I woke up this New Year’s day morning with a word on my mind. Breathe. A few days ago, my friend Mary Jane published a post in which she chose a word for 2019. It got me thinking. At first I was at a loss to decide on a word that I wanted to characterize this coming year.

The beach is a place I feel I can fully breathe.
The beach is a place I feel I can fully breathe.

Why did I choose Breathe?

To me to breathe is to take in – new, fresh air, new experiences, warmth or coolness, but also to let go – of stale air and things I no longer need. To breathe into something is to give it new life.

Taking breaths is done one at a time. My sister and I have a code phrase when we are stressed or in difficult times – “keep breathing”. When life feels insurmountable, we tell each other to just take it one breath at a time. In my journaling practice, after I write about a problem or a concern I write “What do I need right now?” All of my lists include “keep breathing”.

A full breath is one that is unobstructed, clear and open. Sometimes all we can manage is to take tiny, shallow breaths, knowing that life will open up and have ease once again. In order to take a full breath I need to clear out my lungs, open up my shoulders and trunk, release the tension and allow the air to flood in.

In 2019 I want more of my breaths to be full and open. I want to let go of feeling responsible for the emotional well being of others. I want to let in new learning, new experiences. If I can breathe fully I can nourish my body and mind with life-giving, life-affirming oxygen. I can step into becoming the woman I am meant to be.

I know not all of my breaths in 2019 will be full and open. My intention is to keep breathing, one breath (or loop) at a time, and to celebrate and fully cherish those moments of full, open breath.

Do you have a word for 2019?