Each year, I choose a word. Or rather, a word finds me. We meet, and it teaches me. Often, over time the word changes in my heart. It reveals various definitions and nuances of meaning to me. It shows me what it looks like in different bodies, different birth spaces, different hearts.
This year, is 2024- the year of the dragon on the Chinese calendar. I have always felt inspired by the traditions within their horoscopes and cultures. While I didn't know this when my word found me, it does give me already, a glimpse into those different paths of wisdom and teaching that await me.
When we think of a dragon, we are reminded of fire and power and magic. 2024 is the year of the wood dragon. A dragon infused with qualities of nurturing, creativity, warmth, growth, and harmony.
Before I reveal my word, here are the words from past years since I started this quest.
2017 ~ Steady, Gentle, Grace.
This was a phrase that found me, that met me on the other side of the valley that is postpartum depression. It reminded me that I was steady, that I could lean into the strength of the steady things in my life. It reminded me to steady myself in turbulent moments. To be gentle with myself and others. To find sources of grace, and to give grace to myself. It is a mantra, a reminder, and a balm that I carry with me to this day.
2018 ~ No Fear
This one pushed me, challenged me, and helped me lean on the strengths and courage sources within me.
2019 ~ Rest
This one was vital, and I can feel at the end of this 2023, the call on a return of it in a different form. In 2019, I lost my daughter. Covid began shortly after, and rest, was not a choice but a demand as I learned how to navigate my oceans of grief.
2020 ~ Fire
This word, was chosen as a means to push myself, to inspire myself. I wanted it to give me the best year yet in my business and life- but the word had other ideas. Instead, I was humbled. The world caught on fire in the wake of those first waves of pandemic. I was thrown into isolation after the hardest moment of my life. I was on fire with rage and grief and all the places my love couldn't reach. But it taught me how to burn and survive. How to walk forward through fire. I am proud of myself for all of the moments I chose to keep moving forward, all the moments I chose to live. Fire can be fuel and warmth. But it can also be dangerous. It can burn.
2021 ~ Love
This was a year of finding my love again, and it's a bit of a blur looking back. It was one of my business years for birthwork ever, and brought me so much love in many ways. It also taught me what love is. What it is not. How to tell the difference. How to see through masks that wear love but are hollow or harmful underneath. There was a lot of reflection this year. A lot of change.
2022 ~ Unmasking
A word chosen in the wake of more discovery, in name of learning how to unmask with safe people. How to create safe spaces for myself and my family. How important boundaries are when you are trying to learn to live without masks. I learned a lot about autism this year, and navigated new diagnosis' for me and my son as we learned about our nerodivergance together.
2023 ~ Green
Ahhhh. 2023. My 28th year. This year was good to me. 28 is an amazing number. This year was planning and hard work paid off. A good year of work. A good year at home. We moved into a house, the first space I have ever felt truly safe. This little rental house has healed wounds and given me so much air to breathe. This year has allowed me time to fall in love with my own little family again. With family life and simple days. It was a deep breath after years of holding it. It was all the words from previous years, living and showing up in new real life ways. It was feeling like I had a choice again. This word, came to me late, months after 2023 began. It came to me as I drove to a mother's blessing ceremony. The trees had flushed green overnight. My wintering came to an end and it was all running forward from that moment. This year that green color moved me, fueled me, inspired me, taught me, and gave me so much life. Our finances were steadier. The green of new friendships sprouted. That lonely ache that I was born with, has faded a bit in the light of so much green. It was not perfect or without pain. But it was green, and warm, and good.
2024 is calling to me, and is a mirror opposite of 2023 in the way my newest word found me. It was not running head first and a rush of light. It was a soft beautiful kind demand. That came very early, I found my word for 2024 as 2023 played out its last weeks. The word is a promise, made a long time ago to my heart, that what I had lost would be restored.
My word for 2024 is nourish. There are so many things that come to mind when I feel this word. My intention, is to take a lot of my wounds, and apply new balms to them. Use tools and herbs and seasonings I didn't have access to in my previous years.
When we moved into this house, and began to really settle into our safe space. My mind felt that shift. Felt that healing and that great release of air. It said okay, we're safe now. Okay, now, finally, we can sit with these things. We can remember.
Remembering is painful. I have a lot of mental blocks. A lot of black spots and dark memories that I have not had access to before. This year has given me back some moments, and I have found that beautiful permission to unpack things. To blow off dust and settle into who I am, and where I came from. 2024, I want to nourish those parts of myself. My inner child. My future crone. But mostly, I want to live and nourish the life I am living now.
There is room for hope. That one day, I might be blessed with another child. Nourish would fit so well in those lines of story.
There is room for peace, if that story isn't one that gets told at all.
There is room for me to find new ways to live.
I feel I have been running for a very long time. At first, and for most of my life, running away. From abuse and pain and shattering and drowning memories. Then, last year, running towards a life we created together. Me and my husband and my son. Me and my business.
This year, I'd like to stop running. To sit. To allow myself time. To allow those ebbs in my work that come when I don't get bookings. To laugh and hold beautiful still space in birth rooms when I do. To draw, and write. Maybe, just maybe, I'll even find time to paint again.
Haha! I have a bad habit of falling in love with every hobby and art form. It makes it hard to have time for any one thing when I want to do everything!
But this year will be nourishing. To my soul. To the plants I care for. To the mothers I serve. To my son, as I lean into my parenthood as fully as I am able. To my husband. To this beating heart. I am sure, I will have new meanings and wisdoms when we approach the next year, but for now, I will hold onto the softness of this word with a gentle hope and a long sip of tea.
-CordeliaGrey Oriana Allen