Learning and letting go

Today’s musings are inspired by flamingos and a podcast (Zen Bones) where Marc Lesser (one of my favourite authors) and Leo Babauta (Zen Habits) discuss ‘resistance’ to meaningful work. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dealing-with-uncertainty-with-leo-babauta/id1650492012?i=1000584931486

And today’s post is dedicated to Anthia, Heather, Lindsay, and Sylvie – 4 special people who keep me accountable to this creative practice.

I apologise for being absent, in recent weeks I’ve had a full schedule with my Chiropractic practice and I enjoyed a welcome 3 weeks visiting family in NZ.

As I wrote in https://vitalitywithesyltt.com/2021/12/22/making-the-most-of-the-years-memories/ for me the period between Christmas and New Year is a time of reflection and deep rest. When I say ‘deep rest’ I don’t mean laying down all day. I’m into active rest – long beach walks, exhilarating dips in the ocean, reading books, writing, and eating delicious food. Rest is removing myself from everyday routine to count my blessings and process both the perceived sufferings and the achievements of the year.

Recently I appreciated reading a post by Nicola Hobbs on the word relax. A little word that is bandied frequently yet what does it mean? My tendency is to see relaxing as a form of rest – not sleep, and a source of recovery and regaining mental and physical energy for the next task. Yet I cringe to admit that I also view it as “unproductive time” – a harsh judgement when I view myself and my life with more kindness. Really, what is ‘unproductive’ about something that recharges our batteries so that we can continue to do meaningful work, to contribute to our relationships and communities?

According to Nicola the word relax comes from the Old French relaschier  meaning ‘to loosen, to liberate, to set free’. If you would like to read more about her insights into the aspects of our lives that may benefit from liberating look here https://www.instagram.com/p/Cl6gPjqNVcy/

As I shared here, each year I choose a word or theme for the year, for 2022 my word was ‘buoyant’. https://vitalitywithesyltt.com/2022/01/26/when-storms-blow-your-way/ I made a poster of the word, and it sits on the wall next to my desk, a frequent reminder that I have a buoyancy vest and I will get through the storms or challenges, both small and great that inevitably arise in a life well lived.

My word for 2023 will be announced in a future post.I’ve been brainstorming possibility then letting these words sit in my heart and mind. Meanwhile I’ve added a playful element to 2023. I’ve decided that not only will I have a word for the year – I’m going to have a symbol for the year, and it will be a flamingo!!

Why a flamingo? It’s pink, it’s elegant and gawky at the same time,

It can run on water

It can fly

It doesn’t camouflage itself.

Recently I listened to Jill Bolte-Taylor’s book “Whole Brain Living”. https://www.drjilltaylor.com/this-is-a-press-headline-and-it-can-be-pretty-long-and-even-go-on-two-lines-if-it-has-to-3/   She writes about the 4 parts of our brain and encourages us to see them as 4 characters, to understand that we can choose to utilise our whole brain by identifying which part or character we are thinking or acting from in any given moment, then choose to shift our thoughts and actions to a different character if it will serve us better. Jill writes that “our character 4 is the right hemisphere thinking part of our brain which exists as our most peaceful, open, and loving self”.

As I pondered a name for my character 4 a peaceful floating flamingo appeared. I’ve been amazed that since naming my right thinking brain ‘floating flamingo’, flamingos have appeared on a gorgeous linen shirt that had to be bought, and in gardens galore.

Just as I know that my word of the year has, and will continue to be a source of intention, creating and opportunity, a lens through which to view the experiences that lie ahead, I’m going to playfully look for flamingos to pop up in front of me.

Thank you for your generous interaction and support this year. I look forward to hearing your words for 2023 – please put them in comments plus you might like to share how your word for 2022 showed up.

Meanwhile, breathe deep, light a candle, sip a cup of your favourite tea and ponder all that you have appreciated and learned in the past year.

Wishing you an abundance of vitality,



  1. Delwyn on 31 December 2022 at 8:20 pm

    Enjoyed very much, lots to think about.

  2. Sharon on 15 January 2023 at 10:42 am

    You so epitomise this beautiful bird from its striking characteristics they have. Life balance: their effortless grace and ability to stand on one leg represent balance and harmony.
    Which is you my friend to a “Tee” 🥰🦩

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