Every year on both my birthday and New Year's Day, I commit to a theme. For me, it feels more appropriate than a resolution. A theme allows me to be successful at various levels of attention and engagement. After all, it simply must thread throughout the year. It doesn't have to OWN the year.

My theme acts as a reference. Like last year, my theme was Sleep. So, when I am up against a decision about whether to stay up late and keep working, knowing I can't sleep in because I am on kids duty early morning, I know what to decide. After all, my theme is sleep. Other themes I have had are The Year of the Body, The Year of the Spirit, The Year of Letting Go, and The Year of Letting Happen.

Many years I have been successful at honoring my theme. The Year of the Body I studied and received my massage therapy certificate, one of the best investments of time and money I have ever made. That year shifted my attention from almost entirely cognitive to much more body-centered. The Year of Letting Go was about releasing old crap – relationships that lingered in my mind/heart, clutter in my house, and ideas that simply weren't serving me anymore. That was a very useful year, too.

The year of sleep didn't work out so well. Mostly, I just kept noticing how I wasn't getting enough sleep. I could not figure out how to carve more hours out of my days/nights and choose to use them sleeping. It's strange because the few times I got a good 9 hours of sleep (which is an astonishing number of sleep hours for me) I felt like my whole body,  insides and out had been given a hot stone massage. It was indescribably excellent.

So, here I am back to the part where I pick my theme for 2010. I thought I had it months ago. My theme was going to be Radical Acceptance (a la the brilliant book by Tara Brach). But then a few days ago I realized it wasn't the right theme. This has never happened before. Mostly I know exactly what the theme is as soon as the question arises. I had even created a typepad blog called Radical Acceptance 2010 so that I could journal my Radical Acceptance journey (because I am such a prolific writer of blog posts – hardy har).

I can't even put my finger on why Radical Acceptance isn't my 2010 theme. I know with certainty that it is a huge part of my focus for 2010 because I have been using the techniques and approaches from Brach's book often lately and they work so beautifully. And yet… it's not my theme. It feels like more of an avenue… an approach… a strategy for some other theme…

The New Year is upon us. It is time for me to decide and commit. That's my story about New Year's – I create a theme, and I like that story. It is (mostly) useful for me.

This year, things seem to arrive in the form of questions as oppposed to declarations, so I am contemplating a theme question for 2010. Today I will hold the question, “What will the theme/theme question for 2010 be?”

I'll keep you posted.

What about you? Do you have any New Year rituals? What will 2010 be about for you?

Thank you to erix! for the unexpected zucchini question mark image.