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Marti Beddoe is founder of Designs for Peace, a SoulCollage Facilitator,  creator of the Walking the Beauty Way Retreat, helping women learn to fully discover and express life’s beauty, meaning, and joy, in Chicago, Illinois and Naperville, Illinois.

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Marti Beddoe is founder of Designs for Peace, SoulCollage® Facilitator, Circle Way Practitioner, Meditation Teacher.  She leads retreats and workshops to teach practices for sustaining lives of Meaning, Joy, and Beauty.

2018 Watchword: ALLOW

Marti Beddoe

All is Change. All is Well.
— Sr. Virginia Mary Barta, OSF, Wheaton Franciscan Sisters, Founder of the Christine Center and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital

Dear Friends,

January 2017: The year starts as usual with the same old Drill Sargent-sounding voices in my head urging me to snap to it, get going immediately on those urgent goals, set up my calendar/planner so I might become the New and Improved Me--ever more efficient, effective and successful, (not to mention thinner) before it’s too late OR ELSE…

Sound familiar?  I have a hunch where some of the voices come from but, to my amazement, as January 2018 dawned they were silent!  Among many cumulative healing actions, the tipping point came with my 2017 Watchword, Enoughness, and practice.  After 69 years of this incarnation, I have finally realized the truth of my Enoughness.  Here is the card I made last January and its message that worked in my soul all year long:

ENOUGH:  2017 Watchword, Committee Suit

ENOUGH:  2017 Watchword, Committee Suit

I Am One Who is Enough
as she is,
Part of Life, no need to
Do more, be more, think more, say more.

 I Am One Who reminds you to pause and consider
The Enoughness of your efforts,
The Enoughness of your relationships,
The Enoughness of your personality,
The Enoughness of your creativity,
The Enoughness of your wisdom,
The Enoughness of your Soul,
The Enoughness of your Goodness.

 

 Allow any green growing things to remind
You to rejoice in the Goodness and Enoughness
Of your True Nature.

Heartfelt thanks goes to my beloved friend Marie Drennan.  Because she shared her Watchword practice with our SoulCollage® peer circle and has lived it so authentically, I've made it my own.  Now I share the practice with you, dear friends, in hopes that a similar joy, deep healing and wholeness might abound in your lives.

Marie, one of the three co-founders of this special 12 year old SoulCollage® community, says, “The Watchword represents something either I want to pay attention to in the New Year; work on; aspire to; or bring into my life; or become more aware of.  It can be like a guide word.  I just have always called it my Watchword, so that I 'watch' for, and create the expression of the word in my life.” 

January is Watchword time in our monthly circle.  Most of us will create a SoulCollage® card for our Watchword and may also do a reading, asking our deck for guidance about the New Year’s Watchword.  Then throughout the year, circle members will share the dialogue they are having with their Watchword.  There is a powerful alchemy of Watchword and its image in this practice.  I keep the Watchword card on my desk and listen to its wisdom all year long.  Somehow over time this more intuitive, gentle approach has created concrete results more effective, more harmonious and joy-filled than my previous driven attitude towards New Year's resolutions and goal setting. 

Intuition and meditation play a big part in how a Watchword emerges.  In December, news that two cherished longtime friends will be moving away triggers a storm of grief from that ancient part of my psyche where the abandoned child dwells.  I calm down and witness her forlornliness with compassion.   And realize (yet again!) that the more tightly I cling to my attachments and insist that Life not change unless on my terms, the greater my suffering. 

Ah, I hear my teachers say, "Yes, adjust, adapt, and acclimatize.  To be fully present and lovingly detached in the face of inevitable change is indeed to waltz on the razor's edge."

Suddenly from the depths of my sorrow, and in the presence of the Compassionate Witness, the new year's Watchword bubbles up…ALLOW.  It’s a huge theme to “watch” for throughout 2018.  Sr. Virginia Mary taught me about allowing when, after a lifetime of fierce independence and courageous leadership, she chose day after day to live gracefully and humanly when she became completely blind and dependent on others.  

I wonder what it would be like to get to the point where I greet change with a spirit of "All is Well."  I wonder what it would be like if my attachments to my legion of preferences were to loosen up...I wonder what it would be like to be able to observe the confinement of those preferences...

 I am eager to witness the changes that engaging with my Watchword might bring in 2018.  Meditating on "Allowing" seems a perfect partner in that waltz on the razor's edge of the Great Way.

Here is Danna Faulds' wonderful poem that serendipitously appeared the same week the Watchword showed up and one of my favorite photos taken by Harry.  Oy vey, there she goes with the preferences! 

 

Allow

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado.  Dam a
stream, and it will create a new
channel.  Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground.  The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild with the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth. 
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

by Danna Faulds from her book,
Go In and InUsed with permission of the poet.  

Horsetail Falls - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, by Harry H. Hitzeman Jr.

Horsetail Falls - Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, by Harry H. Hitzeman Jr.

I invite your comments and questions on the Watchword practice, dear friends.