wearing a blue tunic (representing psychic connection) and red tights (representing material awareness) suspended from a mystical tree. The person’s legs make the shape of a four. The person appears serene, and their head is surrounded by light.
This card symbolizes the power of taking a less familiar stance to perceive myself in a new way. This new perspective may be a clue for better understanding something that is difficult to understand, a mystery of sorts that lies within me. There is a sense of adventure embedded in the word of mystery, and my efforts to discovery what has yet to be known will guide me this year.
“Peace” - Laura
May I practice finding, making, and being peace in 2024. Finding the peace within and around me. Making peace with the impermanent, imperfect, uncertain, unknowable, and exiled. Being peace amidst confusion and hatred.
May peace take its seat in my heart as an inseparable part of my being * -- not merely the peace of quiet, stillness, or refuge, but also the transformative peace that brings awakening and freedom to all beings.
May this practice honor the legacies of beloved nonviolent peacemakers Thich Nhat Hahn, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Malala Yousafzai, and Martin Luther King.
‘“You keep pairing me with quiet” peace said, “but my true companion is the mighty clamor of chains being ripped clean from the wall.”
~ Lori Hetteen
*inspired by a quote from Gandhi
“Poetry” – Louisa
This coming year, I am trying to orient myself toward beauty. There is so much ugliness and hate in our world right now that it seems to obscure the true beauty of everything that lies around us. We look for what is flawed, what is “other”, what doesn’t belong, rather than stand in awe at the marvel of it all. And we must see the beauty of it, if we are to believe that it is worth saving.
The idea of poetry seems to capture the essence of the lens that I hope to look through instead. Can we take the isolated dark words and painful images that surround us and rearrange them into something new? Something that speaks to our courage and ingenuity, rather than our hopelessness and fear.
Where we are shown despair, let’s paint the colors of hope. Where we are told to be angry and reactive, let’s write the music of inspiration. When we believe we are unloved and alone, let’s dance in the downpour of compassion and community. When we hear that we should conform, let’s sing at the top of our lungs in our own unapologetic voices. Then stand together hand in hand, feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces, and smile at the beauty of it all.
“I believed I wanted to be a poet, but deep down, I just wanted to be a poem”
~ Jaime Gil de Biedma
“Light” - Marilyn
There is so much to be said about light. As we move toward the winter solstice, we think more and more about light. We think how it greets us in the morning, how it leaves us in the evening. We celebrate the light even while we rest and reflect in the darkness.
And we also consider the light inside us. We want the light to grow stronger within. We listen. We observe. We remember who we are. We notice our breath. We allow our spirit to breathe. Through these actions, we bring ourselves closer to the light.
Amanda Gorman, the young American poet and activist tells us, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. Light must come from inside. You cannot ask the darkness to leave; you must turn on the light.”
So in this darkest time of year, through quiet, rest, reflection, observation, and listening, remember that the light is always there.