My word for 2023 danced right into my awareness on New Year’s Eve. Many of you are familiar with the tradition of picking a word that will be your touchstone and guiding light for the year. In years past, I have received this word at a White Stone Ceremony, a meditative service held during the first week of January at most Unity Churches. With soft music and moments of quiet contemplation, participants are invited to open their hearts and minds and simply allow a word to drop in. I had planned to attend the White Stone Ceremony on New Year’s Day at Unity of Sarasota, but this year my word arrived early.
A new friend hosts and DJs an Ecstatic Dance every Saturday evening at a dance studio just a few miles from my home. It’s similar to going to a disco, but there’s no bar or alcohol. Just music and a dance floor. Colored lights placed around the perimeter of the dance floor provide illumination for the dancers. My friend, DJ Kat, plays mostly instrumental songs with different flavors of musical genres to take a small group of us on a musical journey. She starts gently with soft, soothing melodies and then gradually builds to faster songs with a tribal beat. After a series of energetic tracks, she brings the energy back down slowly, closing with gentle meditative songs.
Dancers are encouraged to move however they feel comfortable, whether that’s sitting on the floor in a corner swaying back and forth, standing up waving their arms in the air, or leaping across the room. As long as everyone remains mindful of the other participants and respects their space, you are free to dance as the music moves you. It’s a very liberating experience to do as the well-known quote invites us to do, “Dance as if no one is watching”…even though you are among a small group of strangers.
My friend’s dances are usually 90 minutes long, but this was an extended New Year’s Eve session from 7-10 PM. For the record, it has been a long time since I have danced for 3 consecutive hours! In 2001, that was a typical Saturday night on South Beach, but that was over 20 years ago! I love to dance, and part of me misses those days, so I wanted to take advantage of this special opportunity. By pacing myself and taking 2-minute breaks a few times, I was able to hang in there for the whole thing. I’m so glad I did because it was during the last song of the evening that I received my word.
Most of the dancers had surrendered to rest on the floor by 9:45, myself included. I continued to stretch and sway to the beat as DJ Kat wound down the music for the night. However, there was one woman who remained upright and dancing. Somehow I hadn’t noticed her before. While most of the participants wore yoga pants and t-shirts for ease of movement, this woman wore a beautiful flowing sapphire blue dress. I’m probably dating myself here, but the style reminded me of the dresses worn by the muses in the 1980 film Xanadu. (If that reference means nothing to you, click here to watch a video of the film’s opening musical number where the muses come alive.)
Something about the way she moved was soothing and hypnotic. None of her gestures were extreme or demanded attention. She subtly shifted her body weight from one foot to the other as her arms glided ever so slightly from front to back at her sides. It appeared as if the music was moving her like water currents would cause a blade of seagrass to sway at the bottom of the ocean. I marveled at how effortless she made it look as she continued to dance until the very last notes faded into silence.
As I watched from a few feet away, it struck me that this woman was the picture of grace. Not only were her moves graceful, but the energy she exuded was full of peace. There was no sign of struggle or striving on her face. She seemed to be content to be exactly where she was doing exactly what she was doing in that moment. I wondered if I could move into and through the New Year with this same energy. With grace, I could. That’s when I knew my word for 2023.
Grace is a powerful word. It is a quality that allows a dancer to beautifully move across a stage while making it look easy. I also understand it to be a benevolent energy from the Divine that we need do nothing to earn. It is given abundantly because we are worthy, whether we believe we are or not. As I look back on my life, I can see the presence of grace numerous times. In dark times when I couldn’t see a way forward, grace entered to illuminate a path I could not have imagined. I bet if you take a moment to ponder some of the hard times in your life, you will see that grace was there for you too, even if you were not aware of it at the time.
Inspired by that sapphire muse, I am consciously choosing to allow more grace to move and work through me in 2023 and beyond. Whenever things get challenging and fear creeps in, I will picture her and do my best to be at peace no matter what appears to be happening. Fear blocks Divine Guidance. When I invite the quality of grace into my experience, miracles happen and love is revealed.
Since then, the word has shown up a few more times just to make sure I don’t miss it. Fellow A Course in Miracles student, Jacob Glass, writes in his article in the January 2023 edition of The Holy Encounter Magazine:
“Grace is my jam. Everything good in my life has come by Grace and not by my doing or scheming or fixing or planning.”
Yes! Grace is my jam too! We are only in the first week of 2023, and I have already seen the hand of grace open some unexpected doors for me. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to carve out some time to be still and ask for your word for 2023. You might be surprised by the word you receive. In my experience, whatever it is will be perfect. And if it speaks to you, I’m happy to share my word. There’s plenty of grace to go around!
If I can assist you in experiencing more peace and contentment in the New Year, please don’t hesitate to schedule a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. You can book a session and find more information about both on my website. If you have questions, click here to send me a message.
Until next time, may you remember that grace is freely given and is available to you in every moment.
By grace I live. By grace I am released.
By grace I give. By grace I will release.
A Course in Miracles ~ W-169.15:3-6