Ground was my word of intention for 2018. I set it in December 2017 because I knew that when we returned to Costa Rica in January, we would be moving into our home and I wanted to plant my roots.
I loved the word Ground. It invoked the earth element. The need to stay in one place. 2017 felt a little airy. We floated in and out of rentals and countries.
I also forgot about the other definition of ground – the act of grinding: to destroy by crushing.
(Note to self: Be careful of the words you choose and look up every possible meaning before you set a one-word intention for the year.)
This last year turned out to be one of the shiftiest where it dared me to ground in ways that my physical circumstances wouldn’t or couldn’t allow. I destroyed old stories but it was tedious work, a grind.
Our house is still being built but its foundation feels solid. I expected to ground myself in the stability of the land but instead I grounded myself in the land by watching it shape us this year instead of us shaping it. I grounded in its movement and growth after we disrupted and destroyed with our building process. A year later, new growth is already thriving around a tree stump from a tree that fell in a storm last January.
My 2018 could also have been the word, WET. It was a wet one. The rain gave us so much water but it made it difficult for us to ground and everything became slick and muddy. We had to be aware of every step and where the land couldn’t support us, and if we didn’t, we lost our footing and it took us out and this lesson had to be learned the hard way.
I built myself from the ground up this year, focusing on the things that I could hold on to for stability that I could create instead of relying on the physical place where you build your home on clay and a truck of rocks is on everyone’s wish list.
What were my “rocks” this year that I used to build a stable structure?
One of the rocks has been our farm community. The families that live there have supported us and allowed us to create family here. I organized a weekly event for the kids for December on the farm, a countdown to the end of the year. It’s a Waldorf tradition to celebrate advent by celebrating the different kingdoms – mineral, plant, animal, humanity. We celebrated each one and on the last week, we had the Festival of Light, celebrating us.
I created a form of the advent spiral and built a spiral of ferns. The two 11 year olds lit the large candle and placed it in the middle and then all 22 community members that live on the farm, took a little tea light and walked in to the middle of the spiral and lit their light and walked out, placing their light on one of the stars on the spiral.
Walking inwards, I invited everyone to reflect with appreciation and gratitude on the past year and walking outwards, to make intentions for the coming year.
As everyone whispered their dreams, wishes, and thanks, we created a collective constellation of stars that represented our community – each person represented a point of light that brightened the place where we lived in one way or another. We also began the evening in a circle, turning to the person to the right of us to tell them why they mattered.
This end of year celebration reminded me that these simple moments of true human connection provide us with more stability and support us all firmly in this land more than a million truckloads of rocks. Even when the land shifts and even when we are swimming in mud, I can always put on the boots and head over to my neighbour for a cup of tea.
This year made me strip everything down to the bones. What do I hold steady within me when everything outside changes and shifts? After years of finding stability in outward routines, rituals, things, and places, can I finally be that rock? Living in the jungle in an unfinished home without electricity, an injured partner, living in a community that is slowly its own groove taught me uncomfortable lessons of how we can be steadfast in the midst of change by owning our response to it.
We can choose to be the point of light in the spiral of humanity or can stay on the outside wondering if the spiral is stable enough or if our light shouldn’t be so bright or if we should shine at all.
This brings me to 2019 and my intentions…