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Zen Peacekeeper.







Why I’m not choosing a word for 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010 by Marianne Elliott

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Lots of my friends and favorite bloggers have been doing as the fabulous Ali Edwards does and choosing one single word to lead them into 2010. I love everything about this idea. I certainly like it better than New Years resolutions. But I won't be choosing a word. Here's why.

2009 was the year I fulfilled two big, crazy dreams. I became a yoga teacher and I wrote my book. A few weeks ago I finally sent query letters and sample chapters out to potential agents and publishers. A few months back I realised I was never going to finish the book while I was working at Oxfam. I was just a little bit too passionate about that job to make the time I needed to get any writing done. Well, I was a bit too passionate and Oxfam was a bit too INSANELY busy. Either way, I quit my job in the middle of a recession and devoted myself to teaching yoga and writing. 

I didn't have a word for 2009. I just had my wild dreams. Yoga and a book. I've always been good at wild dreams. I'm good at coming up with them and I'm pretty good at the follow-through that it takes to make them happen. I can be very determined once I set my mind on something. There are some Afghan warlords and other people who've been the subject of my one-woman human rights campaigns who can vouch for that. 

2009 was a year of being afraid (that I wouldn't be good enough, that I
couldn't do it) and doing it anyway
. It was a year of uncovering the
solid base that can and will hold me even if I do 'fail', if the leaps
of faith I'm taking lead me somewhere other that where I thought I
wanted to be. In retrospect I decided that the word for my 2009 was courage.

I have plenty of big dreams for 2010. I dream that my book will be published and that Oprah will tell everyone to read it, you know, as an antidote to all the books that tell us Afghanistan is a f$#ked up mess that has no redeeming features. I dream about being paid to go back to Afghanistan and Gaza and East Timor to take photos of the people I met there, the bravest people I've ever met anywhere, and to help them tell their stories to the world. I dream about helping people like you uncover your superpower and then unfurling it upon an unsuspecting world to do more good than you've ever dreamed of. I dream about finding more ways to help people like you help people like Faezeh make their dreams come true.

I have plenty of big dreams. That has never been a problem for me. I have no idea where it came from, this ability to dream with such unbounded audacity, but I'm grateful for it.

I also have my own approach to my dreams. I'm not much for annual plans, strategic plans, New Year's resolutions. They all leave me a bit cold. I like to plant my wild dreams like seeds. Then I tend the soil. I weed out anything nasty, anything that could strangle a budding dream or steal it's sunshine. I do everything I can to give those dreams the best damn garden they could ask for and then I trust them to grow and blossom when the climate is just right.

This New Year I've got some big dreams planted. So I'll be starting my year by tending my garden. One way that I do that is to start my year with a 30 day yoga practice. I'll be starting on 15 January, which is the first new moon of 2010. I've planned a special practice, which will bring more of what is lacking into my life and which will balance out that which is abundant.

There is still lots of time to join me. I'd love to have your company for the journey. I can't offer you the customised 'Exactly what you need' option any more, those places have all been snapped up, but I can give you 'Just what you need'. Alternatively, you may already know what you need, in which case just join us for the journey. If you have some big dreams planted, then come tend the garden with me. We'll create space for them to grow and make sure they are taking root in fertile and nurturing soil.

PS: If you think you'd like some help finding those wild dream seeds to plant, then I can highly recommend Mondo Beyondo, Andrea and Jen's e-course in dreaming big. The next course starts on 11 January and registrations are still open. Go, plant some seeds and then join me to tend the soil.


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14 Responses to "Why I’m not choosing a word for 2010"

  1. I am, as always, inspired and encouraged by you. And I continue to cheer you on.

  2. i’ve been rolling a lot of words around in my head like marbles unable to come up with only one for 2010. there are so many words to choose from that i really don’t feel at all comfortable choosing just one. it doesn’t really resonate with me to do it that way.
    i suspect i have different reasons than you for not having A word for 2010, though i will gladly keep you company throughout the year, whatever new adventures & wild imaginings turn up!

  3. amy says:

    i’m always so inspired by your willingness to carve out your own lovely path.

  4. asiyah says:

    I love you and your spirit.
    Keep it up my friend, you inspire us all.

  5. Christianne says:

    I can’t wait to read your book on Afghanistan. I am young in my journey toward peacekeeping and nonviolence, and right now I have all kinds of dewey-eyed ideals and dreams. I’ve been learning and following this path in my own unique way for the past year, and I’m now ready to start putting some of the ideas into practice in more intentional ways. I’m still looking for more people to show me what they’ve done and what they’ve learned. Your book, I know, will be one of those mentors for me. So I hope someone publishes it soon! 🙂

  6. Anne-Marie says:

    How exciting that you have finished your book! I’m looking forward to reading it. Blessings on you as you go through the publishing processing.

  7. Struggling in this New Year to find that one* all encompassing word…but I have plenty of wild dreams I could plant 😉
    Love and blessings to you in 2010! You are such an inspiration.xo

  8. Alexis Grant says:

    Love your blog! I’ve already gone through and read a few of the back-entries. Glad you tweeted me, or I wouldn’t have found you — I love connecting with others who are writing travel memoirs. Would love to hear more about your process.
    Subscribing to RSS!

  9. Leslie says:

    such an inspiration you are…thank you.

  10. susanna says:

    First, a big hurray for sending out the query letters and sample chapters, Marianne! I’ll definitely be picking up a copy of your book to read. Ever since I “met” you through your Afghanistan blog, I thought that you were leading a fascinating life and had an interesting story to tell. And it makes perfect sense that you’ll make it onto Oprah. That wouldn’t surprise me at all.
    I can’t decide on one word for 2010 either although I find it interesting to see what words others have chosen for the new year. You certainly do have the ability to dream big and follow through, Marianne.
    Congratulations, too, on starting your new yoga course. Actually, congratulations on reaching your goal of becoming a yoga teacher! You are an inspiring woman, Marianne.

  11. Emily Harris says:

    Found you via Alexis Grant … wishing you much luck with the book! Sounds excellent.

  12. gypsy alex says:

    I love the expression you are using “wild dreams”! I love everything you said, actually! I have no doubts you have what it takes to do every single thing you dream of. I’m so glad to be part of your journey and what a great idea to do a 30 day practice. I may have to join you, even if I’m a couple of days late… I like the thought of lining up with the New Moon too. xo

  13. dalia says:

    when i was first reading i thought this isnt a wild dream but when i came to the end i was speechless. i dream pretty the same, to write books and eliminate hunger in my country. i really encourage you, look up to you and i want you to bear in mind that people like you are not common, to be able to truly desire those dreams and wanting them in existence makes you shine. keep on the motive to get them. i promise you you will get you’re desired outcome and you will reach the top of the world

  14. dalia says:

    sry one more thing what is the name of the book you published? i’d love to read a book for such an outstanding author like you

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