Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl


I’ve been joking that I’ve waited ten years for another word of the year. My last word of the year was in 2013, and the word was “wait.” At the end of 2013, I wanted to go into the new year with a completely open mind – no resolutions, no goals, no aspirations, no word. I guess that in itself was an aspiration of sorts. In any case, one year led to another, and a new word just never came. I quit thinking about it.

Then this year, as I sat before the fire on New Year’s Eve, writing my thank you letter to the year ending and my welcome letter to the year beginning, I felt so tired. Not sleepy tired or even physically tired, but energetically tired. Depleted. Why was that? There was nothing specific that came to mind. I had had a pretty good year with lots to be grateful for. But I felt sluggish, like there was tar-like energy sticking to me, pulling at me.

I realized that this sticky energy was not coming from anything outside me. It was coming from inside me, from my thoughts. I observed that I spent a lot of time ruminating about situations, reacting to things with judgment, aversion, resentment, frustration, anxiety. All this was happening in my thoughts, happening without much awareness or conscious direction on my part.

As I started paying closer attention, I could feel the energetic drain of these undisciplined thoughts. It was like trying to walk through swamp muck with untrained dogs pulling on their leashes every which way. It was exhausting.

I was waiting for the ground to magically firm up and for the dogs to spontaneously behave. That, I realized, was going to be a long wait. No, if things were going to change, I was going to have to change them.

Again. Right? That is always true. Once again I found myself right back in familiar awareness, understanding that nothing was being done “to me,” but rather I had gotten a bit sloppy in attending to practice, in taking responsibility for my thoughts and engagement with the world around me and within me.

What better time than a new year to recommit to trusting my practice of quietness, allowing, awareness, “bodyfulness”?

And that felt great. It felt … ah, here is the word … liberating. Without intending to, I received a word of the year. Liberate. I liberate myself from all that does not serve my highest good. 

Wow. My energy is boundless. I am ready. Liberate – this was a word worth waiting for.

Awakening is about liberating yourself from the prison that is the world of the mind and daring to be here as all that you are. ~Leonard Jacobson

9 thoughts on “Wait…Wait…Liberate!”

      1. This sounds like a summary of a few of the key points in “The Untethered Soul.” Not letting the negative emotions and energy pass through us instead is something to avoid.

        1. I just started rereading that book, Bob. I’m eager to hear that you think of it. I think some of these teachings appear in so many sources, sometimes using different vocabulary, but teaching the same concept.

  1. Happy New Year, Galen! I’ve not been visiting here due to so many other things going on, especially concerning mother care with sister issues too, but I’m so pleased I opened your post. Liberate can be applied to any moment, any situation, in regard to lifting oneself out of the heaviness of that moment or situation. It doesn’t mean you don’t get the negative emotions, but through mindfulness, you can float throught them with liberation for your otherwise very much tethered soul. I’ve noted down the book you and Bob have mentioned and will give it a read in the coming months. So hello again, and thank you for the post!

    1. Happy New Year to you too, Lynne! So nice to hear from you. I check your site now and then but haven’t seen any activity for a while. I’ll check again now.

      I really appreciate your take on “liberate.” I think you will like the book. Let me know when you read it. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      1. Thanks, Galen. I just don’t have the headspace to blog, but when the time is right, I will resume. Cheers for now :>)

  2. That’s a great word choice, Galen. I’m able to relate to what you say in the context of the word I’ve chosen – heal. So much of healing comes from letting go and liberating oneself from the past and allowing yourself to see with fresh eyes!
    Wishing you a wonderful journey of liberation!

    1. Thank you so much, Corinne, and I do apologize for not responding to this earlier. I’m not sure how it slipped past my attention. Oh, actually, I do see — apparently I started a response but didn’t finish it or post it. In my mind I must have done so. But I’m so glad to be back in contact with you so please forgive me and know that your comments are important.

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