To place or arrange things in a straight line. To line up. Straighten. Position.
To put things into correct or appropriate relative positions.
To come into agreement or alliance.
To give support to.
I didn’t want this to be my OLW. I auditioned all sorts of other words. Shine. Light. Seek. Wholehearted.
But align was persistent, the word that kept needling me.
Part of the reason I think ALIGN wouldn’t go away was a research project I conducted on my life in 2016. Following the pattern of blogger James Clear (and again, more recently, Chris Guillebeau), I identified core values, set goals, and then I kept a record of my daily activities related to those values and goals. Areas: Spiritual, Health, Inner Harmony, Friends, and Fun. I also recorded when we had overnight company, not to boast about it, but to get a true idea of how often our casa is someone else’s casa, too. I kept less accurate records of when we had people over for meals, again, not to brag on us, but to accurately gauge this time and expense. Hospitality is important in our family, but we needed a clearer picture of what that looked like.
What I realized is that the first activities to get set aside are those related to my spiritual and physical health, and that I’m not very good at having fun. I do very little to contribute to what I call “inner harmony” which for me, means I spend more time in a place of mental peace than wanting to disintegrate people with my laser-beam eyes, or having imaginary conversations in my head.
I read more for fun in 2016, which was something I really wanted to get back into. I finished several quilt projects, which was fun and brought me inner harmony in that *finishing* is very important to me. I took a couple of trips to have fun and build relationships that are important to me.
But I also realized, as ALIGN chased me throughout the holidays and new year, it’s not good enough to record my activities and say, “I need to have more fun” or “I need to make the time to do my back stretches every day even if we have company.” I need to proactively align my schedule, activities, choices, thoughts, and speech with my values. I will have to be more mindful. I will have to say no in order to say yes. Part of that is also tied to being fully present with people — focusing on them when I’m with them (and not interrupting!), so I can feel better about saying, “I need to go take care of my back.”
What good is a year of MIRROR and reflection if I don’t apply what I’ve learned to ALIGN my life? Harmony, not discord. Balance. Function. Putting things in their appropriate positions. Giving support to my goals and values.
Just as quilt blocks need to be measured and trimmed so everything aligns for an accurate and pleasing final product, I need to be more measured in how I schedule my time and resources. I want to use wisdom and discernment to be the person God wants me to be (and I’m pretty sure He’s not a fan of my laser-beam-eye disintegration program).